I have a new favorite hangout in Utrecht. I-K-E-A!
Coming from an Ikea-less country, I was absolutely dumbfounded when I first stepped into the hollow halls of Ikea, cute kitschy furniture, useful, colorful home implements and super cheap, savory meals! What more could I ask for?
I’ve long dreamt of a modern, minimalist pad and Ikea houses the ingredients to that dream! I was gasping left and right through all the displays, and holding my breath everytime I peeked at the price tag. It was unbelievable! Things could really be this cheap in Europe?! Pardon my over-excitement. No ikea in Manila, please understand.
Just this week, I went to Ikea twice. Well, aside from things to jazz up my room, I came there for the food! Whereelse in Utrecht can you find a satisfying hot meal for 5 euros?! Swedish meatballs, salmon, beefsteak or fishsticks, take your pick! The Ikea restaurant is always packed. I am not even surprised. If it was nearer my home, I’d be there everyday.
Oh and did I tell you that they have a small Swedish grocer? This is where you can buy almost everything they serve at the restaurant. I quickly fell in love with the famous Swedish meatballs that I had to take it home. You can find a bag of shrimps for 4 euros and 4 salmon steaks for 7 euros. Super cheap for food that I seriously craved for! I was so happy!
So, what did we do as soon as we reached home from Ikea? COOK!
We had a feast, thanks to our Ikea goodies. As soon as the sun went down on Utrecht…At 9 p.m!
It was time to eat…
Here is the famed meatball dish.. All the ingredients were available in Ikea. The meatballs were oven baked to perfection and smothered with a delicious gravy and topped with cranberry jam. Sounds weird huh, but absolutely yummy! I’m hooked!
This pasta dish was inspired by a recipe I found from one of my favorite food blogs Marketmanila. Since we had shrimp, which I haven’t eaten in ages, and these super adorable reindeer shaped pasta (look closely, they are really shaped like reindeer!) I mixed them with fusilli and an oil based sauce with cherry tomatoes, basil, arugula and parmesan cheese. Success!
I also tried a recipe for my salmon steak with a miso-orange glaze, with a side dish of pak choi (I think this is our local pechay) and pineapple cooked with teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Super great!
I had such a great time shopping in Ikea. I’m sure to return there soon. Whether my intention is to lust for more goodlooking furniture, eat lunch or shop for Swedish foodie goodies, it’s a Disneyland-like destination for the budget conscious student!