RATING AMTRAK DINING

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RATING AMTRAK DINING
Posted by RailSpike on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 10:49 AM

I've not taken a trip since early this year when the LD diners were still in full-service operation and haven't had the pleasure of a delicious Amtrak microwaved meal.  However, I read travelers state that the meals range from terrible (had to throw away), to just "okay".  If this is true, there is absolutely no excuse for serving bad food, unless of course this is being done on purpose.  

It's 2020! Most grocery stores now offer ready-to-eat microwaved meals that are very tasty, some even prepared by local restaurants. I would much prefer that the full-service diners return.  However, in the meantime, Amtrak could do so much better, at probably the same costs it's paying for lousy food. After all, you're paying for it with your sleeper fare.

Reviews anyone?

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Posted by Enzoamps on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 12:50 PM

Chef Boy-Ar-Dee canned pasta, you know, the pasty noodles floating in ketchup that kids eat.  Awful stuff.  Here at the old folks home, I mentioned to a neeighbor a while back that the store was out of toilet paper still and oddly enoug also out of canned pasta.  He said, "Oh i really like those."  Bad food is in the eye of the beholder.  I had shrimp and grits warm-up meal on a train I thought wasn't bad, but no matter what it was, my mother would have found fault with it.

My local store deli has meals ready to heat, they may be good, but are $8-10 each.  Too much for essentially a TV dinner.  I have tried some of the microwavable "meals" from the shelves, name brands, and found them awful.  There will always be someone who likes it and someone who hates it.

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Posted by JPS1 on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 1:43 PM

RailSpike
 Reviews anyone? 

CMSTPnP's reports on his recent trips on the Texas Eagle to and from Chicago have some good insights regarding the meals on the Eagle.

My supermarket has excellent ready to eat meals that can be heated in the micro-wave or oven.  They are good.  They have to be good because if my store does not deliver a good product I can go to the competition.  But Amtrak does not have any rail competition.  So it can serve up whatever it wants irrespective of the quality.  

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 8:45 PM

Quoting Enzoamps: " I had shrimp and grits warm-up meal on a train.... "

You serve grits with pork sausage or bacon (perhaps also with eggs) at breakfast.

Johnny

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Posted by JPS1 on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 10:25 PM

I have not been on an Amtrak train since October because of the consistant late running of the Texas Eagle and now Covid-19.  Pror to October 2019  I had taken the Texas Eagle to Dallas from San Antonio or Austin and back an average of six times a year for nearly 13 years.  

Many of the coach passengers took advantage of the long layover in Fort Worth to get their lunch at the Subway located in the station.  That speaks volumes about the quality of the food on Amtrak.  

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 7:17 AM

Deggesty
You serve grits with pork sausage or bacon (perhaps also with eggs) at breakfast.

You're not from the parts of South Carolina or Georgia where the dish is from.  Breakfast shrimp is a big thing there.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/southern-shrimp-and-grits/

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 8:12 AM

Overmod

 

 
Deggesty
You serve grits with pork sausage or bacon (perhaps also with eggs) at breakfast.

 

You're not from South Carolina or Georgia.  Breakfast shrimp is a big thing there.

 

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/southern-shrimp-and-grits/

 

Perhaps in the Low Country, but not in the Up Country (above the fall line). I grew up in South Carolina, 50 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Johnny

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Posted by JPS1 on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 8:52 AM

Deggesty
 Perhaps in the Low Country, but not in the Up Country (above the fall line). I grew up in South Carolina, 50 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina. 

I lived in Charlotte for three years.  It was scrambled eggs, sausage, and grits along with coffee for me and most of the people around me. 
 
I never saw anyone have shrimp with grits.  Then too I only saw a small slice of the population that frequented the down-market restaurant where I frequently ate breakfast. 
 
