Memphis just got an IKEA! It opened about a week before Christmas, but I didn't make it over there until this past Monday. My friend Susan suggested we check it out then since we were both off work for the holiday. We knew the place would be packed since EVERYBODY was off, but we went in fully prepared to be there for several hours. You don't just make a quick trip into IKEA. It's an experience, right?
We spent a good deal of time browsing in the showrooms, imagining how much cooler our own homes could look if we just tossed out everything we had and started over with IKEA furniture and accessories. And then, about an hour into our experience, we found ourselves at the cafe in the center of the store. We'd heard they had vegan Swedish meatballs, and we were both very excited to try them (Susan is a vegetarian). The food line was massive, and it took about 30 minutes to get to the counter. But once there, the service was cafeteria style and went quickly.
As we waited in line, we passed a cooler of Swedish drink boxes. I went with the Dryck Flader elderflower drink. It was quite refreshing and only lightly floral and slightly sweet. The other one in this pic is lingonberry.
We also passed a grab-your-own salad case where they had the IKEA Harvest Salad — some with chicken and some without. Obviously, I grabbed a vegan one. It was a simple salad with mixed greens, cherry tomato, walnuts, and dried cranberries. I picked up a packet of Newman's Own Lite Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette to dress it.
Finally, we approached the counter, where we were greeted by this glowing sign.
The Vegetable Balls plate comes with lentil ragout and a vegetable pilaf. Everything was fantastic! The balls were loaded with veggies and very flavorful. The lentils were warm and hearty and tomato-y. The pilaf was flecked with chewy grains (wheat berries?), zucchini, green onions, and red bell pepper.
We loved the balls so much that we each grabbed bags of the frozen vegetable balls from the adjoining Swedish food market. I also picked up a jar of IKEA's lingonberry jam so I can make the traditional Swedish meatball dish at home. We noticed that lots of IKEA's food products in the grocery area were vegan — the IKEA cookies, the crispbreads, jams, mustards, even some of the gummy candies.
I don't know how often I'll make it out to the magical land of IKEA, but I'm glad to know it's there. I'll most certainly be hitting them up next time I need furniture. I can't really buy nice, expensive things since my animals destroy everything. But IKEA is perfect for fur mamas who need more disposable furniture.