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IKEA, a recent visit to their marketplace

  • h

It's been some time since I've stopped by an IKEA. The last few CH threads focused on the IKEA Swedish market were less than favorable and some downright disappointing. But since I was there to pick up a few kitchen essentials at outstandingly low prices, I popped into their marketplace at checkout to see what's happening there.

I left with $72.00 worth of food stuffs! Let's see, a few tins of thin gingerbread cookies, several bags of black licorice (sweet & salty), frozen crepes, frozen cardamom bread dough, a few bags of Swedish meatballs, a few jars of apple jelly, apple cake, vanilla sauce, salmon lasagna, frozen cinnamon roll dough, 3 pieces of salmon filets, a few bars of chocolate, chocolate-almond candies and a couple of bottles of Lingonberry or Elderflower concentrate. I also popped over to their cafe and enjoy a mushroom/cheese crepe for lunch.

I had a ball!

Anyone been to an IKEA lately?

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  1. Funny, but I was going to stop by the only one on Long Island Friday, then I got lost going from A to B and ran out of time before a dinner appointment. I did finally see the building and parking lot though, if that counts!

    I have been trying to get there for years, but it's about an hour from home, plus the traffic getting there is horrendous.....but soon. Very soon. If just to check out the café.

    13 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Nearly all of the IKEA's I've been to in the US and in Europe are in odd locations. The one I stopped into in NJ is off the Turnpike, offers 3.5% tax to attract shoppers and takes about 25 mins from my place but it's in an industrial park off the airport. Once you are inside IKEA you're transported :) and could be 'anywhere' on the planet!

      I had a fun time. So if you do get to go to a location near you, please share your experience here.

      1. re: HillJ

        Ours is right next(almost attached) to one of the big shopping malls here, and not too far from an even bigger shopping mecca area, so it's just crazy. No way you could just pop in on a whim. But I do have something I might be checking out in the area soon, this time I will make it a priority and not an afterthought.

        1. re: coll

          I may re-visit because a number of these food items would make a super easy to put together gift basket...add a few non food kitch essentials from some of the other dept areas...oh, I could knock out a few holiday gifts in an hour!

          1. re: coll

            I think that's part of their business model, kind of like casino designers in Vegas, make it such a trek and a pain to get in and out that you just stay and spend more money than you planned.

            1. re: hill food

              I'll let you know how it goes, once I finally get there!

          2. re: HillJ

            HillJ, do you mean Elizabeth, NJ? I have fond memories of watching the planes take off when I was a young'un. :-)

            There's also one quite close by in Paramus.

            1. re: ohmyyum

              Yes, Elizabeth. Paramus is an unnecessary haul from my place but Eliz. is 25 mins. The planes fly low enough over that part of the NJ Turnpike to distract me!

              1. re: HillJ

                We drive two hours one way to our nearest Ikea. Granted, we don't just go for food :) Also have great Chinese food en route with former CH Alan Barnes.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Fun! As you can see I went for the 3 piece SS with lid pots but came out with $70 plus worth of food stuffs, lunch and reasons to return. It had been so long since I had visited IKEA, I was a bit swept off my feet.

            2. re: HillJ

              The Ikea in Connecticut couldn't be more convenient. It is located at the intersection of two Interstate highways (I-95 and I-91) and is about 30 seconds off of the exit.

              1. re: mels

                Sure, the NJ Turnpike is a major highway heading into NYC. I didn't mean it was inconvenient or hard to travel to, it's 25 mins from my place w/no traffic, I meant IKEA locations are typically situated in industrial areas. The site in Elizabeth/NJ sits outside a major airport and industrial park.

                1. re: mels

                  The one in Burbank (one of 3 LA-area Ikeas) is right off a major freeway, near another, and in a giant shopping center district with Sears, Macy's, Old Navy, Best Buy, movie theaters, etc.

                  1. re: Savour

                    Yeah, I've been to the IKEA in Burbank twice actually. In Philadelphia were my son graduated college the IKEA is in a large industrial park area at the end of a very long highway.

            3. Almost makes the drive to Orlando worthwhile.

              Good score.

              1 Reply
              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                It was (a good score, thanks). Funny thing was I went to buy a 3-set of SS pots with lids for $10.00...and left with ...well they had me at 'hello'

              2. woo..how is the cardamon bread? sounds delicious.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Monica

                  All I've done so far is smell it :) and the fragrance was enough for me to buy two loaves. I'm going to make one this weekend and I'll report back.

