Consuming on America’s trains can depart a traveler wanting. On trains in Japan, you possibly can dine on gourmet bento boxes and sake that price lower than a meal at a U.S. airport. Right here you’re caught with meals you’d discover at a fuel station.

However on Wednesday, Amtrak shocked riders with a brand new menu drop, promising brisker and higher-quality choices.

The “reimagined” menu is a response to passenger suggestions, Amtrak stated, and options extra scorching meals and vegan choices. The objects can be found on trains alongside the Northeast Hall (the Acela, Northeast Regional, Vermonter and Ethan Allen Specific) and on Amtrak’s long-distance trains (the Capitol Restricted, Cardinal and California Zephyr).

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I hopped on the primary practice I may — the Acela to Philadelphia and the Northeast Regional again to D.C. — to style as a lot of the brand new menu as attainable. I ordered 15 objects — some new and a few acquainted — and ranked and scored them on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being worthy of no extra bites and 10 being “Wow! I’d eat that once more!”

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Vanilla yogurt parfait: 3/10

It may very well be your commonplace, chemical-sweet comfort retailer yogurt parfait ($5). The granola particles had been nice, however the berry compote on the backside didn’t maintain as much as the promise of “blended berries” from the outline.

Bacon, egg and cheese bialy: 4/10

The bialy breakfast sandwich ($6.50 on Café Acela; $6 with sausage on the National Café menu) has the essence of a typical bacon, egg and cheese however not the soul. The bialy doesn’t do effectively within the microwave used to warmth it up, and comes out robust and dry, making a sesame-dusted choking hazard (I’m solely half-joking). Even with the slab of smoky bacon, bites don’t go down simple.

Tropical fruit medley: 5/10

The brand new-menu press launch had talked about a “Seasonal Fruit with Mango” choice. I discovered a tropical fruit medley ($5) on my Acela practice that had mango (albeit unripe), pineapple (arduous), peeled orange slices (juicy), grapes (commonplace) and kiwi (flavorless). On the upside, it was straight fruit. No additional sugar or juices. If you’d like one thing that feels recent and wholesome, this works.

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Egg white and cheese artisan sandwich: 7/10

The egg white and cheese artisan sandwich ($6.50) wants a couple of minutes to settle after it comes out of the microwave — type of like resting a steak earlier than chopping into it. Then it’s mushy and pillowy. There’s a funk to it. Whether or not that’s a great factor is as much as you.

Streusel espresso cake: 8/10

Professional: The streusel espresso cake ($3.50) shocked and delighted with moistness and style. Con: As crumbly as a Nature Valley granola bar. Espresso cake. All over the place. All in my laptop computer keyboards. I’m unsure I’ll ever get it out. Don’t eat subsequent to a well-dressed seatmate.

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The primary chew was almost ice-cold and a shock to the system, however a couple of extra later and I used to be joyful to be consuming the vegan Asian noodle bowl ($7.50). It got here with a gloppy “spicy-sweet” plum sauce (not really spicy) to slop over the medley of tremendous recent greens — crunchy carrot strips, bell peppers that popped, al dente edamame and massive chunks of broccoli — and just-okay noodles.

Rainbow berry salad: 10/10

This berry salad ($8.50) delivered. Most grab-and-go salads have wilted or boring lettuce. Not this man. It was crammed with ripe strawberries, complete walnuts, dried cranberries and a ton of blue cheese over a mattress of greens with character, plus a facet of balsamic French dressing. Amtrak skimped on nothing.

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Santa Fe rooster panini: 4/10

A pure meh sandwich ($8.50). There’s a number of rooster in it, so it’ll fill you up, however the rooster is bone-dry. Regardless of the roasted pink peppers, jack cheese and chipotle aioli, it doesn’t have sufficient taste.

Smoked turkey and havarti sandwich: 4/10

The sandwich ($8.50) sounds loads higher than it’s. It hits you with a honey mustard taste with the primary chew, which is good, and there’s a number of turkey in it. However the multi-grain sub roll is mediocre, soggy in some spots and parched in others. The Amtrak Café worker provided to warmth it up for me, however I declined; possibly it might have been higher heat.

Moonshine barbecue rooster sandwich: 7/10

There’s one thing very elementary faculty cafeteria about this rooster sandwich ($7.50). On the one hand, it hits you instantly with a traditional (learn: fundamental) barbecue tang and its coleslaw has a pleasant crunch. Nevertheless it additionally type of mushes collectively in its brioche roll, like a sloppy Joe with out the slop goodness. It may use extra sauce.

Angus beef cheeseburger: 8.5/10

Taking this cheeseburger ($7.25) out of its swampy plastic packaging was obscene. Zero factors for presentation. However the taste overcame the heinous aesthetic.

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Stromboli with marinara: 5/10

Within the press launch images, the stromboli ($6) seemed like a enjoyable cross between mozzarella sticks and a pizza crust. In individual, it seemed pale and undercooked and tasted prefer it — possibly it didn’t get nuked lengthy sufficient. Other than the unsettling gummy texture of the dough, it did have a pleasant herby taste and an abundance of gooey cheese.

Blue corn vegan tamale: 10/10

I don’t wish to get canceled for calling an Amtrak tamale a great tamale, however I loved consuming this Amtrak tamale ($5). Technically, it’s not an “Amtrak tamale”; the packaging says it’s hand-made by Tucson Tamale, a husband-and-wife firm from Arizona. It was tasty and comforting, regardless that I let it cool too lengthy earlier than consuming.

White cheddar mac and cheese: 10/10

The white cheddar mac and cheese ($7.25) doesn’t tread evenly. It’s dense and decadent with an expensive texture. Umami in a disposable container. Greatest served with a glass of crisp white wine or a chilly glowing water to chop the richness.

In case you like turkey, smoked Gouda and celery, this field ($8.50) with mini naan bread is for you. However skip the cranberry mustard sauce. It’s the flawed dip for this case — too candy and skinny.

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