Man v. Food Nation
Man v. Food Nation is the name given to the fourth season of the Travel Channel's Man v. Food, a food reality television series. It premiered on June 1, 2011. A preview episode, "The Quest Begins", aired on May 25, 2011.
|Man v. Food Nation|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||27|
|Original network||Travel Channel|
|Original release||June 1, 2011 –|
April 11, 2012
In this show, host Adam Richman travels to cities around the U.S. to try the signature food dishes of their local eateries. Unlike the previous three seasons of Man v. Food, where he himself took on a food challenge at a local restaurant, in this season, Richman recruits residents of the city he visits to take on a food challenge, while he serves as their coach by giving them tips and advice on how to beat their challenges, using the skills he learned previously from his own food challenges.
The final tally for the season was 11 wins for Man and 16 wins for Food. This was the first and only season to start (and end) with Food winning the challenge. It is also the only season in which Food scored more victories than Man.
With Richman announcing his retirement from competitive eating on January 27, 2012, Man v. Food Nation would be his final season of Man v. Food. On April 11, 2012 (after a four month hiatus), episodes filmed in Charlotte, N.C. and Jackson, Miss., were aired, marking what was then the official close of the series.
|Episode||Episode Number||Original Air Date||Winner||Challenge|
|New Haven, CT||1 (59)||June 1, 2011||Food||Caseus Cheese Truck|
|For the first episode of the new Man v. Food Nation, Adam checked out New Haven, Connecticut, home to the prestigious Yale University (where he earned his master's degree from Yale's School of Drama). The first stop on his trip was Louis' Lunch, inventor of the original American hamburger. At Louis' Lunch, the hamburgers are cooked on the original vertical flame grill, and the restaurant, perhaps notoriously, refuses to serve any ketchup. Adam tried a "Cheese Works" burger, which was topped with tomato, onions, and Cheddar cheese spread, all served on white toast. Then, Adam stopped at Modern Apizza for a clams casino pie, a white pie featuring toppings such as Rhode Island clams, Mozzarella cheese, roasted peppers and crispy bacon. This apizza, baked in a brick oven at 825 degrees F, highly impressed Adam. For the challenge, Adam recruited Yale student Ric Best, a.k.a. "King Hungry VIII", to take on the Caseus Cheese Truck Challenge, where he was to eat ten of the Caseus Cheese Truck's grilled cheese sandwiches (all of them with at least one topping of his choice, weighing a total of 6 pounds) within one hour; doing so would allow him to name his very own sandwich for the menu, and he would be allowed free grilled cheese sandwiches for one year. Only one person had been able to defeat this challenge prior to this episode's taping. Adam gave Ric some valuable advice, such stacking two sandwiches on top of each other and doing "all his damage in the first 23 minutes". For the challenge, Ric chose grilled red onions as his topping. He downed the first two sandwiches in the first five minutes of the challenge, and then finished the fifth sandwich at the 15-minute mark. He then combined sandwiches 6-8 into one triple sandwich and went at it furiously, but about halfway through it, he hit the food wall. Adam then handed Ric a beverage (upon Adam's recommendation) to help him swallow the food more easily. Though he managed to finish the triple sandwich at about 24 minutes in, Ric did not feel like he could continue, and ultimately declared food the winner. This was Ric's second attempt to beat this challenge (in the first, he had eaten only five sandwiches, so his second attempt broke his previous personal best). Adam gave him a Man v. Food Nation title belt for his effort.|
|Tampa, FL||2 (60)||June 1, 2011||Man||Davy Jones|
|This episode showcased the "big food" of restaurants in the sunny city of Tampa, Florida. Adam first ventured to Skippers Smokehouse, where he tried some smoked alligator ribs. He compared their taste to pork ribs. He then spent time watching famed wrestling tag team The Nasty Boys in training before trying a Cubano sandwich at Aguila's Sandwich Shop. (It was alluded that this restaurant is located in Ybor City, but it is actually about 6–7 miles northwest of Ybor.) This sandwich is made the traditional way, with boiled ham, roast pork, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese. This was all before Adam paid a visit to Rapscallions in Land o' Lakes and recruited Nasty Boys member Jerry Sags (a self-professed spicy food fan and habanero grower) to take on the Davy Jones Challenge: a plate of ten chicken wings infused with a spicy sauce of habaneros, chile de árbol, hot sauce and cayenne (mixed with roasted garlic, orange juice, crushed red pepper, and an especially spicy capsaicin extract called "Blood of Davy Jones"). The wings were to be completed in 30 minutes or less, with a 5-minute afterburn period to boot. Fellow Nasty Boy Brian Knobs would be among Sags' cheering section. Out of hundreds that had attempted this challenge prior to Sags, only nine challengers were successful. In the challenge, Adam advised Sags to keep his hands clean and "go to his happy place" to survive the intense heat. Adam also advised Sags to strip the meat off the bone to reduce the chances of the intensely hot sauce touching his lips. Taking Adam's advice, Sags was able to eat all the meat from the wings in only 6 minutes, but clearly suffered through the pain of the afterburn. Ultimately though, he managed to survive the afterburn period and was victorious in the challenge. He received a t-shirt, a picture on the "Wall of Pain" and a Man v. Food Nation title belt.|
|Nashville, TN||3 (61)||June 8, 2011||Food||Big Roost|
|The third episode of Man v. Food Nation showed Adam sampling the best food the Music City has to offer. His first stop was Prince's Hot Chicken Shack to try their signature fried hot chicken which is prepared with spices (notably cayenne, while most of the other spices are kept secret) and topped with pickles while placed over white bread. While finding it spicier than he anticipated, Richman decided to pour some honey on the chicken, a move that the restaurant's owner says she never saw before. This segment also featured a special guest appearance by former Nashville mayor Bill Purcell. After introducing the viewers to today's food challengers, Nashville-based country duo the LoCash Cowboys, and paying a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, Adam ventured to the Pancake Pantry to try their "Village Smithy" pancakes - crispy cornmeal pancakes filled with cheddar cheese, bacon, and green chiles while topped with salsa, sour cream, butter, and maple syrup. He also learned to not pat these pancakes as they were being prepared. After a second visit with the LoCash Cowboys (and a song they wrote regarding today's challenge), Adam stopped at Rooster's Texas Style BBQ and Steakhouse to guide the pair through the Big Roost Challenge: a platter featuring a 72-ounce sirloin steak, large baked potato, side salad, and two slices of Texas toast. The duo, each of whom had their own platter to deal with, had one hour to finish the entire challenge, which prior to this episode had been undefeated. Adam's advice for the challenge was to break up the taste of steak with the salad, the potato and even a glass of red wine. The duo started off strong by consuming nearly a third of their steaks in about 10 minutes. However, after about a half-hour, they started to get "food drunk" and began to slow down with the challenge until the arrival of country music superstar Vince Gill inspired them to keep eating. Ultimately, however, time ran out on their challenge after each valiantly consumed about 3/4 of their steaks and half of their sides, and the challenge remained undefeated.|