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Please do. It sounds sublime. Our nearest IKEA is 7 hours away in Denver. The likelihood of getting one in Albuquerque is not good. Just not enough people here. I love their line, but they do little mail order. We managed to purchase our new kitchen faucet by mail order but not much else. I've been to that Elizabeth, NJ store several times. Waaaaaah!

                    1. re: sandiasingh

                      I didn't think IKEA did any food via mail order..or did you mean just non food items?

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Yes, I don't think they do any food items by mail order.

                  2. re: Monica

                    Monica, I'm so sorry but I didn't buy cardamom bread dough after all, it's saffron bread dough!! I had cardamom on the brain because I had just returned from Little India the day I started this thread, geez!

                    Well, the saffron bread is delicious!

                    1. re: HillJ

                      The saffron bread is traditional around the christmas season

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        And will be @ my place from now on. I hit IKEA on my way back from NYC today and picked up a bunch of new items and more crepes, saffron bread, jelly, concentrate and paper goods. I had a ball.

                  3. I went last week. I usually buy some teeth-breaking crackers, lingonberry jam and some surprisingly decent gravlax-style smoked salmon on the cheap. The thing I always have to get, though, is the herring, in jars in the refrigerated section. I like the mustard sauce. They used to have the delightfully-named "ABBA" brand; now they have another that tastes as good but not so great on the herring/sauce ratio.

                    The lingonberry jam is classic on Swedish pancakes of course but also goes well with wild game/venison meats.

                    28 Replies
                    1. re: BobtheBigPig

                      Oh you had me smiling over those teeth-breaking crackers, I avoid those now at the suggestion of my dentist (but those and a few others IKEA sells have been tasty). I've tried the mustard sauce before and felt my own was better. I'm not a fan of herring but I saw customers buying plenty of the herring while I was there.

                      While I didn't buy any myself, I noticed a number of different cheeses for sale that were new items (for me anyway). Might consider trying next time.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Yes I saw the cheeses too. Pretty sure this is a new thing for Ikea. There are a lot of great places to get cheese around here, so I decided to pass this time. Sometimes I'll have a plate of meatballs while I'm there. Maybe not the best I've ever eaten, but the best I've eaten seated next to a palette of desks named "Dork."

                        1. re: BobtheBigPig

                          You do know the meatballs in the European stores were horse meat, right? Just saying . . . . . .

                          1. re: sandiasingh

                            To be clear, the meatballs in the US are a beef/pork mix.

                            1. re: sandiasingh

                              because the supplier lied about what was in the product they were supplying -- not Ikea's fault, and it gave a black eye to every food retailer in Europe.

                              There's also nothing wrong with horsemeat...millions of Europeans eat it every day.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Yep, but I'd like to make that choice myself.

                                1. re: sandiasingh

                                  so did the consumers in Europe. I was living in France at the time, and the case fascinated me from all angles -- the reaction of the consumers, the breaking of the stories as the fraud became apparent, and the recalls and apologies from the frozen-food companies and grocery chains. I read every article I could find in French and English -- it was a far more complex issue than was reported here in the US.

                                  This was not a case of the retailers stuffing mystery meat down the consumers' throats...when the authorities started to investigate, they found properly-labeled horsemeat being delivered to the processing plant in France, but everything leaving that plant was labeled beef.

                                  Nobody won...the retailers didn't do it intentionally, but they took millions of euros of product off the shelves, and recalled millions more. The retailers ended up bearing the brunt of it, because Spanghero (the processor) conveniently went belly-up.

                                  The plant is now open and operating under another name and under intense scrutiny - the only reason I didn't support shutting the plant down was that it was 125 jobs at the only employer in town....and the folks out on the floor weren't to blame, either. It was strictly a paper maneuver from the front office, and several of the guilty parties have already received jail sentences.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    That's interesting. I recall the headlines that ran but I didn't follow the story in any detail.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Thanks for giving a fuller explanation.

                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                    Raw horsemeat (ba-sashi or "sakura") is a delicacy in Japan.

                            2. re: BobtheBigPig

                              lingonberry jam is classic on Swedish pancakes
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                              so true! I bought the Swedish pancakes this time but opted for the lingonberry concentrate over the jarred jam this time because I thought I would add the concentrate to the pan I'm heating the pancakes in and see what happens.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                My husband eats lingonberry jam with roasted chicken.

