My Lovely Tasting Assisatant™ and I just finished a trip on Amtrak from Los Angeles to New Mexico. We had a wonderful time, with great scenery. We had a sleeper compartment, and so meals in the dining car were included in the price.
While Amtrak food is leagues better than one would find on an airline, it's hardly the reason for the journey. For example, we had a decent New York strip steak with bland steamed vegetables and a well cooked baked potato, and an iceberg salad with a selection of Newman's Own salad dressings. We also had a flavorful (if limp) cheese omelet for breakfast, and a beautiful burger with very fresh lettuce, tomato and onion for lunch (even if the burger patty was clearly of the highly processed/frozen flat hockey puck variety). There was a fresh carnation in a bud vase, which was a nice touch, plus real silverware. At first glance the plates appeared as if they were ceramic, but when my knife cracked the bottom of the plate it was clear we were dealing with plastic. The white tablecloth was of the "fabric paper" variety, and I when diners finished their meals, we saw the attendants remove the silverware and scoop up the entire table into a large pouch, hobo bindlestick style.
This obvious PR video for Via Rail Canada (starting at 1:10) makes the food look indiscernible from a restaurant, and for those of you who have traveled this way, I'm wondering what the food and overall experience is really like.
Thanks Canada hounds
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