Down market?  My wife referred to it as a roach palace.  I did not think the roaches looked regal.
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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 2:03 PM

Yeah, I meant 'Low Country' -- same for the areas of Georgia involved, which would plainly not be the whole state.  I have edited the post accordingly (as it contained an appalling statement unjustified by the actual situation).

A similar effect can be seen between Cajun and Coonazz culture in Louisiana.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 2:07 PM

JPS1
Down market?  My wife referred to it as a roach palace.  I did not think the roaches looked regal.

But I suspect they ate like kings, and their relatives all happily interbred...

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Posted by York1 on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 8:39 PM

In New Orleans, the shrimp and grits breakfast in the restaurants had the shrimp wrapped in bacon, served with the grits, with bacon bits sprinkled on the whole thing.

York1 John       

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 9:59 PM

One of my daughters took a long trip on Amtrak last year. Her reviews of the food were just terrible.

She said that airplanes serve better food.

York1
In New Orleans, the shrimp and grits breakfast in the restaurants had the shrimp wrapped in bacon, served with the grits, with bacon bits sprinkled on the whole thing.

I had some excellent Shrimp And Grits in the Louisiana Bistreaux restaurant on Virginia Avenue in Atlanta.

Hopefully I will get to Louisiana again at some point and enjoy them properly.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, July 9, 2020 2:23 PM

Im originally from New Orleans and have lived in GA MS and SC.

In my experience, shrimp & grits is mainly coastal, and not commonly eaten for breakfast. But it's huge at seafood restaurants for dinner or a large lunch.

I've eaten thousands of breakfasts of eggs, grits, sausage/bacon. And somtimes with a pancake to boot.

 

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, July 12, 2020 9:14 AM

Lithonia, I was from Louisiana, too.

I'm probably wrong, but living in New Orleans, I found that grits were not nearly as common as found in Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia.  Maybe it was the French influence on restaurants in NO.

My brother and family live in Georgia, and it seems like a sin if breakfast doesn't have grits.  Grits were common in New Orleans, but I don't remember them to that extent.

York1 John       

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Posted by alphas on Thursday, July 16, 2020 10:53 PM

My daughter and granddaughter took a 29 hour trip on Amtrak 2 years ago.  It was their first and presumably last trip on it.    The train was over 6 hours late, it was dirty especially the restrooms, the Amtrak personnel weren't that friendly, and they said the food was lousy.   

When I heard that I though of all the LD trains I took in the 1950's and 1960's.    My experiences were very different.    But back then the trains were operated by private railroads not government employees.    

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 19, 2020 9:01 AM

I'd like to see Amtrak return to  that level of service, which I also enjoyed, and believe it can be possible.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, July 20, 2020 10:03 AM

Something to remember, it is well-known that dining car services were not profitable in the pre-Amtrak era and were viewed more as part of the overall service and not as a profit center.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by JPS1 on Monday, July 20, 2020 2:45 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
 Something to remember, it is well-known that dining car services were not profitable in the pre-Amtrak era and were viewed more as part of the overall service and not as a profit center. 

True!  But the taxpayers were not on the hook for the losses.  They were worn by the shareholders.  

I am 81.  I cannot understand why some people insist on clinging to the past when for the most part it is no longer relevant.  The day of the long-distance passenger train is mostly dead; it should be given a decent burial.

The railroad buff in me says don't take away my Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited because I like to ride them, and they are the only “real trains” in Texas.  The finance person in me chokes at the notion of throwing more good money after bad. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 20, 2020 5:38 PM

JPS1
 
CSSHEGEWISCH
 Something to remember, it is well-known that dining car services were not profitable in the pre-Amtrak era and were viewed more as part of the overall service and not as a profit center.  

True!  But the taxpayers were not on the hook for the losses.  They were worn by the shareholders.  

I am 81.  I cannot understand why some people insist on clinging to the past when for the most part it is no longer relevant.  The day of the long-distance passenger train is mostly dead; it should be given a decent burial.

The railroad buff in me says don't take away my Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited because I like to ride them, and they are the only “real trains” in Texas.  The finance person in me chokes at the notion of throwing more good money after bad. 

