ikea’s swedish meatballs … now with veggies

What did you do over the Labor Day weekend? I went to Ikea. Woot! Oy! Conflicting emotions there. As always.

I moved into my new place last week (yay!), which meant I needed to buy stuff. I didn’t need as much stuff as I ended up buying, but some of it was needed. Well … ‘need’ is debatable. But what is undeniable is that Ikea has Swedish meatballs and I am a fan. Are they good? Eh. Are they cheap? Yes. Are they consistently the same worldwide? Close enough. Do I get Swedish meatballs each and every trip to Ikea? Oh heck yes. That is, if the line’s not too crazy long.

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And ya know what? Now they’re nutritious! The meatballs are likely the same as before, but an order of Swedish meatballs now comes with vegetables. VEGETABLES! I have no idea when this became a thing, but I’m not a fan. What the heck is that green, yellow, and orange doing on my plate? Mon dieu! They’re cluttering the plate! So now, because I feel bad wasting food, I get guilted into eating vegetables when all I really want are the Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. Argh. Good thing Ikea also offers desserts, because chocolate cake is the perfect thing to wash down those bland veggies!

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dear ikea, I hate you

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Ikea. The value! The range! The actually decent quality and design! But then there’s the crowds! The ridiculously long path! And today, the lack of things in stock!

It’s been a long few weeks. I’m exhausted and overwhelmed with work, but the other night I decided to stop by Ikea after work to pick up a few things. It’s pretty out of my way, but I’m swamped with stuff most evenings and weekends and I always overestimate how much I’m going to enjoy an Ikea trip. It was supposed to be a quick trip, so I decided to enter through the checkouts and loop around the marketplace in order to avoid the showroom. I wanted to pick up four things. Three were out of stock. Argh. I was so frustrated at that point I just said “screw it” and dropped my yellow bag with one item in a corner.

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Then I did what any normal person would do in such an unfortunate situation. I got myself some consolation Swedish meatballs at the restaurant. And the meatballs were overcooked. Sigh. Seriously, Ikea? Seriously?! Right now I hate you, Ikea. Not ready to forgive you yet.

ikea in shanghai

After an English tutoring session, I took a little shopping trip to the wondrous place that is Ikea. Other than the Chinese people wandering about, it was a standard Ikea that could’ve been anywhere. Oh, and I used my new phone (Xiaomi 2S) to take the photos, hence the weird aspect ratio … I think I’ll go back to using my point-and-shoot.

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Shanghai has three Ikea locations, and I went to the Shanghai Baoshan one, which is a short walk from the Dachang Town station on line 7. It was easy to spot the big blue box with the bright yellow Ikea sign, but this one’s interior circulation was more annoying than usual because you had to take a series of escalators up to the 4th floor for the showroom, then work your way down to the 1st floor for checkout, and not all elevators went to all floors, and they had these really annoying ramp escalators. Ugh.

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The Swedish meatballs were fairly standard, but I’ve definitely had better at other Ikea locations. The little Swedish flag makes me happy, but the mashed potatoes tasted off and they gave me such a small portion of lingonberry jam – sad!

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At the end of the day, I was just so happy to get out of there. Every time I visit an Ikea, I always expect it’s going to be an amazing experience where I get so much cheap and glorious stuff. And every time I leave an Ikea, I always end up stuffed on Swedish meatballs, exhausted by the circuitous walking path, and exasperated that Ikea has fooled me once again. This time was no different. But alas, I got what I needed and have no reason to return any time soon.

buying chinese

Today was kind of sucky. I planned to check out the Xujiahui Cathedral this afternoon, which, after a whole lot of wandering, did not happen. I have no idea how I could have missed it, but after half an hour of walking up and down the same roads (after half an hour of walking to the area), I gave up. Before the cathedral, I was on Panyu Lu, looking to see if I could find the mirrors of the mirror war (described here) but no luck on that either. Very frustrating. Oh, and did I mention that it started SNOWING while I was walking? Yeah. Thankfully not too cold. Stopped by a little park, which was nice.

