Brock Stroganoff's Finest Bytes
A culinary adventure across gaming universes
Good day, my dear readers. Brock Stroganoff, Esquire, at your service. My thanks to SUPERJUMP writer Gavin Annand for allowing me a guest spot on his column in this fine publication.
Like my contemporaries Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Frank Bruni, and the late Anthony Bourdain, I have dedicated my life to food by traveling the video game multiverse and finding the finest bytes this industry offers. Since you have come to me, my dear readers, it is clear you are of very discerning taste. Thus, I present to you my first few culinary adventures.
The Maze – Pac-Man
For our first gastronomic rendezvous, an appetizer. An odd-looking yellow chap named Pac-Man contacted my agent, insisting I join him at his favorite eatery. It was supposedly not far, so I had my driver, Niko Bellic, take me there. Dreary Serbian fellow, but that’s another story.
Well, dear readers, should you ever set foot in The Maze, please heed these words of warning. It is terribly dark, there is the never-ending whine of that damnable siren, and if you plan on being well-fed, prepare to spend a lot of time running around in confusion and picking up so-called “Pac-Dots” off the floor, the house specialty that is far from satisfying and quite tasteless.
Mr. Pac-Man assured me that there was some fresh fruit for dessert somewhere in this awful place, but I never had a chance to taste it due to some vulgar fellows constantly chasing us around. The only thing that seemed to deter the awful hooligans was a large Pac-Dot that was seasoned with so much garlic, I’m not surprised they ran.
Rating: 1 out of 5 Highscores
The Bannered Mare, Whiterun – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Leaving the kitschy 80s décor of The Maze behind, I boarded a yacht headed for the province of Skyrim, in the supposedly magical realm of Tamriel.
Let me tell you, dear readers, the only thing magical about this frigid land is the fact that its inhabitants haven’t keeled over and died from the wretched smell of the locals. The very idea of some filthy Nord serving me food with bits of his matted beard falling in it was almost enough to turn me away, but I have a duty to you, my dear reader, and I shall scour every inch of the multiverse to find you the finest culinary delights.
You are most welcome.
At the invitation of Jarl Balgruuf, I made my way to one of the more civilized towns (if “civilized” is even a word that you could use here) by the name of Whiterun. The Jarl had recommended a local eatery by the name of The Bannered Mare, to sample some of Skyrim’s local cuisine.
Dear readers, I must admit — I was hasty in judging the Nords. What they lack in cleanliness and refinement, they more than make up for with their cuisine. Entrée was a bowl of aromatic Horker Stew, served with a rich Honningbrew Mead. For the main dish, Mammoth Steak cooked medium-rare to perfection — lightly charred on the exterior, tender and pink at the center.
Hulda, the proprietor, insisted on a matching glass of Firebrand Wine. To finish the evening, I was joined by some of the Whiterun Guards, who were kind enough to bring some fresh, recently confiscated sweetrolls. They had detained some “Dragonborn” fellow or some such, and supposedly his pack was full of the delectable treats. The sweetrolls were served alongside a wheel of goat cheese and matched with fine Colovian Brandy.
My only criticism was the bard, Mikael, whose endless repetition of “Ragnar the Red” became quite grating. That, and his constant rambling about some wench named Carlotta, somewhat undermined the ambiance.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Arrows in the Knee
Cherubini’s Restaurant, Moscow – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Were you to travel as much as I do, you would frequently spend a not insignificant amount of time in airports across the world: Kennedy, Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Changi, Narita, Dubai, etc. Sadly, the options for cuisine are limited in our great transit centres — unsophisticated fast food or sports bars filled with tourists guzzling cheap beer and French fries.
Zakhaev International Airport is no different.
Yesterday, while waiting for my flight to Mêlée Island in the Tri-Island area of the Caribbean, I risked my discerning palate and attempted to review some airport food. The culinary establishment I had chosen was an unassuming little restaurant here at Zakhaev named Cherubini’s, supposedly named after some video game artist by the name of Chris Cherubini, who had worked on the Call of Duty series.
Well, let me tell you, the man certainly was not famous for his hospitality credentials.
The service at Cherubini’s is about what I would have expected. Soulless and impersonal. From their rudimentary menu (printed on some cheap A3 cardboard no less), I chose some local cuisine — borscht and pelmeni, a type of Russian dumpling.
Sadly (or perhaps thankfully, from the look of the surly chef), I never had the chance to try the food. Bullets started flying through the restaurant — a terrorist attack or some such. They weren’t locals, as they spoke No Russian. I witnessed my server fall to the ground screaming, dropping my meal all over the floor before he tried to drag himself to safety.
The service here was clearly appalling — the staff couldn’t even muster the courage to deliver a meal under fire, even after I had paid in advance! To be quite honest, I found this dining experience quite disturbing and offensive, and I recommend you skip it if you can.
Rating: 0 out of 5 Disappointing Sequels
SCUMM Bar, Mêlée Island – The Secret of Monkey Island
This questionably named establishment on the tropical Mêlée Island is best described as a “hive of scum and villainy.” The patrons are smellier than the Nords, a great deal less friendly, and seem to enjoy spending their time hurling insults at each other during sword fights.
Not the sort of venue for Valentine’s Day, I assure you.
The local beverage, Grog, was watered down and tepid. While it initially sounded appealing, the Red Herring was ultimately unsatisfying. I believe I have discovered the Secret of Monkey Island, my dear readers: pirates cannot cook.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Rubber Chickens with a Pulley in the Middle
Somewhere in Aperture Labs – Portal
Simply come within fifty feet of any moron on the Internet in 2012 and you will no doubt have heard mention of a cake hidden somewhere in a laboratory owned by Aperture Science. These same socially inept morons will insist that this cake is allegedly a “lie”. I can assure you, my dear readers, that the cake is, in fact, not a lie.
A lovely, self-aware artificial intelligence by the name of GLaDOS was kind enough to invite me to the facility to sample her delicious cake. Although the ambiance of the storage room where she served it was quite lacking, the cake itself was utterly delightful.
Never fear, dear readers — GLaDOS assured me that her famous cake will soon be available for consumption at an eatery in some place called Half-Life 3.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Epistles
This is where I must pause and recover, dear readers, from the whirlwind of travel. Keep your eyes peeled and palettes ready for future culinary adventures!
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