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E for All 2008: Review of Foodstuffs and Drinkthings

You can’t take it with you, but you can still purchase most of the items found at E for All after the fact. The real question is: do you want to? You already have enough Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick in Chocolate Chip flavor to last you ’til Doomsday. Just in case you need a change of pace, here’s a look at two of the only edible items at the expo (besides that 360 someone took a bite out of): Gamer Grub and Mana Energy Potion.

Gamer Grub: “Boost Your Brain”

Gamer Grub had great potential, as it was handed out in abundant, never-ending free sample form, perfect for those of us who are broke from miscalculated cockfights. There are four flavors available: Action Pizza, Strategy Chocolate, Racing Wasabi, and Sports PB&J. Kyle, Joey and myself each chose one, leaving Racing Wasabi to reconsider its place in the world of potentially delicious food-snacks.

Thoughts: Joey on Action Pizza: “Action Pizza: Usually I’m skeptical of seasoning that is meant to capture the flavor of an entire dish. I mean sure, Nacho Cheese Flavor makes sense, but I doubt the accuracy of French Consomme-flavored things. Luckily, I make a huge exception for Pizza-flavored things. If you’re a fan of Pizza-licious Pringles (if you’re not, you should reevaluate your lifestyle), Action Pizza should please you. Addendum: Though tasty, I question the snack’s ability to introduce more action into my life. Probably a good thing since I can’t stand cheesy dialogue and mediocre plots.”

Kyle on Sports PB&J: “Eating Sports PB&J is a little like hitting a strip club with Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones. You know it’s a bad idea, and utterly demeaning to everyone involved, but it doesn’t feel quite as bad as it sounds once you’re there (until the shooting begins). The list of ingredients is about as lazy as they come – ‘Peanuts, Peanut Butter Chips, Strawberry Jelly Chips, Bread Cubes’ – but it’s actually not bad. Just think of it as extreme trail mix that you can slam back to celebrate stuffing your best friend’s weak-ass fake punt on 4th and 1 in the Maroon Zone.”

Jillian on Strategy Chocolate: “I always wanted salt on my chocolate before, but was afraid to take that final step into definite death by hypertension. Now that Gamer Grub has done it for me, I have no choice but to obey. It was the saltiest chocolate I’ve ever had, and thus, the most delicious. Please send flowers and more Strategy Chocolate to Good Samaritan Hospital, care of...”

Claudia snagged an entire pack of Racing Wasabi, and her review will arrive once she is done shaving her tongue.

The grub is actually, though, surprisingly good—if you like random assortments of flavored salt. And all varieties come ripe with almonds—a big yuck for me, but apparently a yea for most of the free, nut-loving world. Additionally, the almond-to-everything-else ratio is surprisingly high, leaving Gamer Grub open to endorsement by Larry David.

Most disturbingly awesome fact about Gamer Grub? It comes in a canister, and is meant to be downed drink-style, fisted and chugged like so much liquefied awesome. Great for the gamer who doesn’t like to dirty his hands while slaying mendicants. Not so great for anyone who finds chugging salty snacks to be self-decimating. (Read: everyone with a shred of dignity.)

Mana Energy Potion: “Less Filling, More Killing”

The idea of Mana Energy Potion is just ridiculous enough to be intriguing, but not enough to make the exchange of $3 for a palm-sized bottle less than excruciating. Unlike Gamer Grub, there is only one flavor (though the glowing display lights beneath the bottles tricked numerous expo-ers into thinking otherwise). Okay, that’s not entirely true. Each bottle has multiple flavors, the most prominent one being “disappointment.”

It starts off sour, with a puckery punch—definitely a pleasant surprise. About two seconds after this initial treat, however, comes the ugly truth: no longer sour, the “potion” becomes a strange combination of tree frog sweat and battery acid, just in time for the flavor to spread throughout your mouth and cling. And I mean cling. I caught a few drops on my finger, wiped them away, and still smelled like mana-finger at the end of the night.

Additionally, Gamer Grub’s salt fortress and Mana Energy Potion’s wall of liquid death were right next to each other, obviously in cahoots. Parched from all that Racing Wasabi you chugged? No worries, have a Mana Potion! Oh, your mouth is now a biohazardous wastleand? Head back over to Gamer Grub, they’ll get that radiation taste out of there! Why, you’re thirsty again? These lovely potion wenches can fix you up...

And so, despite Action Pizza and Strategy Chocolate’s immediate appeal, I cannot endorse them due to sneaky dealings with the awful Mana Energy Potion. I cannot speak to the energy the drink itself affords, but the quick-escape to the nearest phone and poison control center were pretty inspired.

Review Sum-Up:
Gamer Grub: B+
“Boost Your Brain” All that time spent in the CCC of Good Samaritan did teach me about heart health and why you shouldn’t ingest more salt than your own body weight. +5 Intelligence.
Mana Energy Potion: D
“Less Filling, More Killing” is exactly right. I couldn’t finish the bottle, and I wanted to kill myself after drinking it.