Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Amtrak is a Culinary Wasteland


Would it kill Amtrak to sell reasonably good food?

I spent five hours total on the North East Corridor yesterday, traveling from from Trenton, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. for work.  Normally, I have a pretty high tolerance for shitty food — as long as someone else is paying for it.  Unfortunately, my employers have decided that the 150-mile trip doesn’t qualify for meal reimbursement, so I’d have to shell out my own cash if I wanted a dirty water hot dog or whatever else they were hawking.  I settled for reading food blogs and toughing it out until I made it home for dinner.

Look, I understand why the folks who fly steerage on airlines get crap (if they’re lucky).  There’s only so much space on the plane and the equipment used to cook/heat the meals isn’t exactly ideal.  But why can’t Amtrak, which makes tons of stops where good food can be loaded and has the luxury of a roomy cafe car, offer some higher-quality fare for its riders?  Isn’t this the kind of thing that Emeril, Wolfgang or someone like that should be jumping on?

It’s nothing but first class when you ride the smörg…

– Really, Wall Street Journal?!? You don’t say…” Another boost came from Mr. Ramsay’s blossoming media career, with the success of reality television shows such as “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “The F-Word” — so-named for Mr. Ramsay’s frequent use of expletives.”

– The fact that a cheftestant on the upcoming season of Top Chef has left her job has NOTHING to do with her performance on the show.  It has EVERYTHING to do with her snagging a better deal at one of Philly’s higher-profile spots.

After the jump: the culinary scourge of the nation, the world’s least surprising medical update and Spike tells you how to sign off in style.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: 100% Hand-Made


Following up on ML’s Table for 12 post, I’ve been thinking about cheating. Do you feel better (more authentic, more accomplished, etc.) when you cook a dish using absolutely no pre-processed ingredients? Health concerns aside, do you feel better knowing that everything that appears in your dish started out at the most elemental level possible?  Or are there certain prepared items that are just fine to include, like mayonnaise and canned chicken stock? I just ask because I made Caesar salad (not pictured above) from scratch the other night, and I was a little extra jazzed about the fact that everything — down to the breadcrumbs — was home-made.

So, is it OK to compromise on the  “authenticity” of a dish by taking one or two Sandra Lee-esque shortcuts, or does making a dish in a completely elemental way truly add a meaningful touch?

I apologize for making you think on a Wednesday.  Here’s some smörg to cleanse the palate.

– A look at Bobby Flay‘s newest cookbook, which just so happens to be part of the prize pack for our grilling contest.  Be sure to enter by midnight tonight!

– Two former Hell’s Kitchen contestants, including Robert Hesse, are joining the kitchen at a restaurant in the Hamptons.  The post gently refers to Robert as “memorable.”  You’ll likely remember him as the giant dude who collapsed at the Borgata.  Yeah, that’s memorable, alright.

After the jump…Ray-Ray keeps collecting the hardware, a culinary-journalism crisis of epic proportions and Tony Bourdain takes aim at your favorite grocery store.

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