Sunday, 10 July 2011

VIA Rail to the Festival

So not only did the folks at Family Shows Canada ask me to be a judge at the wing competition at the London International Food Festival, they also sprung for me to go to London. And I got to go first class, which was a first for me.

My journey started at Union Station in Toronto. I immediately felt privileged and important walking past the long line of people who had been waiting a long time - some standing, some sitting on the floor - and entered the Panorama Lounge. There I was offered complimentary drinks, newspaper, internet access etc. After taking it easy for a bit, we were allowed to pre-board the train before everyone else. I was feeling fancy.

First class (or business class) was pretty nice with it's big comfy seats, curtains on the window, and lots of space (in the isle, the seats, the luggage storage). I had no one sitting beside me the whole way. Before we pulled out of the station the attendants had already been around asking what I wanted to drink. I passed on the booze and just had a cup of cola.

I pulled out my laptop and logged on to the Internet. I was watching a movie, working on the blog, chatting on  Twitter and staring out the window at the beautiful scenery.

With my drink came some snacks. They offered pretzels or a kind of trail mix. I could have had both, but I just went with the mini pretzels.

A little while later the super friendly attendants brought my menu for supper:

California and smoked salmon
sushi rolls served with pickled ginger.
Penne Caprese
served with rosé sauce and a roasted
Calabrese vegetable blend.
Roasted Salmon with Honey and Coriander
served with red pepper and corn relish, brown rice
with scallions and a romanesco vegetable blend.
Beef Carbonnade
served with rotini pasta, peas and carrots.
    All meals are served with a selection of bread. 

Praline Cake

I skipped on the appetizer (not a huge fan of sushi). They brought out a steaming hot towel that smelled like lemon (very refreshing). I ate my bun pretty quick (fairly fresh). They offered me wine (red or white) but I stuck to water. I love the little water glass.

For dinner I chose the penne. I expected something terrible, but it wasn't bad. It was very cheesy and was not completely void of flavour. If only they served wings . . .

The desert was Praline cake. This was delightful. And then more offers for beverages. By the time I was getting off the train, they were offering these little chocolate cups that I missed, but looked really good.

I have to say, this was the first time I have taken long distance public transit (normal train, bus etc) that I didn't want to get off. I was so comfortable, the staff treated me royally and it will make it very hard to go back to any other way of transportation. 

Thanks Cecil Hillier for the tickets!  


Chris said...

I used to travel by train as a kid and loved it, but AMTRAK doesn't come through Knoxville.

It sounds like you are off to a nice start, enjoy your trip!

Anthony said...

Via One is the way to travel in Ontario for sure. Tip for next time - bring some wings and they will warm them up for you. And dont miss the chocolate cups!

Lord of the Wings said...

@Chris - I was, I'm embarrased as this was a few weekends ago and I just haven't posted all the posts!

@Anthony - brilliant idea!

Teena in Toronto said...

Sweet! I've gone business class to Ottawa ... my fav was the liquor trolley :)

Lord of the Wings said...

@Teena - Such a civilized way to travel!