Leigh Hanlon in Western suit, bolo tie and black Stetson photographed in men's room mirror at Denver Union StationI love steak and I love traveling by train, but so far I haven't had good luck with the flat iron steak served on Amtrak's California Zephyr.

I tried this relatively new cut last October 2008 on the Zephyr and wasn't especially impressed with it. But I figured it was probably just me, so when I was on the train again in early 2009, I gave the flat iron steak another chance. Same result. This, I asked myself, is a $21 meal?

Last week, I spent a week's vacation out in Colorado, so I decided to relax and take the train again. Meals are included if you book a sleeper, so I tend to eat with reckless abandon. This trip, however, I decided to play it safe with the pork tenderloin -- which was quite good.

As for why I just don't get along with the flat iron steak, Leah Zeldes tells me that some, but not all, flat iron steaks can contain myglobin, which imparts a liverlike taste if the steak is cooked well. I'm not sure if that's why my two Amtrak flat irons failed to excite, since I ordered both cooked medium.

Maybe it's just me. When I mentioned my Amtrak steak experience to several friends in Colorado, they told me that they really like flat iron steaks -- especially when used to make sandwiches.

In any event, the rest of the stuff on the Amtrak menu was just fine.

External links and opinions about flat iron steak and Amtrak food:

Flat iron steak is a hit with consumers, researchers say.

Chowhound pretty much raves about this cut.

Here's a photograph of the flat iron steak by Jeremy! on Flickr.

Does Amtrak substitute beef shanks for the flat iron steak?

Blogger declares "There are some inconsistencies."

National Association of Railroad Passengers provides information about Amtrak menus.

Gemma Petrie's Gapers Block account of dining on Amtrak's Empire Builder.

Railroad.net asks, "What was your best meal aboard an Amtrak train?"

ChicagoScope feedback line: 312-683-5272. Send e-mail to ChicagoScope@gmail.com.

Direct download: CZ.mp3
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About Me
I'm Leigh Hanlon, a writer and photographer in Chicago. Before moving to the Windy City, I worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. (Photo by Marty Larkin)



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