|Tulsa, OK||4 (62)||June 15, 2011||Man||Incinerator Pizza|
|Adam visited Tulsa, once the oil capital of the world, for their best eateries. His first stop took him to the Spudder, a restaurant loaded with petroleum signs and other oil-related decor (as a throwback to Tulsa's oil history), where he tried the "Gusher", a 22-ounce charbroiled bone-in prime rib. Next, he checked out the "Center of the Universe" to test his echo before going to Bill's Jumbo Burgers for the "Double Okie", a 4-patty, 2-pound burger which, in true Oklahoma fashion, features chopped onions cooked into the meat for more flavor. After that, he recruited Tulsa firefighter Kyle Younger to take on the Incinerator Challenge at Joe Momma's. The Incinerator pizza is topped with, among other things, a jalapeño and habanero relish, plus pepperoni, hot link sausage, salami, ham, and more pepper-based ingredients: sliced jalapeños, chopped habaneros, wasabi, and "Death Sauce" - a mixture of Sriracha sauce and ghost chili. Younger's task was to eat this entire 10-slice pizza in one hour, without the help of any drink to relieve the heat. Prior to this episode, just three people (out of hundreds) had ever beaten this challenge. Before the challenge, Adam gave Kyle advice such as: eating as much of the pizza as possible before the heat kicks in, paying attention to the ghost chili, and cutting the crusts off and leaving them for later when necessary. Adam also decided to try a slice himself before Kyle took on the challenge, and quickly regretted doing so. In the challenge, Kyle started strong by eating half the pizza in 20 minutes before the pain of the peppers set in. With about one slice left, he nearly threw up (which would have ended the challenge), but his fire chief came by to give him support. The inspiration helped him pull it together and finish the whole pizza, leaving him with only a handful of the peppers, which he quickly managed to polish off. For his victory, Younger won a t-shirt and his own Man v. Food Nation title belt.|
|Albuquerque, NM||5 (63)||June 22, 2011||Food||Travis on a Silver Platter|
|Adam headed to the Land of Enchantment: Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first stop: Frontier Restaurant (across from the campus of the University of New Mexico) serves nearly everything on its menu with roasted green chile, a New Mexico staple vegetable. Adam tried the "Bonanza Burger," which is two 1/4-pound patties topped with shredded cheese, bacon, and green chile; he tried the burger with a side of homemade onion rings. Next, Adam ventured to Sadie's to try a 6.5-pound sopaipilla appropriately called the "World's Biggest Stuffed Sopaipilla," which is filled with refried beans, fried potatoes, cheddar cheese, stewed chicken, ground beef, carne adobada and both red and green chile. The sopaipilla is then topped with more chile and cheese. The final stop, Grandma's K & I Diner, was the setting for the infamous Travis on a Silver Platter Challenge: a giant beef-and-bean burrito filled with red chile and shredded cheddar cheese, then topped with green chile, more shredded cheese, and a mountain of French fries; altogether, this challenge weighed in at 8 pounds. This challenge was defeated by just two people prior to this episode, and Adam noted that this challenge may be the hardest shown in the show's history. Adam's recruits for this challenge were University of New Mexico student Travis Albreski (who has attempted this challenge before, albeit unsuccessfully), local weatherman Travis Christy, and professional bull rider Travis Briscoe. Their objective was to finish the entire platter in one hour in order to make the restaurant's Wall of Fame. Albreski strategized by ordering green chile to eat with his burrito, and the others followed suit. Soon they all hit the proverbial food wall, and Christy decided to give up. The other two continued the battle, but neither could finish their portions in the allotted time; Briscoe ultimately downed 3 pounds of his challenge, while Albreski ate 4.5 pounds. All three challengers were still given Man v. Food Nation title belts for their efforts.|
|Mobile, AL||6 (64)||June 29, 2011||Food||Wintzell Oyster Contest|
|Man v. Food Nation checked out Mobile, Alabama for the best of their local eateries. For his first stop, Adam went to the Hungry Owl to try their signature "Tony Burger", which is stuffed with cheese, Conecuh sausage, and "Trinity" (a mixture of onions, peppers and celery), and topped with about 20 different ingredients, including bacon, five cheeses, jalapeño peppers, and a fried egg. Next up, he visited barbecue joint the Brick Pit to experience their succulent take on slow-smoked pulled pork. This week's challenge took place at Wintzell's Oyster House & Restaurant; there, Adam recruited software support representative "Big Joe" Evans for Wintzell's Oyster House Challenge. Evans was a previous champion of this challenge when he ate 406 raw Alabama oysters in under one hour in June 2003, but then his record was broken in September 2010 when another challenger ate 421. Thus, Evans aimed for 422 oysters in a one-hour time limit in an attempt to regain his title. Prior to the challenge Adam shared tips with Evans such as: pacing himself, adding in condiments, and eating crackers to change the consistency of what he's eating. Evans started the challenge very strong by eating 100 oysters in just three minutes, and then finishing his 200th oyster at about 10 minutes in. At about 15 minutes in, though, he started to struggle with the oysters' texture, so he strategized by squirting them with lemon and ordering a pack of crackers to change up the texture. Despite this, however, he slowed down and could not recover, and he ultimately ran out of time after consuming 305 oysters.|
|Florida Keys||7 (65)||July 6, 2011||Food||Fritter Eating Contest|
