Tamales on Surfliner Cafe menu

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by TylerP42, Aug 9, 2019.

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  1. Aug 9, 2019 #1

    TylerP42

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    Today I noticed (and purchased) tamales on the Surfliner Menu. They are 4 dollars per tamale, and are microwaved.

    They aren't bad. Authentically made, but the flavor is a bit lost with the microwaving.

    Are they exclusive to Surfliner? Or the West Coast? The cafe car attendant told me they are new as of a few weeks ago. 20190809_064757.jpeg
     
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  2. Aug 9, 2019 #2

    seat38a

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    Most likely exclusive. Surfliner's menu has always gone in their own direction and even more so ever since LOSSAN took over.
     
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  3. Aug 9, 2019 #3

    FastTrains

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    Surfliner is a state supported service. It has its own menu as does the Downeaster (Boston to Maine).
     
  4. Aug 9, 2019 #4

    crescent-zephyr

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    Of further interest... the Downeaster Train food service is completely out of Amtrak's hands. They are not Amtrak vendors, nor Amtrak employees serving the Downeaster Cafe car.

    Other state supported trains, such as the Cascades and the Surfliners, are operated by Amtrak, but feature regional / special menu items.

    At one time the Cascades had a second staff member in the cafe car and they served cooked oatmeal in the morning, soups for lunch and dinner and other items that were served a little more diner style (oatmeal for example was served dining car style with little tubs of brown sugar, raisins etc.). I'm guessing the state paid for that? Is that car still staffed that way?

    Cascades Menu - https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/...ts/menus/routes/Amtrak-Cascades-Cafe-Menu.pdf

    Surfliner Menu
    https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/...routes/Pacific-Surfliner-Cafe-Menu-0616-r.pdf

    San Joaquins Menu (Ice Cream!!!!)
    https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/...s/menus/routes/San-Joaquin-Cafe-Menu-0717.pdf

    Downeaster Menu
    https://amtrakdowneaster.com/sites/default/files/users/user10/2019_Updated_NexdineMenu.pdf
     
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  5. Aug 9, 2019 #5

    Trogdor

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    And at one time one time, the Cascades and San Joaquin even had sit-down dining car service (Cascades at least on the Vancouver turn, don’t know about the Portland side of the route). Both of those went away in the early-to-mid 2000s.
     
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  6. Aug 9, 2019 #6

    seat38a

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    Here is the latest one for Pacific Surfliner. First thing you will notice is how much nicer and more appealing the menu looks vs the generic Amtrak National one.:
    https://pacificsurfliner.files.word...-17-cafe-brochure-menu_digital_desktop_m4.pdf

    I've ordered the ice cream on the San Joaquin. Its a nice treat to have on the train.
    [​IMG]GOPR0008 by B H, on Flickr
     
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  7. Aug 9, 2019 #7

    seat38a

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    Also notice that same or similar items, the prices are lower on the State trains vs the national menu.

    $4.00 for a tamale isn't bad at all. You will end up paying $3-4 dollars per tamale at Mexican Bakery or Tamale place.

    Based on the packaging, it looks like the Surfliner maybe getting the tamales from one of the local small business joints in SoCal.

    Microwaving tamales is a common practice even at Mexican Bakeries that make them on site.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  8. Aug 9, 2019 #8

    TylerP42

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    4 do
    I usually pay 1.50-2 for a tamale.

    But I'm also Mexican and know where to go.
     
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  9. Aug 9, 2019 #9

    Bob Dylan

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    Ditto! The few places that still have Tamales in Austin charge $2-$3 for an order,( weirdly, Rosa's Tamale House no Longer has Tamales:rolleyes:)but San Antonio is really the Tamale Capital of Texas!
     
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  10. Aug 10, 2019 #10

    NW cannonball

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    I'd gladly pay $4 on the train for a good tamale.
    La Loma in Minneapolis (good in my limited experience) price is $2.65 each fresh and hot or $10 / 6 frozen. Far from the southern border here, way closer to Canada,
    But a good tamale is a good tamale, eh?
    The cheapest good one I've got was, I think, about $3 for 2 from an iteinerant vendor at a laudromat in Albuquerque back in 2014.
     
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  11. Aug 13, 2019 #11

    OlympianHiawatha

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    I would love to see The Downeaster Menu as the National Cafe Menu. I'd eat Wicked Wicked Whoopie Pies til I bust (I don't know what they are but as long as they aren't raw fish I'll eat them just based on the name)!
     
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  12. Aug 13, 2019 #12

    desertflyer

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    The best tamales I ever had were from the mythical Tamale Lady here is San Francisco. She would always show up at the my favorite neighborhood bars and divy up her homemade tamales to the hammered bar patrons. Maybe that's why I thought they were so good. Sadly, she died suddenly, too soon, and has left a hole in our community. There are a few songs written about her, a short film, and June 23 is now Tamale Lady Day in San Francisco.

    Sorry for swaying off topic, but I think about this every time tamales come up.
     
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  13. Aug 13, 2019 #13

    Chey

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    Gov. Ann Richards proclaimed Pedro's Tamales of Lubbock the official "Tamales of Texas" in 1963.

    I think the minimum purchase is half a dozen, most varieties are $5 for the half dozen. Buying more doesn't give you any discount but that price is still pretty good and they're good tamales. Their pricing has also kept the price of their competition down, at least within driving distance...
     
