Better Food in Amtrak Dining Cars.

Over the past several years, many of us who frequently travel on Amtrak’s long-distance trains have noticed a decline in both the quality of the food and the variety of items on the menu. And for many discouraging months, all long distance trains featured identical menus.

 Apparently that has changed. There was a new menu in the Empire Builder’s dining car as I traveled from Chicago to Seattle. And, by golly, there were more items and the several passengers I asked all said the quality was quite good. There was also a much larger selection for all three meals than the old menu offered. Here’s an incomplete sample:
Scrambled Eggs, Plain or Creole Style
Omelet, Choice of Fillings
French Toast
Continental Breakfast
Black Bean and Corn Veggie Burger
Chicken, Bacon, Cheddar Quesadilla
Thai-Spiced Pulled Coconut Sliders
Garden (side) Salad
Steak Strips and Shrimp Combo
Signature Steak with Bernais Sauce
Seared Shrimp
Chicken and Linguini Pasta a la Carbonara
At lunch one day, the woman sitting across from me said she wasn’t very hungry, but would rally like a dinner salad. There was nothing like that on the menu, but the server never batted an eye. “Sure, we can do that,” she said. Five minutes later, up the dumb waiter came a full-size dinner plate with a number of vegetables tastefully arranged on a bed of lettuce. I can’t imagine something like that happening a year ago.
Some of the choices are still flash frozen, then microwaved before being served, but most are quite tasty and It does appear that the needle is moving … and in the right direction.