|The show headed south to the Florida Keys, home of breathtaking beaches and, as always, delicious food for Adam to partake in. His first stop took him to the Hogfish Bar & Grill in Stock Island to eat their "Killer Hogfish" sandwich, which features a crispy 1/2-pound hogfish fillet served with melted Swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms and onions on grilled Cuban bread. The second stop was Key West establishment Blue Heaven, home to authentic key lime pie, topped with meringue. Before enjoying his own helping of the pie, Adam sat down with rapper Vanilla Ice, who emphasized his enjoyment of the freshness of the key limes. In the challenge segment, filmed on May 1, 2011, Adam headed to Key Largo Conch House for the Conch Republic Fritter Challenge, where ten contestants go head-to-head in a competition to see who can eat the most deep-fried Conch Fritters in 15 minutes. Adam's recruit for the contest was University of Miami student and sorority member Cassie Glenn, who was considered an underdog due to her diminutive size (standing just 5 feet tall). Adam's advice to Glenn for the challenge was to keep moving, stay hydrated, and maintain a steady pace. In the competition (which was emceed by Adam himself), Cassie started strong by eating 6 fritters in the first minute, and heeded Adam's advice by drinking water to stay hydrated (even dunking some of the fritters in the water). She kept moving as Adam advised and stayed among the top of the competition for the most part, but with about 5 minutes to go, Cassie hit the food wall (due to not pacing herself and instead going fast) and only managed one more fritter before time expired. When all was said and done, she ate a grand total of 26 fritters, which was not enough to beat the winning contestant, Mack Fowler, who downed 42 fritters (a new contest record; the previous record was 25, which Cassie also beat). Upon giving her her own Man v. Food Nation title belt, Adam emphasized how impressed he was with Glenn's effort; however, though he declared Man the winner of the battle, it is technically a win for Food (due to Cassie not finishing in first place).|
|Gulf Coast||8 (66)||July 13, 2011||Food||Muffaletta|
|Adam's southern exposure continued as he sampled the tastiest foods throughout the Gulf Coast. His first stop was the Shed BBQ and Blues Joint, located in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where he tried various smoked pig parts (with the pig prepared inside an old Jeep-turned-smoker) before sampling the restaurant's famous baby back ribs. Next, Adam visited the Original Oyster House in Gulf Shores, Alabama for a helping of fresh seafood. He customized his "Man v. Food Nation" platter with fried oysters and crawfish tails, shrimp scampi, stuffed crab, and seared Bourbon-glazed ahi tuna. In the final segment, Adam ventured to Calypso Beach Café and Sports Grill in Panama City Beach, Florida, where he recruited rock vocalist and former Blue Angels crew chief A.J. Fratto for the Muffaletta Challenge. The Muffaletta is a huge, 6-pound sandwich featuring ham, Cotto salami, Genoa salami, melted mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and olive salad on a Sicilian roll; it is also served with a side of rice, red beans, and andouille. Fratto had one hour to take down this challenge, which was undefeated prior to this episode's taping. For the challenge, Adam advised A.J. to incorporate the sides into the sandwich so that they wouldn't get cold later on. A.J. took down the first quarter in 13 minutes, but began to struggle as he started the second quarter. He struggled mightily enough that he still had half the sandwich remaining with only 5 minutes left, so Adam decided to eat some of the sandwich with him; unfortunately though, time ran out on A.J. after eating three pounds of the sandwich, which to that point was the most anyone had ever taken down.|
|Portsmouth, NH||9 (67)||July 20, 2011||Man||Slapshot|
|Adam headed east to film Man v. Food Nation in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The first stop took him to Gilley's PM Lunch, where he tried a chili dog with "the Works" - relish, chopped onions, sauerkraut, ketchup and mustard - and a side of poutine - fries topped with fresh cheese curds and gravy. Next, Adam stopped by the Friendly Toast to try the "Sklarmageddon" - a 6-egg omelet mixed with three meats, Swiss and Jalapeño Jack cheeses, and red chili pecans, all topped with maple sour cream. The third segment was filmed at JP's Eatery in Durham on June 5, 2011; there, Adam recruited University of New Hampshire strength coach Paul "Chappy" Chapman for the Slapshot Challenge: a plate of 15 sliders, plus a 1/2-pound of French fries and a 14-oz. milkshake (at Chapman's request, vanilla), all of which must be completed within 30 minutes. Out of more than 200 previous challengers prior to Chapman, over 90% of them have failed this 4-pound challenge. Adam's advice for Chapman was to use condiments on the sliders, combine the fries with the sliders, and use the milkshake to wash down the food. Chapman ate the first few sliders on their own before taking Adam's advice to incorporate the fries and some condiments (such as mustard, ketchup, and at his request, mayonnaise). He also sipped the milkshake for every few bites. He ran into trouble late in the challenge, but fought on and managed to finish it off with just 4 seconds to spare. Chapman received a free t-shirt for his efforts, as well as his own Man v. Food Nation title belt. (NOTE: This is the first "mass-quantity" challenge that Man has won this season; the previous two wins for Man were both against "spicy" challenges.)|
|Louisville, KY||10 (68)||July 27, 2011||Food||Comfy Cow|
|Man v. Food Nation checked out Louisville, home to the heralded Kentucky Derby horse race. First, Adam paid a visit to the Brown Hotel, where he tried their famed "Hot Brown", an open-faced sandwich of roasted turkey, bacon, Mornay sauce and Pecorino Romano cheese served over Texas toast. Adam's second stop was Lynn's Paradise Cafe, where he tried the Quadruple "B" French Toast, which is dunked in a mixture of buttermilk and black walnuts before being grilled (here, Adam experienced the restaurant's unique grilling method - by launching the toast onto the grill with a 19th-Century catapult) and topped with a blackberry glaze and Bourbon meringue. For the challenge, Adam went to ice cream establishment the Comfy Cow, where he would recruit maintenance worker "Burrito Joe" Nikolai for the namesake Comfy Cow Challenge - 15 scoops of ice cream topped with cherries and a pound of whipped cream, and also served with fruit toppings and a 1/2-pound of nuts. Altogether, this sundae weighed a massive 7 1/2 pounds, and Nikolai had one hour to finish it all. Adam's tips for the challenge were: eat fast, eat something salty when the sweetness gets to be too much, and drink water. While the sundae was being prepared, Adam expressed concern over the fact that Nikolai decided to go with just one flavor of ice cream (specifically, vanilla) rather than pick more than one flavor to mix things up. However, Nikolai started the challenge off very well, eating the first pound in just 5 minutes, then half the challenge at the 10-minute mark, all while strategically mixing in the fruit and nut toppings for more flavor. At 20 minutes in, he finished 7 pounds of the sundae, but unfortunately, his fast pace proved to be a huge mistake: he threw it all up, instantly ending the challenge in favor of Food. After giving him a Man v. Food Nation title belt, Adam mentioned that, although he should have gone slower, he was very impressed by how fast Nikolai ate the ice cream, saying that he had never seen anyone do it so fast.
