instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

From the Dining Car

The Recipes and Stories Behind Today's Greatest Rail Dining Experiences

Does this menu sound appealing?

• Brie with Brandy Topping
• Oven Roasted Red Beet and Grand Marnier Soup
• Romaine, Grapefruit, Toasted Almond Salad
• Chicken Breast Pinot Noir and Dried Cherries
• Roasted Baby Red Potatoes with Cracked Pepper
• Maple Buttered Carrots
• Amaretto Mousse

Is this a meal from one of North America’s great restaurants? Well, yes and no. It’s actually a menu made up of offerings from seven of North America’s great restaurants, some of which whisk you along at speeds upward of eighty miles per hour. You see, this enticing meal comes straight from the dining car menus of seven of the greatest trains traveling the rails today. In order, they are the private car Palmetto State, which travels nation-wide in charter service; the American Orient Express, a luxury train that also travels extensively in the United States, Canada, and Mexico; The Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, which gives diners views of the Seattle skyline; Amtrak's Coast Starlight between Los Angeles and Seattle; the Royal Canadian Pacific, a private luxury train in Canada; The Canadian, VIA RailCanada's premier service between Toronto and Vancouver; and the business car fleet of BNSF, a Class-I freight carrier.

All across North America, as trains speed through mountain passes, wend their way along the shores of crystal-clear lakes, and roll across blistering deserts, riders are enjoying some of the best that the North American table has to offer. Complete with serious wine lists, crisp table linens, heavy silverware, fine china, gleaming crystal, and impeccable service, these dining cars bring the age old romance of dining well on a train into the 21st century.

You can join riders on the Napa Valley Wine Train to feast on California crab stacks, smoked Sonoma range chicken, and crème brulee, sip the local vintage, and watch while small towns and numerous vineyards roll by. Or wake up on the luxurious American Orient Express and watch everything from the autumn foliage of New England to the sun basted Pacific Ocean surf pass outside while you enjoy fluffy omelets, freshly brewed coffee, pastries, and fruit juice.

From the Dining Car takes you into the kitchens and dining rooms of these and other great trains and rail cars, both public and private, to discover the secrets of the great railroad chefs. Listen in as more than fifty chefs describe how they prepare meals that would be the envy of a conventional restaurant, while working in a kitchen one-half or one-third the size.

Featuring more than two hundred recipes and just as many behind-the-scenes stories, From the Dining Car brings the food of the great trains from the dining car to your dining room table. All aboard!

What's Being Said
From the Dining Car

"presents more than 200 . . . recipes, most of which are for quite elegant fare . . . . it's fun to peruse the menus . . . . readers are likely to find Porterfield's detailed descriptions of traveling and dining in typically luxurious settings . . . interesting."
Library Journal

"Nicely written descriptions, historical nuggets, and tips that should appeal to cooks, rail enthusiasts, and travelers."
Trains Magazine

"The recipes are trim and easy to follow, and Porterfield provides tasty tidbits about trains and dining cars past and present."
Denver Post

"...entertaining, informative, and a wonderful source of some great recipes (that) range from the simple but good to the complex and divine....truly a 'delicious' read for anyone."
Railfan & Railroad

Selected as a featured title for the 2005 KitchenAid The Book and The Cook festival, with dinner served at Bridgewater's Pub in Amtrak's 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 19, 2005.