Friday, July 04, 2014

IKEA Midsummer Smorgasbord

We attended another of Ikea's special one night only smorgasbord all you care to eat dinners. This one, the Midsummer Smorgasbord. Each of the special smorgasbord dinners that Ikea holds in their stores' restaurant is a celebration dinner much as would be served in Sweden for seasonal occasions and this one celebrates the summer solstice. These dinners are becoming more and more like parties with all of the activities that go on.

I have written about the music that has been added to these dinners. This dinner - we attended the dinner at Ikea's Long Island, New York store in Hicksville - had music, dancing, and a balloon man who was just incredible. I have seen many balloon men - they create animals out of long, thin balloons. This guy was the best I have ever seen. He was way beyond the bunny rabbits and puppies that you usually get. He was creating monkeys and an octopus that were actually lifelike.

These dinners used to sell out months in advance. This dinner and the dinner for Easter did not sell out and they were selling tickets at the door. The room eventually did fill but it started out rather sparse which for these dinners is unusual. You see many of the same people attending these dinners and many are of Swedish or Scandinavian descendent.

There was more served at this dinner than there has been at recent previous dinners and one big entree item had not been on the menu that had been distributed before the dinner. A very nicely cooked and very flavorful Roast Beef was added and carved at a table at the end of the two long buffet tables. There was also a great thin onion gravy served alongside the Roast Beef.

We always arrive early to get a particular table that gives a good view of the entertainment and is out of the way of the movement of the crowd. We were a little later than we usually are and when we arrived at about 6:30 pm - the dinner starts officially at 7:00 - the entrance to the restaurant had already been opened and we walked right in and went to "our" table. The way these dinners work is that when the buffet tables are open to come up to, an announcement is made and a single line is formed that leads to the two buffet serving tables filled with platters of food. At 6:45 people took it upon themselves to start forming a line. People who have been in here before were commenting on what was happening. The line started to get long and we, too, along with everyone else decided that we better get on the line. As we were on the line, the restaurant manager came past us and asked what was happening. He could not believe that people had done this either. He just shook his head. And rightly so. The line was not allowed to go up to the buffet tables until 7:00.

The first thing that I caught my eye as I got up to the food were large pieces of thick Prinskov sausages. These are usually small, thin sausages. The ones there on this night seemed to have been a rope sausage cut into pieces. I got up to the platter and took two pieces. It was a good thing that I did as the sausage was gone by the time we went up for our second plate. Remembering the Easter dinner and how the herring was gone by the time we went up for our second plate, I took more herring than I usually would. There were three types of herring at this dinner - for a long time there has only been two. I took some of each - herring in mustard sauce, marinated herring, and herring in wine sauce. I also took Gravad lax and Smoked Salmon. I took some shrimp salad - another dish I have not seen before - and some poached salmon. I decided that my next plate would be the meat dishes. Had I anticipated that there would be no more sausage then, I would have taken more of that - it is one of my favorites. All is excellent. This is an incredible value if you like salmon and herring. A single slice of smoked salmon on their restaurant menu served on a platter with salad usually costs $5.99. Here it was for all you care to eat! The herring sold in their store food department is no bargain. Here , again, is all you care to eat. And that is just the fish.

As I said, we went up for our second plate and this was going to be my meat course. The sausages were gone. The ham - shaved thin on a platter was almost gone - and I took the small amount that were remaining. At that point I had no idea that it would not be refilled. There is an earlier seating and it seems that at that seating what was on hand of these items went. There was still the marvelous Roast Beef and I took two large slices of that. I added some boiled dill potatoes to my plate and took some more of the poached salmon. As this is the summer dinner there is fresh fruit salad and tossed green salad. My wife had gotten to the ham before I did and she had ham and salad. As regular readers know, she is a picky eater and does not eat fish. There was cold shrimp in the shell but they are served here with their heads on and she will not eat shrimp that way.

By the third plate I was just picking and everything that was there for the second plate was still there except the ham - all of the herrings and all of the fish were out in abundance. I took some more herring and some more smoked salmon. I really should not have because I was stuffed as I finished this plate. I usually don't go that far. This is one of those buffets that, at least for me and others that I observed, is hard to resist taking more.

As people were nearing dessert, one of the employees was carrying a tray of ice cream cups - chocolate and vanilla around the dining room, stopping at each table and offering it.When he came by we were still on our second plate and did not take any. He did come around again, but there were some nice looking cakes out and we both decided to pass on the ice cream. There there three single layer frosted cakes out - chocolate, carrot, and banana. There was plain cake out to cover in whipped cream and fresh cut fruit that had an abundance of fresh strawberries. There was also small squared of chocolate truffle cake which was more like fudge than cake. The banana cake looked to me to be vanilla cake and I should have been suspicious that the frosting was yellow. I took a piece of that thinking it was vanilla - my mistake because I do not like the taste of bananas in any form. My good wife took it from my plate. I had a half piece of chocolate cake and a small piece of the plain cake. I also took one of the truffles that was interesting and good.

All of this costs $12.99 - OR $9.99 if you purchase your tickets and show an Ikea store discount card which are free at computer kiosks all over the store. Children are $4.99 - OR $2.49 with the same card. All is included - soda, etc. You eat and you go to a party with Swedish music, group dancing, singing, and balloon animals! I do not really know if the music is at all of the Ikea's for these dinners or just this one. The same goes for the balloon man. Talking with this manager, he goes out of his way to create a great time.

The next dinner like this is on August 15 and that dinner is all about Crayfish. Everything at that dinner has crayfish in it except the meatballs.