Lynn's Paradise Cafe closed without explanation on January 12, 2013. This came several days after the restaurant established policies for its food servers that were potential violations of Kentucky law; the owner later said several months later that she closed the restaurant due to personal illness.
|Milwaukee, WI||11 (69)||August 3, 2011||Man||Unforgiven|
|Adam visited Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His first stop took him to Martino's Restaurant, where he tried the "Italian Combo" - Italian sausage topped with Italian beef (dipped in Parmesan au jus), fresh giardiniera, and a homemade red sauce of pork and tomatoes, all served over Mozzarella-covered French bread. Next, he went to Benji's Deli to sample the "Hear O Israel" sandwich (1/4 pound each of pastrami, salami, corned beef, and pepper beef, all topped with Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Thousand Island dressing). This week's challenger, forklift driver Jeremy Wheeler, came in 14-0, undefeated against prior food challenges. The challenge took place at the Red Rock Saloon, where Jeremy had to take on the Unforgiven Challenge - a "Farm Burger" (a cheeseburger topped with Applewood smoked bacon, a fried chicken breast, another cheeseburger, more bacon, a fried egg, and onion strings), a pound of fries, and six "Takin' Care of Business" wings (chicken wings drenched in a sauce of jalapeños, Thai bird peppers, habaneros, and ghost chili), all of which had to be finished in under a mere 23 minutes. This 3 1/2-pound challenge had been defeated just once before Jeremy's attempt. Before the challenge started, Adam tried to tackle one wing and was rendered speechless for a moment. In the challenge, Jeremy was making good headway, alternating between the burger and wings (and working the fries into each bite of the burger). He almost finished the burger with 7 minutes to spare when the heat of the wings suddenly caught up to him. With Adam's help, he finished the burger and fries with 3 minutes left, but still had a few wings to go. Fighting to the last second, Jeremy ultimately won the challenge when he finished the last wing with 0:00 on the clock (This was due to t.v. editing. Jeremy finished with about 20 seconds left). As a reward, Jeremy got his picture on the Wall of Fame, the now-standard Man v. Food Nation title belt, and several other clothing items from the saloon. More importantly, perhaps, he remained undefeated in food challenges as his record now went to 15-0.|
|Providence, RI||12 (70)||August 10, 2011||Food||Hot Wiener|
|Adam headed to Providence, capital of Rhode Island. His first stop took him to Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza, where the pies are prepared over a charcoal grill and topped while still on the grill. Out of the all the pies the restaurant offered, Adam tried a spinach and mushroom pie, which also features shredded Parmesan and crumbled Feta cheese. Next, Adam headed to the mobile Haven Brothers Diner to try out the "Triple Murder Burger", a 3-patty cheeseburger with toppings including bacon, mushrooms, onions, and a fried egg. The challenge this week took place at the Olneyville New York System restaurant, where Rhode Island Rebellion rugby player Connor McQuade was to eat 15 hot wieners "all the way" (topped with mustard, meat sauce, and Spanish white onions) in 45 minutes. The Hot Wiener Challenge had only been defeated by one person prior to Connor's attempt. His teammates promised that if he were to lose, he would have to get a purple unicorn tattoo. Adam's challenge advice for Connor was to go easy on beverages, break up the flavor with condiments, and keep a steady pace. In the challenge, Connor started strong by eating the first 9 wieners in about 18 minutes, but soon hit the food wall. Adam advised Connor to get up and move around a bit before going on with the challenge; by that point, 6 wieners and 25 minutes remained. Connor ate as fast as he could but struggled with the richness of the meat, and he ultimately ran out of time with 2 1/2 wieners to go. Still amazed by his effort, Adam gave Connor a Man v. Food Nation title belt.|
|Dallas, TX||13 (71)||August 17, 2011||Man||Super Phở|
|Adam headed to Dallas, North Texas' largest city. His first stop took him to Kuby's Sausage House for some authentic German sausages; there he tried a platter featuring Nürnberger, Polish, Knackwurst, Grobe, and Weisswurst sausages, as well as the restaurant's exclusive Jalapeño Cheddar sausage. Later, he visited Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse for some authentic Texas-style brisket in the form of their Brisket Sandwich, which is topped with the restaurant's signature barbecue sauce. Adam also enjoyed a side of onion rings with the sandwich. For the challenge, Adam checked out Sprout's Springroll & Phở in Arlington, home to the Super Phở Challenge. Adam's recruit, financial analyst Pete MacGillis, AKA the "Food Avenger", had 30 minutes to finish a 5-pound bowl of Vietnamese soup made from a brisket-oxtail broth and loaded with noodles, three meats (Vietnamese meatballs, eye of round, and beef brisket), and green and white onions. Pete started the challenge off very well, but a few minutes in was overwhelmed by the high temperature of the soup, so he poured in some of his ice water to cool it off. The strategy worked, and he went on to finish the entire soup in only 8 minutes and 12 seconds, which became the restaurant's new record time.|
|Route 66||14 (72)||August 24, 2011||Man||Puffy Taco|
|Adam visited restaurants across the famous Midwestern road, U.S. Route 66. His first stop took him to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis, Missouri, where he tried the "Concrete" - frozen custard so thick that it won't fall out of the cup when turned upside down. This dessert can be loaded with up to 25 toppings; Adam customized his "Concrete" with oatmeal cookies, caramel, and macadamia nuts. Afterwards, he traveled to Idle Spurs steakhouse in Barstow, California to try a 24-ounce porterhouse steak. The challenge segment took place at Elote Café in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Adam helped former Navy officer Manny Groll take on the Puffy Taco Challenge: he aimed to break the current puffy taco record by eating 23 of them in 90 minutes, and doing so would crown him the new "Puffy Taco Master". The puffy tacos consist of a fry bread-like shell topped with chicken, caramelized onions, romaine lettuce, shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and crema fresca. To help him win, Adam advised Manny to eat 15 tacos in the first 20 minutes, stay away from water if possible, and use salsa. Adam himself also tried the puffy tacos by eating two of them in one minute, and realized how hard this challenge could be for Manny. At the start of the challenge, Manny set a really fast pace by eating almost 15 tacos in the first 15 minutes, but soon they proved to be more difficult than he imagined, even after Adam handed him some avocado tomatillo sauce. In fact, he slowed down so much that by the time he had 3 left, only 10 minutes remained on the clock. However, wanting to make his son proud, Manny pushed himself to finish them off with 3 minutes left, and thus was crowned the new "Puffy Taco Master". In addition, Adam gave him his very own Man v. Food Nation title belt.|