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  14. Aug 13, 2019 #14

    Bob Dylan

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    I remember the days in San Antonio when we would buy a Can of Freshly made Tamales ( like 10 Dozen) for Christmas Season Parties and Eating.:):):)

    It is a Tradition in the Alamo City and South Texas.:cool:( and Gov. Richard's served 1991-1995, so could it have been Gov Connally??)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  15. Aug 14, 2019 #15

    SarahZ

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    When my friends and I did the club-hopping thing in Chicago every weekend, there was a Tamale Guy who used to hang out outside our favorite bar. He had a cooler and a bunch of plastic bags from Jewel and/or Walgreens that he'd use to "bundle" them. He charged $1-2 per tamale, depending on the filling.

    We'd buy a bundle of 8-10, grab a couple bottles of Jarritos, and consume everything while walking to the L. Best drunk food ever.
     
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  16. Aug 14, 2019 #16

    Devil's Advocate

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    Freshly made tamales are an amazing culinary experience. Maybe there are healthy versions in California but not in Texas. As Jim mentioned it's mainly a special holiday meal down here. If you see a single tamale in a random Mexican plate on Tuesday in June I'd advise you set it aside.
     
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  17. Aug 14, 2019 #17

    OlympianHiawatha

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    The halcyon days of Chicago when you could tumble out of a bar at o' late 30, wander around a bit (White Castle on Addison for me) and feel reasonably safe.
     
  18. Aug 14, 2019 #18

    seat38a

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    The Holiday Tamales is a Mexican thing not just a Texas thing. There are long lines at popular tamale places out here during the holidays. FYI not Mexican, but grew up with many friends who are. Oh and everyones abuelita allegedly makes it better than anyone else. :D Lately I've been hooked on the sweet tamales. Specifically pineapple ones.
     
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  19. Aug 16, 2019 #19

    dogbert617

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    I wonder if you were talking about the 'Tamale Guy', aka(from online reports about his name) Claudio? If you were referring to that guy, yes infrequently I'll still see that guy go from bar to bar in a lot of various Chicago neighborhoods, if you hang out at one bar that doesn't serve food for long enough. For the record that guy sells several tamales in a bag, and it costs something like $5 or $6? Been a while since I'd last seen him, at a bar myself. But I imagine he's still selling tamales at bars not serving food, to this day.

    Interesting tamales are sold on the Pacific Surliner, since I bet those would be successful if they were added to the cafe car menu for Illinois and/or Michigan trains. Though I thought it was interesting I realized gooey butter cakes(a Saint Louis dessert specialty) are sold on at least Lincoln Service(Chi.-StL) cafe cars(hadn't figured out yet if those also are sold on Illini + Saluki, or Carl Sandburg + IL Zephyr), and which I thought was cool to discover!
     
  20. Aug 16, 2019 #20

    Alice

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    OK, I get to SoCal now and then. Where do I go for the pineapple tamales, please?
     
  21. Aug 18, 2019 #21

    dogbert617

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    Pineapple tamales?!? Wow, the Mexican-American community in Chicago has failed us, in the fact I can't think of a single place that serves fruit and/or dessert tamales! It's funny that there actually is a 'tamale guy' who goes from bar to bar selling tamales at bars not serving food, but not a single place serving dessert ones.

    Well now I want to know whenever I get to the LA area someday, which places I should visit which serve fruit and/or dessert tamales!
     
  22. Aug 19, 2019 at 12:47 AM #22

    Chey

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    Yeah, I'd never even heard of them but when I googled it, there were lots of recipe sites showing how to make them. For people like me, however, who'd rather buy them from someone familiar with a kitchen, I'm not thus far finding them where I live.
     
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  23. Aug 19, 2019 at 4:14 AM #23

    anumberone

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    I live in So. California and even though tamales are a important part of Latino Christmas food, they are a every day thing here as well. Sort of my go to thing at mexican restaurants. My neighbors are from El Salvador and they also make Tamales at Christmas. They use Banana leaves instead of corn husks, flavor the masa a little different and usually put a green olive with a pit in the tamale. I don't know about Pineapple in tamales, but Hawaiians are big with pineapple. Fish sandwiches and Hamburgers searved Hawaiian style usually have pineapple and BBQ sauce. Really good. They also are really big into Spam.
     
  24. Aug 20, 2019 at 6:43 AM #24

    seat38a

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    Interesting that pineapple tamales are rare outside of SoCal. I've grown up eating pineapple, strawberry and just plain sweet tamales. Menu would always list the usual savory kind and 1 or 2 sweet varieties. I live in Orange County and been getting all of my Tamales in Orange County but here's some good ones that I buy at:
    https://www.yelp.com/biz/tamaleria-rincon-sinaloense-orange-2
    https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-molino-de-oro-lake-forest

    Below are some menu pictures. You will see that sweet tamales, including pineapple ones are very common here. (Have not eaten at these ones.)
    https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/tamaras-tamales-los-angeles?select=TiXKRNgU3Jtz_pUsEunrAw
    https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/tamales-alberto-los-angeles-2?select=gqtGTORAWvVli_IKY-ujKQ
    https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/sandras-tamales-los-angeles-2?select=sQHceJx2uGiDbf0CnaDqTQ
    https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/tamaleria-rincon-sinaloense-orange-2?select=dhROlkIa8Siu8H7uIki03g
     
  25. Aug 20, 2019 at 3:47 PM #25

    Ziv

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    You mean Mexicans eat tamales too? I thought it was a Salvadoran food... ;-)
    Seriously, nearly every "Mexican" cafe near me in the DC area is run by Salvadorans. But the Salvadoran grocery down the street from me does do a pretty good chicken tamale even if the owner was born in San Salvador.

    America. We get the best and brightest people from all over the world. And they bring the best food with them.

    On edit: Wow, Seat38a, most of those tamales at Tamaras are $5 or more, each. The ones I get are fairly basic but really tasty and they are only $2 each. Same for the pupusas and empanadas, though they are carry out only.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019 at 3:52 PM
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