I had the dubious treat of eating breakfast at IKEA yesterday. Now, those of you who have heard of IKEA will think, "What? IKEA is a hip, trendy, cutting edge, contemporary Swedish Conceptual Full-Immersion Furniture Shopping Experience. Where does breakfast enter into that scenario?"
All I can tell you is that it does. Somehow. The Sacramento IKEA has a full-immersion, cutting edge, hip, trendy, conceptual restaurant, along the lines of the old automats from the 50's. Think School Cafeteria meets George Jetson and you've just about got the design concept.
Think McDonalds meets B&S Truck Stop on Old Route 3 and you've got the food quality concept.
Except that the B&S Truck Stop would have scorned using reconstituted yolk powder. They used those old fashioned things called EGGS instead.
Oh, Sure, The IKEA restaurant is neat and upscale with space-age doctor's office waiting room tables and chairs, and a lovely view of the Huge Parking Lot and the Mega-Wal-Mart being built next door, but somehow that just doesn't compensate for the fact that you are eating steam table food that was first soaked for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time in bacon-tinted axle grease and then left to cool and coagulate until the molecular structure of the food has somehow taken on a new, hip, trendy, cutting edge level of rancidity.
It was either that or the high octane sludge with the little gritty bits of grounds floating in it that passed for coffee that sent my stomach into a very cutting edge case of Delhi Belly for the rest of the day.
Breakfast should never be eaten at room temperature no matter how climate-controlled the room!
As we were leaving the food area, one of the nice waitress ladies reminded us that tomorrow the breakfast is free. Not even for free would I again subject myself to that kind of lard laced lanquidity.
But it wasn't all bad! IKEA itself is an amazing maze of very fun, cool and hip stuff that you really think you can't live without. Just a few moments stroll through the pathway in the showroom and you are determined to throw out every stick of antique, mission style, Victorian, Shaker, Ethan Allen furniture you own and replace it with sleek laminate and leather sofas with no backs on them. You will want to yank out your kitchen and remodel it with stainless steel from wall to wall, and have your utensils stored on a giant industrial metal cart on oversized roller wheels.
You will even want to run out and join the resistance movement to smuggle deprived Swedish War Orphans into the country so you can adopt some and have an excuse to buy a room full of IKEA KIDS furniture. Those miniature beds! Those wee little play kitchens all made of stainless steel ! With industrial kitchen carts on roller wheels! Filled with darling IKEA KIDS pots and pans! The fully conceptualized Tot-to-Teen convertable furniture! I want it ALL.
But the kicker for me, the one thing that totally sold me forever on being in love with IKEA in spite of the food, was the little area called 592 SQUARE FEET. You pop your head into this little showroom to find yourself in a completely furnished, perfect little 2 bedroom one bathroom home with a full kitchen, dining room, living room and entertainment center, all of it taking up no more than 592 square feet!
Barely an imprint in the sand! It was the most wonderful space I've ever seen and Patrick and I sat down on the sofas a while just to enjoy it. Until of course the fact that IKEA sofas are more like Freudian Analysis couches made of tufted dark brown leather on stainless steel legs rather than traditional sofas that have a BACK on them, and we got tired of sitting upright and/or lounging on one elbow and moved on.
I don't know how IKEA can make 592 square feet feel like a spacious, desirable, must-have, full-immersion, hip, trendy living environment, but they do. And seeing such a small amount of space made so liveable helped reconcile me to moving back to Indiana where they are no stranger to the concept of living in 592 square feet of total living space. It's just that back there, they call it a HOUSE TRAILER.
For further amusement, and more insight into the world of IKEA, check out this archived link from the NonExpert. He writes a 'gamer's walkthrough' of the IKEA experience that tickles me each time I read it.
The Non-Expert IKEA