Let's face it. There are many reasons to love IKEA, and food is not one of them when you are a foodie. At the cafeteria, pre-made wraps and salads, plus desserts and a hot line
straight from the freezer, hardly equal fuel for a day of combing through 293,000 square feet of showroom and marketplace. Don't get us started on the cookware section desperate for a consultation with Marcus Samuelsson.
But when making the haul to spruce a dorm, home or apartment with budget Scandinavian style, hunger
inevitably sets in. What to do? Timing is everything, and August is crayfish season in Sweden.
"In Sweden they go on vacation in July and come back to celebrate crayfish at this time," explains
Manfred Gayhler, food manager, on how IKEA's annual Crayfish Party got its start as a corporate initiative last year.
The crustaceans, shipped frozen from the mother country, will hit boiling vats of water locally on Friday, August 21, at IKEA
Sunrise. The restaurant will
shut down regular service at 5 p.m. to unveil an all-you-can-eat buffet, accompanied by the
traditional cheese and crackers. Gayhler, himself a Dutchman, says soda is part of the deal, but aquavit will be sold separately. We're not talking Sammuelson's, but the 40 pecent alcohol by volume "water of life" is a nice touch, nonetheless.
Space is limited, and tickets, at $9.99 each, must be
purchased in advance at the store on the 1st floor Swedish foods market. While you're there, ease the pain of lack of online ticketing by gobbling down IKEA's meatballs. Fresh-from-Mom's-kitchen they are not, but a friend from the
land of quaint cottages and tongue calisthenics claims they are the real
deal, in a fun food court novelty kind of way. $4.99 gets you a plate
any day with cranberry red lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes.
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