|Harlem, NY||15 (73)||September 7, 2011||Man||Squealer|
|Adam returned to New York City, this time focusing exclusively on the best eats in the neighborhood of Harlem. His first stop was soul food restaurant Amy Ruth's for some fried chicken and waffles. For a fluffier texture, the restaurant adds malt powder to their waffle mix. Next, Adam visited Puerto Rican establishment La Fonda Boricua in Spanish Harlem to try a giant mofongo dish called the "Mofongaso", which is made with 12 fried plantains and pernil (a Puerto Rican-style roast pork), then garnished with more pernil and topped with escabeche. The challenge this week took place at Rack & Soul, a barbecue restaurant which features the Squealer Challenge: a 2-pound pulled pork po' boy sandwich topped with coleslaw and an extremely spicy honey-barbecue sauce (prepared with drops of pure capsaicin extract). Adam coached three of the famed Harlem Globetrotters - Bull Bullard, Hammer Harrison, and "Slick" Willie Shaw - through this challenge, giving them advice such as "powering through to beat the heat". The three challengers had 15 minutes to finish their entire sandwiches, and then had to endure a 5-minute afterburn. Also, they were competing as a team - if one of them were to fail to finish his sandwich, then the entire team would lose the challenge. At the start of the challenge, all three of them were immediately overwhelmed by the heat of the sauce after their first bite. After a few minutes, they resumed eating, and with under two minutes to spare, "Slick" Willie and Hammer finished their sandwiches, but Bull was struggling. Adam advised him to gather the remnants of the sandwich into one handful and scoop it into his mouth, and Bull did just that right as the 15-minute clock ran out. Afterwards, though, the team still had to go through the afterburn, and though it looked for a moment like they would not endure, they managed to survive the 5 minutes, thus winning the challenge. After Adam gave them their customary Man v. Food Nation title belts, the Globetrotters presented him with his own Harlem Globetrotters jersey (complete with Richman's name on the back), very much to his joyful surprise.|
|Pacific Coast Highway||16 (74)||September 14, 2011||Man||Brahma Bull|
|In this episode, Adam took a drive up California's beautiful Pacific Coast Highway for its best eats. His first stop landed him at the Reel Inn in Malibu for some fresh seafood; there, he tried sauteed halibut which is first coated in cracker crumbs and then prepared with a sauce of tomatoes, capers and white wine. This segment featured a special guest appearance by actor Chad Michael Murray. After enjoying his halibut, Adam's next stop was La Super-Rica Taquería in Santa Barbara, where he tried "La Super-Rica Especial": three corn tortillas topped with marinated pork and chopped Monterey Jack-stuffed poblano peppers. Before trying this dish, he sat down with another special guest, actor/comedian Kevin Pollak, who emphasized his enjoyment of the restaurant's dishes and even broke out his impression of Christopher Walken to boot. For the challenge segment, Adam headed up to Rib Line in San Luis Obispo for the Brahma Bull Challenge: a sandwich featuring three pounds of barbecued tri-tip steak loaded into a one-pound sourdough roll, with half of the steak topped with barbecue sauce ("San Luis Obispo-style") and the other half topped with salsa ("Santa Maria-style"). Adam recruited high school history teacher Naader Reda for this challenge; Naader's task was to finish the entire 4-pound sandwich faster than a then-record time of 42 minutes. If he could finish, he would win a trophy and be allowed free lunch at the restaurant every Friday for as long as he held the record time. In a pre-challenge Indiana Jones-themed fantasy segment, Adam's advice to Naader was to vary the flavor of the sandwich. Prior to Naader, just two people out of 50 have previously finished this challenge. Naader started the challenge out strong by first attacking the beef in forkfuls, finishing nearly half of it in the first 5 minutes. He also strategized by keeping a cup of au jus at his side for even more flavor. Adam then advised him to not leave the bread until last, so Naader started breaking the bread apart and eating pieces of it with the steak and au jus. Soon, he asked for even more au jus, and upon getting it, decided to drench the entire sandwich in it, a move which very much impressed Adam. However, with about 9 minutes left, Naader hit the food wall, but stayed determined and went on to finish the entire sandwich with just 2 minutes to spare. His victory thereby set a new challenge record time of 40 minutes.|
|Street Eats Special||17 (75)||September 28, 2011||Food||White Rabbit Burrito|
|This special episode of Man v. Food Nation showcased some of the best street vendor food from across the nation. First off, Adam visited the Taco Bus in Tampa to try "puerco asado" tacos - tacos with marinated roast pork and a mix of vegetables including jalapeños, cabbage, and marinated red onions. Then, Adam's second stop was at the Wafels & Dinges truck in New York City, which features Belgian waffles that can be topped with just about anything. Adam tried his Belgian waffle barbecue-style: with pulled pork, coleslaw, barbecue sauce, and a "coolickle" (or in other words, a pickle soaked in Kool-Aid). Lastly, Adam ventured to Los Angeles and paid a visit to the White Rabbit truck, which features the massive White Rabbit Burrito Challenge: a 6-pound Filipino burrito loaded with marinated chicken adobo, garlic fried rice, six fried eggs, and 12 slices of Swiss cheese, all contained within 6 tortillas. Adam recruited entertainer and "jack-of-all-trades" Sydney "Big Dawg" Colston for this challenge, which had only been defeated by two people out of a few hundred prior to this episode's taping. Colston had just 45 minutes to finish the burrito. At the start, he looked strong, taking big bites of the burrito and finishing the first 2 pounds easily, all while taking sips of Sprite to keep himself hydrated. Unfortunately, however, his choice of drink would come back to bite him (Adam emphasized this by noting that the soda would make all the rice in Colston's stomach expand), and he began to slow down at about the 30-minute mark. Adam intervened by showing him how to do the "shake-down shimmy", which would allow the food to go down easier. Colston then went back to eating the burrito as fast as he could, but unfortunately he ran out of time after consuming a little over 3 pounds of the burrito.|
