Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited Rider New Menu Reviews

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by tommylicious, Jun 22, 2018.

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  1. Jun 22, 2018 #1

    tommylicious

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    Proposing this thread be for actual riders on the LSL, CL who have experienced the new food service. Actual reviews from actual riders with personal experience on these routes, not just kvetching. Some kvetching allowed, but only around specific reviews.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2018
  2. Jun 22, 2018 #2

    amtrakpass

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    I took the Lake Shore Limited Chicago to Buffalo-Depew on wed in coach. I thought the improved cafe menu was a significant upgrade. However with the car half Business class and half tables and still one table for the crew, that left only about 4 tables for I think 4 full coaches of passengers and business class folks.

    As far as sleeper passengers, when leaving Chicago they made a train wide announcement that the sleeping car lounge was only for those first class sleeper passengers and would be open for an hour that night. Only drinks would be available until morning. In the morning I believe both cafe and lounge opened at 6:30am.
     
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  3. Jun 22, 2018 #3

    jis

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    The LSL definitely needs a full Cafe car in addition to the BC/Cafe Car. They could leave the BC/Cafe unattended to do this without adding to labor cost.
     
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  4. Jun 23, 2018 #4

    neroden

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    BC sells out frequently enough on the LSL that they could have a full Cafe and a full BC car. If they still own any full BC cars.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2018 #5

    cpotisch

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    They definitely don't have any 2x1 full business class cars. Unless they retrofitted an AM-II with 2x1 seating, a full BC car on the LSL would offer less spacious seating than what is offered now. And bear in mind that that would mean a sort of Crescent-esque business class option that has the exact same hard product as coach.
     
  6. Jun 23, 2018 #6

    neroden

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    Hmmph. They used to. Thoughtless of them.
     
  7. Jun 23, 2018 #7

    zepherdude

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    I am unclear, where do coach passengers sit/eat? Is this boxed meal offered (at a price) to coach passengers?
     
  8. Jun 23, 2018 #8

    PVD

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    I recently rode the LSL to BUF-CHI and the on CL in the other direction a week later CHI-WAS. Coach passengers eat in the lounge or at their seats, and as of yet, there is no provision for meal sales to coach passengers other than the existing cafe/lounge selection.
     
  9. Jun 23, 2018 #9

    cpotisch

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    There was some mention originally of them selling extra boxed meals to coach passengers, but that idea seems to have been completely forgotten. At the moment, coach pax buy their food out of pocket from the (improved) cafe menu.
     
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  10. Jun 23, 2018 #10

    KVG_DC

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    I took the CL from Waterloo to DC this week. Breakfast was "go to the dining car and talk to the guy at the counter." It was the usual dining car but not set up with cloths or service, etc. At the window station in the center you'd explain you were in a sleeper and there was a ticket to put your car and room number on and sign. Then he'd give you a big ole box and your choice of beverage.

    The box was more than I could eat that morning. A big plate of fresh fruit. Yogurt with more fruit and granola, a KIND bar, a Kashi bar, a muffin, a slice of some sort of sweetbread (didn't have enough flavor to identify but it was sort of like banana bread.) Maybe some other stuff, I forget. I ate the cold stuff and then stashed some of the other for later on because we were running late and I assumed the usual "no lunch service" on the CL despite the lateness.
     
  11. Jun 23, 2018 #11

    PVD

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    That is the breakfast box, and it is a banana bread. I've commented previously in travelogue and other threads on this subject.
     
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  12. Jun 24, 2018 #12

    Thirdrail7

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    If we can have a quick sidebar, I'm interested in knowing if your assumptions were correct. Is there an express lunch on the Capitol?
     
  13. Jun 24, 2018 #13

    PVD

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    Not at this time. The manager aboard the CL who was doing the surveys said they used to be able to do it with "available items" but unless they knew the train was running terribly late, they would have no opportunity to order ahead and pick up food. She said it was something they were "figuring out"
     
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  14. Jun 24, 2018 #14

    crescent-zephyr

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    Even when the train is on time it runs into the lunch serving times. I don't see why this is so hard to figure out but then again the actual diner crews on the CL were not reliable either.
     
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  15. Jun 24, 2018 #15

    pennyk

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    When I was on the Silver Meteor a few days ago, I had lunch with a passenger who had been on the Capitol Limited the day before (which I think would have left Chicago on Monday). He stated that the train was running late and in Cumberland, MD, a "Chicken-fil-a" truck brought food to the train. The passenger said a sandwich and cookie was provided to the entire train. I am taking everything that this passenger said with "a grain of salt" since he told me several times that he was provided a boxed salad meal when boarding the train in Chicago for lunch and the same meal for dinner that lunch (which did not make sense to me). He did not like the salad meal, but really liked the "chicken-fil-a."
     
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  16. Jun 24, 2018 #16

    PVD

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    Well, you are certainly right in your skepticism since the CL leaves Chicago well after lunch, and you get dinner and breakfast, with a possible lunch being the subject on the table. The lunch/dinner boxes are the same choices. My CL trip left CHI on 6-10, perhaps they have progressed on the subject of emergency provisioning since then.
     
  17. Jun 24, 2018 #17

    Thirdrail7

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    Allow me to help you understand why this is so hard to figure. You are proceeding under the assumption that there is an interest in providing an experience. At this point, the main interest is containing costs.

    Every single item you stock represents a cost...whether you use it or not. Someone ordered it, loaded it, unloaded it, moved it, stored it, accounted for it etc.