By that point in time, my feet were killing me. So I did what I normally do when I’m kind of stressed out. I bought stuff. Went to Ikea. Didn’t buy much, just some candles and containers. Had some meatballs and tiramisu too … their tiramisu ain’t good. Whatever. Meatballs (Swedish) and tiramisu (Italian) at Ikea (Swedish) in China. Heh.

Now to explain the title of this post (and the picture below). Went to the grocery store. They were out of Nutella (Italian), but there was this jar labeled “Hazelnut Chocolate Spread.” Well, that’s essentially the same, right? Except it’s a Chinese brand. Hm …. Then looked for some peanut butter. Skippy (American). Hey, that works. Except the packaging was Chinese. Hm …. Oh well, bought ’em both. Then went to the local fruit stand. Picked up some oranges, picked up some grapes. Then they got rung up. Oranges: 4.3 RMB. Grapes: 34.6 RMB. Wait, what? I really wanted grapes so I just bought ’em. Looked closer at the sign. Oranges were local, grapes imported from the US. Yep, I need to pay more attention to signs.

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updates

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

  • I’ll jump on the bandwagon and say that I do not like LeBron James. Miami was a smart move, the ESPN event was not.
  • No more architecture interning! Over two weeks I only ever spoke to five people and never saw the boss. And they barely looked at the precedents I spent DAYS researching. Not worth the trouble.
  • Went to the theater and watched “Toy Story 3.” Saw it in 3D, but also in Chinese. Er … entertaining, but dialogue would’ve been nice.
  • Even nice restaurants use Ikea glasses. And play Sarah Brightman. I’m also slightly disappointed in myself that I recognized the Sarah Brightman.
  • My Chinese class starts on Monday.
  • Tudou.com is AMAZING. It’s basically the Chinese version of YouTube, but it also has full television programs and films.
  • Tortillas are not to be found in this city. I don’t know if I can survive.

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Building with the spire is the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, formerly known as the Sino-Soviet Friendship Building.

not chinese

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

Went to Ikea for the first time ever. Despite all my many plans to visit the one in Round Rock, I never actually went. So yeah, it took a trip to the other side of the planet to get me to an Ikea. Just bought myself a little table for my laptop and a small shelf. Outside of the store there was a line of taxis waiting like at an airport. Weird. On the one hand I miss driving around, but on the other hand, traffic in Shanghai is a scary mess.

There was also a trip to KFC, and goodness gracious, it ain’t the same. Oh no. If there’s no mashed potatoes and gravy or cole slaw, it just ain’t KFC. Shame, none of those delicious biscuits here either. Nope, but rice and soup are available. And their chicken sandwiches use dark meat instead of the standard white meat. Weird. I miss artery-clogging food. I’d probably kill for biscuits and gravy right now.

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shopping trip

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

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I bought a new table! It’s originally from Ikea, but I bought it off CraigsList for a mere $13. Superb. So, from now on my pictures are probably going to look a lot prettier with the white tabletop as the background instead of my nasty carpet. And I’ll have a dedicated workspace for crafting (no more floor, yay!) Hopefully now my back and neck won’t hurt so much.

This morning I woke up early (around 10 AM) and went garage sale-ing. There were a few things that caught my eye, but nothing enough to tempt me to buy. Since I was in the area I stopped by Dollar Tree (a different one than last weekend) and picked up some cheap dollar goodness. I’m lucky, right? I have two Dollar Trees to choose from, and though they have a lot of the same stuff, they do have some unique things. Afterwards I drove a few streets over to Goodwill and picked up a few more things. I took two pictures (the second after I had cleaned things up and added some mood lighting … lol). Oh, and my memory card reader worked again! What a fickle thing.

from Dollar Tree:

  • green car wash mitt ($1)
  • woven basket ($1)
  • orange votive candle holders ($1)

from Goodwill:

  • wooden square frame ($1)
  • green square glass container ($2)

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The basket went to the kitchen to hold my potatoes. Hm … those potatoes don’t look so great, I wonder how long I’ve had them. Guess I’m going to be cooking potatoes tomorrow. Today was so productive! I got home around 2 PM and then I did laundry, vacuumed the apartment, and took out the trash. Tonight I’m going to start my homework due Monday and prepare for my interview on Monday (my second official interview – wish me luck) and tomorrow morning my roommate S and I are going grocery shopping. Whew, what a weekend!