Monday, August 29, 2016

Dinner on the Train

We boarded the Pullman Dinner Train at 5 pm last Saturday in Hood River, Oregon.  My travel buddy took a little coaxing.  "Where are we going again?" he asked (at least three times).

  "Absolutely nowhere," I finally answered a bit sarcastically.  It was the farm-to-table gourmet dinner that sold me on the trip.  And as soon as our hostess escorted us to our reserved table and brought us a bottle of chilled pinot gris and a basket of aromatic garlic bread, his face lit up with comprehension.
For the next three hours, we dined in style while the Mt. Hood River train rolled by picturesque orchards, fruit packing houses and vineyards.  It was all familiar territory, and yet . . . somehow different.

Perhaps it was the couple dancing to Frank Sinatra in the bar car or the tray of manhattans our hostess was carrying down the aisle.  Perhaps it was the white tablecloth and vase of fresh flowers. Or our reflections mingling with gasp-inducing views of Mt. Hood.  But our train trip to nowhere took us down a road rarely taken. It made me realize I have been missing a big part of the global experience when I travel:  The wonderful world of food.
Because of budget limitations, my travel buddy and I tend to skimp on meals.  In order to afford those hotel rooms, we skip the multi-starred restaurants and end up buying picnic food.  But beginning NOW, this is going to stop.  I am going to make an effort to explore the local cuisine when I travel.  Whether I'm in familiar territory or in a far-away exotic locale.  I'm going to splurge, at least once, on a gourmet meal in a beautiful restaurant.

Tonight we were dining on salmon caught in the Columbia River.  It was served with cherry chutney, roasted carrots and fresh broccoli, all sourced from local farms.  The dessert, a berry cobbler, was absolutely heavenly.

And out our window were those very farms where the food had been grown.

I was happy to see my partner enjoying the experience as much as I.  In fact, he started talking about future meals on future trains.  The Orient Express to Istanbul.  The Trans-Siberian across the entire continent of Asia.  With vodka and blinis, of course.

And so our Saturday evening train to nowhere took us somewhere . . .very special.  

A road into the future.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like so much fun , a leisurely train journey accompanied by fresh local produce. I will be keen to see where the next train journey takes you. On our recent travels we did a bit of a mix , some good local restaurants , smaller cafes and local produce from the market.It seemed to work for us.