    Therefore, it is probably attempting to figure out 'what they can get away with" that is hard. If they give you a hearty enough breakfast, you may not need lunch. If the train runs late, you may not even need/want more food. You may just utilize the cafe car. Should we pack additional food or give vouchers for the cafe? They are probably assessing these things based upon feedback. If the train is routinely 2 hours late and no one complains about lunch, why stock up?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2018
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  18. Jun 25, 2018 #18

    Skyline

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    If this is the future of Amtrak, I'd rather see them reduce the cost of sleepers and let sleeper pax purchase meals in a cafe car with an improved menu. They should utilize the existing and new diners as second cafe cars for sleeper pax, offering pretty much the same menu coach pax get with possibly a few upgrades offered for purchase.

    If they want to incorporate some of the new cold items into the sleeper cafe car menus, why not, but they should add some easily heated and served hot food too. For example, oatmeal and/or quiche at breakfast, chili and/or mac/cheese at lunch, and hot beef or turkey with gravy open-faced plated sandwiches with a veggie side at dinner.
     
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  19. Jun 25, 2018 #19

    orm518

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    I would tend to believe this passenger for a few reasons: 1) lunch and dinner options are the same boxes, perhaps out of the train's lateness they were generous and gave him two? 2) As someone who's taken the CL (since the menu change) through Cumberland, I can attest to there being a Chick-fil-A in town. My CL trip was terminated at Cumberland due to flooding and downed trees. Amtrak bought KFC for people to eat on our lovely bus ride to DC. I noticed mostly this KFC offer was taken up by coach passengers, as the sleeper passengers were welcomed to the dining car for extra boxed meals for lunch while we sat at Cumberland for 4 hours to await the buses. I assume Amtrak defaulted to KFC over Chick-fil-A because as my trip was on a Sunday, the Chick-fil-A was closed, as all Chick-fil-As are on Sundays.

    As for my review of the new service: Meh. The amenity kit is kinda tacky (plus, I had my own toiletries packed). The food is serviceable, but cold meals can be pretty boring. The beef salad was passable. The antipasto plate fine. The chicken kale caesar was pretty good. All came with a pretty large pre-packaged cheesecake thing, which pack a whopping 400 calories each. I had one and tossed the other two. The favorite thing I consumed on my CL journey was the small (200mL) bottle of bourbon I brought to keep things interesting.
     
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  20. Jun 25, 2018 #20

    KmH

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    20 posts in and little in the way of comment by "actual riders on the LSL, CL who have experienced the new food service."

    Looks like just posts #2 (new cafe menu) and #10 (boxed breakfast).
     
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  21. Jun 25, 2018 #21

    orm518

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    My post (#19) contained a review of my 6/2 CL trip from CHI-WAS (bustituted from Cumberland, MD, to DC, arriving 6.5 hours late on 6/3). Read past the Chick-fil-A stuff.

    It's cold food in box. Nothing to write home about. Because my CL was late I had three boxed meals. Because of dietary concerns I skipped a breakfast box and opted for the antipasto box for a breakfast. It was perfectly average, not like the charcuterie and cheese plate you may get at a nice restaurant, but it was tasty smoked meats, some deli type turkey (the weak point) and then cheeses with some cornichons and olive oil to drizzle. The beef salad and chicken salad both perfectly fine. Dessert was tasty, but heavy, so I only ate one.

    Most persons on my trip it seemed opted to eat in room instead of in the diner. No table cloths on the diner table, so it was just like cafe car. The diner was limited to sleeper passengers only, so if you wanted to eat in there it was empty enough that you didn't have to share a table. (I get the feeling that now that amtrak won't assign 4 to a table most people will walk to the diner and make the decision on whether to stay or return to room to eat on whether there is a free empty table to avoid sitting with random persons.)
     
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  22. Jun 25, 2018 #22

    lstone19

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    A recent last minute flight problem resulted me in making a last-minute LSL booking: Business Class SYR-BUF and Roomette BUF-CHI (got the dreaded "no longer available" when I tried to book a roomette SYR-CHI so started testing to find where a roomette became available into CHI - fortunately BUF (just after midnight)).

    Business class: uh, I think they forgot to turn the car. Business class seats were between the coaches and the cafe section with the tables between the cafe and the "diner". Had my included alcoholic beverage but that was it for the cafe.

    Sleeper: Got up and headed to the VL diner. It was just sit down and the attendant brought the breakfast box. A lot of food but the wrong type of food (at least as far as what my doctor wants me eating). As has been posted, two breakfast breads (a banana bread slice and and a blueberry muffin), fruit plate, yogurt, and two bars. Since this was s separate ticket from the SYR-BUF, another alcoholic beverage entitlement which I did not waste even though it was breakfast time.

    Sad to see the VL Diners being wasted like that. There's so much they could do with that galley and right now, it's just being used for storing the cold meal boxes.
     
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  23. Jun 25, 2018 #23

    PVD

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    Offering the option of something other than the single choice breakfast is a plus. Having boxes still available for the extra meal also. That's a tad better than on my CL trip.....But the bridge was back in service, we didn't get the bus.
     
  24. Jun 25, 2018 #24

    ceo418

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    Has anyone observed how the free non-alcoholic beverages are being handled in the sleeper passenger lounge? Are they just put out on a counter for anyone to take, or is there a full-time attendant there to get them if you ask?
     
  25. Jun 25, 2018 #25

    PVD

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    On my trip it was via the LSA. Also, coffee and juice were still available in the sleeper.
     
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