Where to next? New York? Denver? New Orleans? A tour of the national parks out west? I can find so many great reasons to ride these routes with Pullman Rail Journeys, but perhaps the best is to be coddled and have the kind of food service that was the standard decades ago. Don’t you want to watch the most stunning scenery slide by, ring the porter bell, order a beer, and just look out the window and think? Of course you do! All of this inside a refurbished lounge car that may have once hosted presidents making whistle stops, or vaudevillians like Mae West and W.C. Fields traveling cross-country.
So, my confession: What I’m really looking forward to is watching the steward serve my beer. According to the 1950’s Pullman service manual that described everything porters needed to know about service, this takes twelve steps. A guy at the gym where I work out says it takes two: pull cap off, tilt neck back and guzzle. Oh, what does a farm boy from Iowa know? Here are the twelve steps:
- Ascertain what kind of beer the passenger desires.
- Arrange set up on bar tray in buffet – one cold bottle of beer, which has been wiped, standing upright; a Collins glass 2/3 full of finely chopped ice; another Collins glass; bottle opener and Pullman cocktail napkin. Pullman attendant should carry clean glass towel on his arm with fold pointing toward his hand while rendering service.
- Carry setup to passenger.
- Place bar tray with set up on table.
- Place cocktail napkin on table in front of passenger, with the Pullman logo facing passenger.
- Present bottle of beer to passenger displaying label and cap.
- Pour ice from chilled glass into empty glass.
- Open bottle of beer in presence of passenger, holding bottle at an angle, pointing neck of bottle away from passenger. Wipe top of opened bottle with clean glass towel.
- Pour beer into chilled glass by placing top of bottle into glass and sliding the beer down the side until beer reaches about two inches from top.
- Place glass with beer on cocktail napkin in front of passenger.
- Place bottle containing remainder of beer on table before passenger, with label facing passenger.
- Remove bar tray with equipment and return to buffet.
If it’s on the menu, I’m ordering the IPA called the Pullman Palace Car, a private label beer brewed exclusively by Chicago’s Argus Brewery for the Friends of Pullman. Apparently when Obama was recently in Chicago to declare the south side neighborhood a national monument, he found out about the beer so his Secret Service ordered four cases. I guess it isn’t so secret anymore.