|St. Paul, MN||18 (76)||October 5, 2011||Man||Lucifer (Lucy)|
|Adam visited St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota. His stops included Punch Neapolitan Pizza, which creates their pizzas the very same way the original pizzas were created in Naples many years ago. This restaurant, in fact, has an authentic Vera Pizza Napolitana (V.P.N.) certification. At Punch, Adam tried a Margherita pizza, which is prepared the traditional way: with San Marzano tomato sauce, olive oil, fresh basil, and buffalo mozzarella cheese, all before being cooked in an 800-degree (F) wood-burning oven for 90 seconds. Next, Adam headed to Rack Shack BBQ in nearby Burnsville to try the "Hobo": a smoked potato skillet topped with barbecue sour cream, pulled pork, beef brisket, and essentially every side dish in the restaurant, including corn bake, beans, jalapeño macaroni and cheese, and blue cheese-bacon coleslaw, and also topped with a creamy cheddar sauce. For the challenge, taking place at Tin Cup's, Adam enlisted law school graduate Jon Wolf to take on the Lucy Challenge: two spicy "Lucifer" burgers (Juicy Lucy burgers stuffed with Pepper Jack cheese and jalapeño peppers, then drenched in "Lucifer sauce" - a mixture of steak sauce, "extreme" hot sauce, and jalapeños), plus two pounds of French fries, altogether weighing in at five pounds. Jon had just 45 minutes to beat this challenge, which boasts a 99% failure rate. He was also doing this challenge to try to win a date with his long-time crush, a girl named Melissa, who was on hand with the crowd at Tin Cup's. In a Breakfast Club-themed fantasy segment before the challenge, Adam advised Jon to eat fast, keep moving, and combine the fries with the burgers. At the start of the challenge, Jon was surprised by the burger's heat after the first bite, so he decided to pull the first one apart to eat it faster. Following Adam's advice to incorporate the fries with each bite, Jon managed to finish the first burger in just 10 minutes. By this point, the spiciness of the challenge hardly fazed him, and at about 20 minutes in, he was halfway through the challenge, but soon he hit the food wall. Adam had Jon get up and stretch a bit to help the food go down, but Jon was still struggling, as he noted that the cheese was starting to congeal. Then, Melissa came by to give Jon a kiss on the cheek, and it inspired him enough to keep eating (using ketchup to add flavor to the fries) and ultimately finish the challenge with just two minutes remaining. With his victory, Jon finally got his wish, as Melissa agreed to go out with him.|
|Cincinnati, OH||19 (77)||October 12, 2011||Food||110 Reuben|
|Man v. Food Nation paid a visit to the "Queen City", Cincinnati. The first locale on Adam's visit was Tom + Chee, a grilled cheese establishment located across the river from Cincinnati in Newport, Kentucky. There, Adam first tried a blueberry-blue cheese donut (crumbled blue cheese and blueberry compote between two halves of a grilled donut) and then tried the "Armagoetta", a sandwich of hot peppers, Pepper Jack cheese, goetta sausage and fried onions topped with sweet hot mustard. Next, Adam checked out Camp Washington Chili parlor to try a "Five Way": spaghetti topped with chili, beans, chopped white onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese. The final location, Izzy's, was the setting for the 110 Reuben Challenge: a 5 1/2-pound Reuben sandwich constructed with 1.10 pounds of corned beef, plus a giant potato pancake, three pints of sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and eight slices of Swiss cheese, all inside a 2 1/2-pound rye loaf. The challenge, which has only been beaten twice in more than 50 attempts, was to be completed within 30 minutes. The challenger was youth baseball coach Adam Turer, who attempted this challenge previously but fell to the giant sandwich after eating 3 pounds of it. During his rematch, Turer kept a bowl of soup by his side to help soften the bread. He looked strong at first, finishing half the sandwich in the first 15 minutes. At about 20 minutes in, though, he began to struggle, so Richman provided him with a wet towel and let him stretch a bit before continuing the sandwich. Though he fought valiantly, Turer's time expired after consuming 4 1/2 pounds of the 110 Reuben, which was his new personal best.|
|Rochester, NY||20 (78)||October 19, 2011||Food||Atomic Bomb|
|In this episode, Adam visited Rochester, New York, located near the famed Watkins Glen International race track. First on his visit was Campi's, home to oversized sandwiches known as "bombers". Adam tried a steak bomber, which features sliced chuck steak topped with sauteed onions, mushrooms and peppers, Provolone cheese, and Rochester's signature topping: hot sauce (in this case, meat sauce mixed with spices). Adam's next stop was Nick Tahou Hots, known for their famous "Garbage Plates". Adam's Garbage Plate consisted of four bases (baked beans, macaroni salad, French fries and home fries) topped with cheeseburgers and red hots, as well as mustard, chopped onions, and the restaurant's version of Rochester hot sauce. For the challenge, Adam traveled to Sticky Lips Barbecue to help NASCAR driver Joey Logano take on the 5-pound Atomic Bomb Challenge: a double cheeseburger topped with pulled pork, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and a half-pound of spicy Rochester hot sauce (made especially spicy with the addition of chopped fresh habaneros), plus a pound of fries also topped with the hot sauce. Joey had 30 minutes to finish this challenge, which - in more than 200 attempts - had never been defeated. Before the challenge, Adam had a taste of the hot sauce, and was surprised by its heat. As for Joey, he started the challenge strong, finishing the first pound in just 5 minutes. Adam soon advised Joey to focus on the fillings and leave the bread and fries for last. At about the 20-minute mark, though, Joey started to slow down, but he remained determined to finish the entire challenge (even finishing a half-pound of the fries in only 60 seconds). Ultimately, though, he was unable to finish the challenge in the allotted 30 minutes.|