My understanding is that no passenger service in the world is fare box profitable - why does the US think Amtrak should be fare box profitable?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, August 7, 2020 5:52 PM

Deggesty

 

 
Overmod

 

 
Deggesty
You serve grits with pork sausage or bacon (perhaps also with eggs) at breakfast.

 

You're not from South Carolina or Georgia.  Breakfast shrimp is a big thing there.

 

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/southern-shrimp-and-grits/

 

 

 

Perhaps in the Low Country, but not in the Up Country (above the fall line). I grew up in South Carolina, 50 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

 

"The Last Post" for Johnny's last post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2weDBlOTgmo  

RIP Deggesty.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, August 8, 2020 5:05 AM

Flintlock76
"The Last Post" for Johnny's last post.

I can only hope he read my apology before getting sick.

This nursing-home/assisted-living business has been terrifying me for months- here is another probably-demonstrable example.  It's hell.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 8, 2020 10:19 AM

Overmod
This nursing-home/assisted-living business has been terrifying me for months- here is another probably-demonstrable example.  It's hell.

Some are better than others, amazingly so, but having made many visits to nursing homes to repair their copiers over the years, myself and the other techs all said the same thing.

We'd all rather suck on a shotgun than wind up in one of those places.  Once you go in your life's over anyway, all your tomorrows are going to be just like today, and all your todays are like yesterday.  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, August 8, 2020 6:34 PM

RailSpike
and haven't had the pleasure of a delicious Amtrak microwaved meal.

Hey, I'm just curious.   Have you ever ate at Waffle House and if you have.....did you like their food?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, August 8, 2020 6:58 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
RailSpike
and haven't had the pleasure of a delicious Amtrak microwaved meal.

 

Hey, I'm just curious.   Have you ever ate at Waffle House and if you have.....did you like their food?

 

I have, and I thought it was pretty good!  Besides, I like Waffle House!  How can you NOT like a place where you have to show a pack of cigarettes to get in?  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, August 8, 2020 7:22 PM

Flintlock76
I have, and I thought it was pretty good!  Besides, I like Waffle House!  How can you NOT like a place where you have to show a pack of cigarettes to get in?  

There is your man Charlie Hebdo.....lol.    There might be more than one.

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, August 9, 2020 7:08 AM

CMStPnP
There is your man Charlie Hebdo.....lol.    There might be more than one.

Here I am.  I love the breakfast and I love the atmosphere.  Last time I was there two years ago, the waitresses and the cook were having a disagreement, all played out right in front of me while I ate.  It doesn't get much better than that.

What's amazing is that a chain of dingy diners is now the subject of two simultaneous threads on this forum!

York1 John       

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, August 9, 2020 8:02 AM

I guess it takes all kinds.  I didn't like the "Saturday night's all right for fighting atmosphere" or the food when I lived in Atlanta. 

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, August 9, 2020 10:18 AM

charlie hebdo
I guess it takes all kinds. 

Yeah, that's kind of what I say when I hear of people who don't like eating there.

York1 John       

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, August 9, 2020 10:54 AM

York1
  Last time I was there two years ago, the waitresses and the cook were having a disagreement, all played out right in front of me while I ate.  It doesn't get much better than that.

That stuff has to be scripted.  Happned the one time I went to one in atlanta. 

 The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, August 9, 2020 11:02 AM

zugmann
That stuff has to be scripted.  Happned the one time I went to one in atlanta. 

I've been to several in Atlanta.

The cleanest was the one at the Peachtree-Dunwoody exit off I-285.  That was over 20 years ago, so I don't know if it's even still there.

I actually haven't been in a Waffle House for eight or nine years, other than the one several years ago on vacation.  There aren't any in my part of the country.

My wife won't go into a Waffle House, so now when we travel, we have to find something else.  My wife's favorite when we're on the road is Cracker Barrel.

York1 John       

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