Category Archives: Europe

Wooden Shoe Cafe

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Sometimes you don’t want mimosas and oeufs cocottes for breakfast. You just want hearty food, full flavours and lots and lots of coffee. If that’s the case, you want to go to the Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe. Started by the DeDutch people it is the same idea but more casual, more interesting and frankly just better.

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Their specialty is still pannekoeken,large pancakes with sweet or savoury filler or toppings and at the Wooden Shoe they have 34 kinds of specialty pannekoeks ranging from Indonesian-inspired Nasi Goreng to traditional Dutch Boeren (farmer’s) or chocolate and fruit, plus any variety of DIY.

My favorites seem to be the savoury ones. Curry has been repeated many times, as well as speck and anything with Hollandaise.

It’s a homey place. Coffee comes in endless rounds, served in familiar Far Side and Christmas mugs. The walls are decorated with all kinds of ephemera collected over the years – wooden shoes, beer mugs, reminders that diners over 80 get free pannekoeks on Saturdays and many photos of happy customers. It’s a good way to start the day.

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Wooden Shoe Cafe
3292 Cambie Street Vancouver

IKEA

Vancouver World Tour > Europe > Sweden

In all the times I’ve been to IKEA I can’t say I haven’t succumbed to the cinnamon buns – placed near the door smelling heavenly, like a reward for making it through the furniture maze – but I’ve never eaten in the cafeteria. There are various reasons for this but a couple of weeks ago, faced with a monstrous shopping list and an empty stomach, I decided to eat in.

Let me say before I get any further into this blog post that despite having Swedish names on everything, I was not expecting authentic Swedish cuisine from IKEA. Wikipedia describes the fare as:

in the north, meats such as reindeer, and other (semi-) game dishes were eaten, some of which have their roots in the Sami culture, while fresh vegetables have played a larger role in the South. Many traditional dishes employ simple, contrasting flavours; such as the traditional dish of hearty meatballs and gravy with tart, pungent lingonberry jam (slightly similar in taste to cranberry sauce).

But there are scant few Swedish restaurants in Vancouver and I’ve heard good things about the IKEA cafeteria so there you go.

Making my way up past the ball room and through the office furnishings, I was dismayed to note that there was a line up and also that it smelled like the dining hall at an old folks’ home. I have a horror of packaged, frozen food, so this didn’t bode well, even though the dining area was full of obvious regulars – students doing crosswords and women knitting, etc.

There are several items on offer, smoked salmon gravlax, Swedish meatballs, pasta, soup and some sweet treats. We’ve still got lots of smoked salmon at home so I ordered the meatballs (which come with an ice cream scoop of mashed potatoes, gravy, lingonberry jam and a sprig of parsley), some vegetable potato cakes, a fizzy pear drink and some lingonberry juice.

It was surprisingly alright, and cheap. And you can buy all the components to take home with you as well. I doubt I’ll go back because I get to Richmond so rarely I’d rather eat in Aberdeen Centre or Parker Place food court and I don’t generally like to linger in IKEA, but I don’t regret stopping in and I can see the appeal for many patrons.

Next up, I want to try Halso Konditori Swedish Bakery Cafe.

IKEA is in Richmond or Coquitlam. If you can’t find it by following the giant blue and yellow signs then I can’t help you.