|Omaha, NE||21 (79)||October 26, 2011||Food||Pig Wing|
|Adam visited Omaha, Nebraska. The first stop on his visit was Amato's, where he tried a large Italian sandwich called "The Godfather", featuring 3/4 pound each of six meats (mortadella, Cotto salami, hard salami, bone-in ham, capicola, and pepperoni) all grilled and topped with four cheeses (hot pepper, Mozzarella, Provolone and American), olive salad, and roasted red peppers, served inside toasted Italian twist bread. Next on Adam's agenda was to try some authentic Omaha steaks, and for this he went to The Drover, which is known for their famous "Whiskey steaks" - steaks marinated in whiskey. There, Adam tried the "Omaha strip", a New York strip with the bone left in it. The challenge took place at Starsky's Bar and Grill in South Omaha, where Adam coached KHUB radio DJ Matt Price through the Pig Wing Challenge; Price had one hour to eat 5 pounds of "pig wings" (pork shanks on small bones, much like normal chicken wings) and 3 pounds of corn nuggets (a mixture of corn niblets and creamed corn deep-fried into nugget form). Out of dozens that had attempted this 8-pound challenge prior to Price, only one had ever succeeded. Armed with a variety of sauces for more flavor, Matt spent the first 10 minutes of the challenge taking the pork off the bones and mashing up the corn nuggets before tackling both simultaneously. Matt finished the first two pounds of the challenge at the 20-minute mark; at the 25-minute mark, Adam suggested to him that he start eating the wing-nugget mish-mash in separate bowls. Matt did just that and finished the third pound at 35 minutes, but then he hit the food wall. After a moment, he pressed on, and at the 45-minute mark finished the fifth pound of the challenge. Though he ate to the very last second, however, he could not finish the challenge in time.|
|Green Bay, WI||22 (80)||November 2, 2011||Food||Gravedigger|
|Adam stopped by Green Bay, home to the NFL's Green Bay Packers, with visits to locales in the vicinity of the Packers' home, Lambeau Field. This episode was filmed before the Packers' 2011 season opener at home against the New Orleans Saints. The first stop on Adam's visit was Kroll's West restaurant, which is known for serving nearly everything (especially the meats) with butter on top. Adam first tried a buttered double cheeseburger before moving on to their Prime Rib Sandwich, which features 3 ounces of shaved prime rib placed on a toasted roll then topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers, as well as butter, and served with a side of buttery au jus. Adam's second stop was Curly's Pub, located inside Lambeau Field, where he tried their fried cheese curds and Johnsonville Beer Brats (bratwurst soaked in a mix of beer and onions, then placed in a bun while topped with sauerkraut). The final stop, Champion Sports Bar and Grill, was the setting for the Gravedigger Challenge: a 93-ounce burger (named after the Packers' former nose tackle, Gilbert "The Gravedigger" Brown, who wore number 93 for the Packers) topped with 8 slices of American cheese, plus lettuce, tomatoes and onions, all on a large buttered bun. For this two-person challenge, Adam recruited University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh students (and big-time Packers fans) Zach Woolever and Harrison Bowden, whom had one hour to defeat this challenge; the odds were stacked against the pair as no two-person team had ever beaten this challenge prior to them. The burger was served to them by Brown himself, who was among the cheering fans on hand at Champion, as was former Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman; alongside Adam, both would serve as inspiration for the duo. Zach and Harrison started strong by eating two pounds of the burger in the first 15 minutes, as Adam advised them to take small bites and keep a slow and steady pace. The duo reached the 4-pound mark by the halfway point; shortly thereafter, though, they both hit the food wall. On Adam's suggestion, the burger was reheated, which would make it juicy again as well as melt the cheese further; however, this strategy shaved about 10 minutes off the pair's time. With 10 minutes left in the challenge, the burger was brought back and they resumed eating, but unfortunately, they ran out of time with only a little bit of the burger and bun to go.|
|Savannah, GA||23 (81)||November 9, 2011||Man||Voodoo Juice|
|Adam headed south to Savannah, Georgia. For his first stop, he checked out one of his favorite restaurants, Sweet Potatoes Endearing Food, where he tried their peach-glazed barbecue chicken: a fryer chicken prepared with a unique barbecue sauce combining canned peaches and Trinity (onions, peppers, celery). While there, he also enjoyed their banana pudding (which he says is the best ever). Next on Adam's Savannah visit was Tubby's Tank House in nearby Thunderbolt, where he tried the "Low Country Boil": a dish combining steamed Atlantic white shrimp, Canadian snow crab, red potatoes, corn on the cob, and smoked sausage. The challenge was taped at Angel's BBQ on September 15, 2011, where Adam coached twin brothers Jamal and Jamil Williams through the Voodoo Juice Challenge: a one-pound pulled pork sandwich topped with "Voodoo Juice", a spicy sauce combining Sourwood honey, garlic and vinegar with four peppers: chile de árbol, habanero, tepin, and ghost chili. The bun is also dusted with a mix of spices known as "Devil's Dandruff". The brothers, each with their own sandwich, had only 5 minutes to beat this challenge. Each armed with a cup of milk, they took their first few bites before the heat of the sauce kicked in. They didn't let the sauce faze them as they kept eating, sipping their milk as they went, but soon, Jamal ran out of milk. Jamil, who ultimately found his sandwich far too hot for him, decided to throw in the towel, and then helped Jamal by giving him the rest of his milk. This ultimately helped Jamal, and he went on to finish the sandwich just as time expired. For his victory, Jamal was given a free t-shirt.|
|Feast Special||24 (82)||November 16, 2011||Man||Leg of the Beast Feast|
