Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
IKEA for Breakfast
Lots o' Places, the World Over!
Review by SuSu, MaceVindaloo, Sparticus, Diana

IKEA is no longer an alternative store for furniture and housewares. It used to be the funky department store you go to when you didn't like the offerings at Macy's or Bloomie's. They cannily purchases lots on the periphery or outside of city limits, the better to cut costs. They were a very amiable WalMart, in their friendly Swedish way.

Times have changed; the WalMart chains are meeting resistance from many communities which purport to not want lower prices at the expense of their traditional downtown stores. Malls have actually closed, including the first one in America, the one in Sherman Oaks where TV's Bradys lived. The old department stores have gone by the way of Apollo moonshots. Everything needed to be rethought and repackaged and remarketed.

The same happened to IKEA, but in the other direction. They became more department store-like but without the clothes and shoes. The store was populated less by those with style and no money, and more with people who did have the money but liked the idea of getting a superior cabinet for less money. IKEA started carrying their own line of OEM appliances, offering installation services, and providing diversions for the family for the whole day.




One of the best parts of IKEA has always been their in-store cafeteria, with their bargain priced short menu which kept you in the store. Kids' meals were offered at very low prices, and things like babyfood and formula were also stocked. To make it more likely you'd stay in the store, microwaves for heating your own babyfood and milk were provided, too.

The offerings were limited and designed to appear exotic but really, the food made people happy. There was a side salad which was a mesclun mix, with dressing in little capped pottles on the side. And "manager's special" meatball plates, served with boiled red potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry jelly. There was chicken marsala, steamed veggies, salmon, fries, a soup like cream of broccoli, a few desserts, and that's about it. Few choices, quick line, cheap, and happy people.

Now, to get you into the store even earlier, there is the IKEA breakfast — for 99¢ you get scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, and sausage or bacon. For another $1, you can have two Swedish pancakes and coffee, too!

One of us insists of paying for breakfast when we meet up at an IKEA. She says it makes her feel like a "sugarmama" to pay for everyone's meals. She's a student, so that feeling doesn't come often when living on a very tight budget, and isn't it nice that IKEA dispenses nice stuff as well as nice feelings?

There are no variations or substitutions at breakfast. If you don't want the potatoes and prefer pancakes, you can't do that. But seriously, at $1.99, what are you complaining about? The potatoes and pancakes are both good, it's true. The eggs are "steamtabled" and kind of bouncy, but we know many people who like that. The sausage is a turkey variety so you aren't going to go to porcine purgatory if you eat it. In fact, we get the feeling the turkey sausage is offered for those who cannot eat pork, rather than any attempt at diet faddism.

The pancakes are made very thinly like a crêpe, and they are folded into quarters before they are stacked onto the hotel pan for service. They do go well with a dollop of lingonberry jelly, so be sure to get some. No, there isn't syrup.

We like the coffee at IKEA too. It's always good and they have that huge dispenser of "milk" or "half and half." We do like that there is a lack of choices for many things. Let's face it, Starbuck's is pricey because of all the choices you get. For less than half the price of a specialty coffee there, you can get a full breakfast at IKEA. We also like the way the cafeteria seating and plates and cutlery and everything are taken from the store. It's a way for IKEA to promote their products and it may give you ideas which result in additional purchases.

Breakfast is normally served from opening at 9am to about 11am. After that, you're stuck with the yummy meatballs instead. Mmmm ... An all-day forage at IKEA! (Don't laugh, we saw many families do this as a weekend outing — the kids get to run around in the big warehouse space, mom can sit on the display couches and wish her house was so tidy, and they get fed for 99¢ at breakfast. Good deal!)


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