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Feb 6, 2013 09:15 AM

Ideas for a purchased packed lunch for a long train trip?

Looking for interesting options for packed lunches for a long train trip? I have thought about putting together my own packed lunch but wanted to see if anyone had suggestions for some that are already put together? Do any restaurants or cafes in Montreal offer something like this?

Caveat - would need to be purchased the day before traveling, so things that can maintain texture and taste after a night in the fridge would be best.

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  1. I've put together packed lunches using items from restaurants and cafes. Is that what you mean? A fresh baguette sandwich from one of the bakeries (Au Petit Fourneau has great ones) with a few nuts and fruit on the side is good and you can even pick that up at the train station from Premiere Moisson. A lot of the bakeries sell good mini quiche which are good cold too. I often take a box of takeout sushi, maybe vegetarian if it has to keep overnight, makes everyone else in the train jealous usually. I tend to buy drinks on the train as that's easier than lugging beverages with me.

    My most interesting homemade option is to make a coconut sticky rice dish with seasoned meat in the centre (lemper) but I haven't found an equivalent that I can buy quickly before travelling, as a lot of Asian rice snacks need to be heated to be edible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Plateaumaman

      These are great ideas, thank you. When you say that I can pick something up at the Premiere Moisson at the train station, do you mean they just have baguette sandwiches, or they have packs which include the fruit and nuts etc.

      I had thought about sushi, but I don't like the taste of refrigerated sushi rice. I love the idea of sticky rice though - maybe Patisserie Harmonie might have some things I could take with me!

      The cafeteria where I work sells lunch boxes - plastic containers containing sandwiches, crudites and dip, a piece of fruit, a cookie, and a juice box. Unfortunately, the food from the cafeteria is awful, so that is not an option! But I was thinking that perhaps some cafes downtown offer these kind of things - I don't work downtown, so I am not familiar with what is on offer.

      1. re: unlaced

        Premiere Moisson will give you the sandwich but the fruit and nuts would be at one of the other snack places nearby. If you bring an empty lunch bag with you it is easy to fill it as you go along. I've also travelled with buns from Patisserie Harmonie or Coco Bun. Those are good. I've tried sticky rice in lotus leaf from dim sum places but the rice is usually too hard when cold, a bit like your comment on sushi rice. I haven't had a problem with sushi that I've taken though, as good sushi rice should stay moist overnight ... ? You can buy wine on the Viarail trains or beer. Their hummus and pita chips isn't too bad although most of the snacks are overpriced. It's worth planning ahead and having a good picnic. Chinatown is fun for snacks, Pockies, ramen noodle chips, wasabi peas.

    2. You make me remember a time when I took the train from LA to San Diego. I ordered a turkey & cheese on a sesame bagel from a place at Union Station and jumped on the train. 30 minutes later, I opened up the bag and unwrapped my sandwich only to find peanut butter (so much peanut butter) and grape jelly on a cinnamon raisin bagel.

      I hate peanut butter. I hate grape jelly. I'm iffy on cinnamon. It was obviously someone else's order but I was stuck with it. I nibbled around the edges and then just chucked it.

      Lesson to be gleaned? Check your order *before* getting on the train!

      1. The Europea cafe in Old Montreal offers boxed lunches like that.

        1. I'd say it depends on the train and how long is long.

          My rail experience is limited, but if your fellow riders (and train presonnel) are laissez faire, bring whatever turns you on. I'm thinking smoked meat (or other type) sandwiches or Chinese food or souvlaki, etc.
          If its a more strict environment, perhaps more discreet like wraps or something (I like the sushi idea).

          The few times I've been on a train was the Albany-NYC Amtrak route. We bring sandwiches at the very least plus snacks like chips or jerky or pretzels, and a coupla bottles of wine and plastic cups.

          1. Bring a nice large Saucisson à l'ail, a good bottle of wine, aa baguette and be friendly with your fellow travellers!!! :-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Maximilien

              can you really bring your own booze on the train? i mean, i have in a sprite bottle, but never a full bottle of wine.

              1. re: catroast

                As I mentioned above, the only train I travelled was the Hudson River milkrun. The personnel didn't blink an eye at the two young couples, each hauling a 36 pack of Bud...our wine seemed understated.
                This is one line of Amtrak business class - I can't speak for other lines or companies such as VIA or CP...