                                1. re: Monica

                                  I'm going to give that a try, nice change from cranberry sauce.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    The lingonberry jam goes with just about anything... it's not sickly sweet. We trundle over to Ikea a few time a year to stock up on it and the cheap chocolate.

                                2. re: HillJ

                                  A year or so ago a friend, whose heritage is Swedish, asked me to bring him four jars of the jam!

                                  We're heading to the Bay Area and are 'buying and building' our kids an Ikea kitchen. Gotta check out that gravlax.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Oh I've had the lingonberry jam and the concentrate they are selling now is also very good. I've just never enjoyed it with chicken (as Monica suggested)...but I will! Kaj is correct when stating it goes with everything! The salmon is delicious.

                                    As for IKEA kitchen models, there wasn't one layout on display that didn't have some element I liked. Those displays really do a great job of inspiring buyers. I wanted to move into one of the living room setups :)

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      We've done two Ikea kitchens in the last eight years. They're real workhorses. And look great also. HIGHLY recommend.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Good to know! I was eyeing a new faucet while I was there.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          If you wish, email me and I can give you more info. I'm such a fan.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            If I ever have reason to redesign with IKEA, I'll def. reach out to you. Thanks!

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              Even our bathroom has their cabinets and faucets!

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Wow, you are a fan! I saw a few white bathroom cabinets, raised off the floor that aren't that diff from what I have now...for considerably less money too.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  That's what we have! Love 'em. HUGE fan :)

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    me, too -- had an Ikea kitchen in our house in France and loved it enough that Ikea is the top (and nearly only) contender to replace the tired, dated kitchen in this house.

                                                    We're actively discussing that we like the Ikea cabinets, the price is good....so why jump through the hoops of getting quotes from anywhere else?

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      You KNOW I agree!!! As I said, we have two of them. I know that had I had a single doubt about them, I wouldn't have built another one. We could fly in and help build :)

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Careful what you offer to commit yourself to do! :)

                                                        We'd probably have to put it to a full test....then go harass Veggo.

                                  2. re: HillJ

                                    I use Ikea's ligonberry jam in my Ischl Tarts.

                                  3. re: BobtheBigPig

                                    We love herring but I thought the Ikea's versions had way too much sauce and way too salty...I am a big fan of Acme pickled herrings from Costco..yumm...i can eat the whole jar in one sitting.

                                  4. Ok since we all know I'm a little slow, you are telling me that Ikea is now selling food and produce? Prepare at home stuff?

                                    I know Ikea had a very elaborate cafeteria or dining area and that is what I was assuming most of these topics have been regarding.

                                    I'm not a good judge of prices so are you indicating you feel you got an exceptional value for your $72. spent, or are you just illustrating how much you unexpected purchased?

                                    This is interesting......do they include their own unique cooking tools with their food? An octagon whisk?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      jr, IKEA has a Swedish food market, a cafe where they prepare and sell the food stuffs sold in their food market and a smaller cafe near the exit where you can buy things like a $1.00 ice cream cone, hot dog or cinnamon bun. They sell Swedish food stuffs, no produce. Which includes a number of frozen items, refrigerated staples and dry goods. I bought a boatload of food, plus my lunch at the cafe, and a 3 SS pot set (which is why I went) for $72.00. My purchase was a good value. The salmon alone was a deal. 3.5% sales tax as it applies. Coupons at check out. Free parking. 25 min from home. Fun morning out.

                                      I'm surprised you've never been there.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        HillJ, oh I have been to IKEA plenty of times, just not much in recent years. I've actually eaten in their cafeteria (that's how I would explain it) just because it was so extensive and a bit of a novelty for a furniture store. lol

                                        I just never noticed their selling frozen or take home food. Is that new or was that there the entire time and I was just oblivious to it? (Got me thinking I should take a trip there, I've been "updating" some rooms in the home, could get some good idea's there)

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          There the entire time. The food market is behind the main check out area. You either get back in line to pay for food stuffs or you go to the super small line at their mini cafe. But if you've walked straight through the entire store to the main exit (and not backtracked) you've already passed it.

                                          I hadn't been in some time myself and was very surprised by the deals store wide.

                                        2. re: HillJ

                                          I thought their $1 ice cream cone was horrible...so waterly...and sweet.

                                          1. re: Monica

                                            Just dull. No real flavor of any kind. The cinnamon buns, premade I felt the same way about, meh. But they all sell like hotcakes!

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              The cinnamon buns smell so wonderful! The flavor is nowhere as good as the aroma. I no longer succumb.