VIA Has Food for Body and Soul.
The meals served in VIA’s dining car are really quite good–all made with fresh ingredients and all prepared right on board. I couldn’t get a menu, but here’s my best recollection.
Breakfasts were really excellent and the morning menu would include an omelette, with different fillings offered each day. The second choice would be blueberry pancakes one day, French toast the next. Next would be two eggs any style. Bacon or sausage and white or brown toast were available with all of those choices. There was also a continental breakfast available every day.
Lunches included a soup of the day or a small salad, followed by four light entrees such as a turkey/bacon wrap, or a sandwich or a Cobb salad. There was a choice of two desserts–one day it was an apple cobbler or ice cream. And you had to but inquire and the server would say, “Some ice cream with the cobbler? No problem.”
Dinners were impressive. A soup or salad to start, followed by a choice of four main courses: typically beef or lamb chops; roast duck or chicken of some kind; a seafood option and also something for he vegetarians.
A final note: A freight train broke down in front of us when we were just an hour out of Toronto, and of a when it appeared we might not arrive until mid-afternoon, the chef in the dining car went to work and produced heaping trays of an absolutely delicious turkey wrap and a club sandwich.
On another-but-related subject, VIA sometimes arranges for entertainers to ride along on the Canadian and perform in the lounge/observation cars. This is one of those ideas that sounds good when you first hear about it, but isn’t all that great in practice.
A woman on my recent VIA ride who played the guitar and sang folk songs in the lounge car. For the record, she had a pleasing voice and a wide repertoire, but conversation necessarily stops while she performed which, I think, made her 40-50 minute performances seem too long. Furthermore, nothing she sang was familiar and, in fact, she performed a number of songs she herself had written. I think it would have been better if there had been a few songs we all knew and could have sung along.
All that said, VIA deserves a loud and very sincere “Atta-boy!” for its efforts to continue providing an exceptional travel experience, even in the face of frequent pressure from the government to lower costs. They are, in fact, doing a helluva job.