|This special episode of Man v. Food Nation is centered around Thanksgiving-style feasts, all in preparation for the namesake holiday. Adam's first stop was at the Plymouth Plantation (Plymouth, Massachusetts) to experience a 17th Century-style Thanksgiving feast, which features turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, seethed mussels, beets, and stewed pompion. Next, Adam traveled to Side Street Inn in Oahu, Hawaii for a Hawaiian feast which includes pan-fried island pork chops, boneless Kalbi short ribs, seared ahi tuna, Opakapaka (both steamed and fried), garlic fried chicken, and Hawaiian fried rice. Then, he tried an authentic "Amish Farm Feast" at the Plain and Fancy Farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which included golden fried chicken, beef roast, and Lancaster-style chicken pot pie. The fourth stop on Adam's Thanksgiving trip was the Skylight Inn in Ayden, North Carolina, where Adam experienced a whole hog barbecue, served with sides of coleslaw, potato salad and cornbread, plus a dessert of banana pudding. Lastly, Adam headed to Big Earl's BBQ in Scottsdale, Arizona for the undefeated Leg of the Beast Feast Challenge: a 17-pound barbecue feast featuring roast pork, collard greens, five-cheese macaroni and cheese, jalapeño cornbread, a blue cheese wedge salad, and pecan pie, all of which had to be finished in under 30 minutes. Adam recruited three members each of the Scottsdale Police and Fire Departments to take this challenge on. When the clock started, Adam advised the six challengers to eat the sides first, while Adam carved the pork. Once carved, the challengers ate the pork and sides with tremendous speed. At the halfway point, 5 pounds of the pork remained, and all side dishes were finished, save the collard greens. Soon, the challengers hit the food wall, with three of them calling for lemonade to help them with the collard greens. When 5 minutes remained, 3 pounds of pork were left, so Adam advised them to put down their forks and scoop up handfuls of the pork. This tactic worked, and the challenge was defeated with just one second remaining. For their victory, the Scottsdale Police and Fire Department members received free t-shirts and were honored with being the first challengers ever to emerge victorious in this challenge.|
|Oahu, HI||25 (83)||November 30, 2011||Food||Moose Omelette|
|Adam returned to Hawaii for the best eats on the island of Oahu. His first stop was the Haute Dog (located in Honolulu), where he tried their take on an Italian beef sandwich (notably topped with a truffle cheese sauce) before trying a "Big Hawaiian" - a foot-long hot dog topped with a multitude of ingredients, including poi barbecue sauce, pickled onions, pineapple relish, and slow-roasted Kalua pork. Afterwards, Adam traveled to Kahuku to experience its shrimp trucks - specifically, Giovanni's Aloha Shrimp Truck. There, he tried their shrimp scampi and their "hot and spicy" shrimp, the latter of which is prepared with a piri piri pepper sauce. For the challenge segment, Adam ventured to Moose McGillycuddy's in Waikiki to help fifth-grade teacher Lauren Takao take on the Moose Omelette Challenge - a 12-egg omelet filled with Swiss, Cheddar and Jack cheeses and served over four different meats (Portuguese sausage, breakfast sausage, ham and crumbled bacon), sauteed bell peppers, onions and mushrooms, and a large pile of potatoes, all of which had to be finished in under one hour. This certainly proved to be a tall order for Lauren, as this 5-pound challenge has defeated 95% of its challengers. Lauren started the challenge very strong by taking big bites while keeping a steady pace, even earning extra inspiration from her husband and daughter, as well as her fifth-grade students. Halfway through, though, she started to struggle, so Adam suggested she walk around her table a few times before going back to the challenge. He also ordered her a cup of black coffee to help the omelet go down easier. At 32 minutes in, Lauren finished half of the challenge. She soon finished 3 pounds of the omelet, but had only 15 minutes left to eat the rest of it. Fighting to the last second, Lauren ultimately ran out of time with less than 2 pounds of the challenge to go. Adam congratulated her on her valiant effort, taking down more than half of the challenge.|
|Charlotte, NC||26 (84)||April 11, 2012||Food||Big Eats|
|Adam took a trip to the "Queen City" of the South, Charlotte, North Carolina. His first stop was the Penguin, a place known for its big burgers. He tried their Penguin Double Pounder, a two-patty concoction which featured Southern toppings such as pimento cheese and crispy fried pickles. Next, he traveled to Price's Chicken Coop to try their tasty take on crispy fried chicken, as well as fried chicken livers and chicken gizzards. For the challenge segment, Adam stopped by Jackalope Jack's to help college freshman John Ahlert take on the Big Eats Challenge; Ahlert had 45 minutes to eat a plate of 25 pulled pork sliders (altogether weighing in at 5 pounds). On the line for him should he finish was a free t-shirt, a spot on the Wall of Fame, and free lunch for a year. Before the challenge, Adam tried the restaurant's "Kobe Mexicali Burger", featuring a Kobe beef patty topped with pepper jack cheese, fried jalapeño peppers, pico de gallo, and guacamole. After enjoying this unique creation, Adam joined the crowd as they cheered on John to take on the Big Eats Challenge. John had a side of fries on the plate to help him through the challenge as well. At the start of it, John looked strong as he finished 15 sliders in the first 20 minutes, all while employing Adam's strategy of combining sliders; however, by that point, John hit the food wall. Adam then recommended to him that he just focus on one slider every three minutes. John pressed on with the challenge, but slowed down again near the end and ultimately ran out of time with about 4 sliders to go.|
|Jackson, MS||27 (85)||April 11, 2012||Food||Whammy|
|In the season finale, Adam headed to Jackson, Mississippi. His first stop took him to Chimneyville smokehouse, where he tried some hickory-smoked brisket and baby back ribs topped with the restaurant's unique smoked barbecue sauce. Next, Adam journeyed to Two Sisters Kitchen, a Southern soul food buffet, to try some country-fried steak topped with tomato gravy. Afterwards, Adam headed to Hal and Mal's to partake in a catfish po' boy, all before this week's challenge segment. The challenge was at Burgers & Blues in nearby Ridgeland where Adam's protege, vegetarian Garrett Willingham, would do battle with the Whammy Challenge; he had a half-hour to finish a 3.5-pound triple decker burger, stacking together three 1-pound beef patties with a variety of toppings, along with a pound of fries and a root beer float. Having been away from meat for a long period of time, Garrett was more than happy to take this challenge on. He started strong by eating half a burger in the first 5 minutes, and highly enjoyed the taste of it. Shortly thereafter, the first patty was done as he continued to work on the Whammy, incorporating fries with each bite. Adam noted that because Garrett hadn't eaten meat in so long, his body would take time to acclimate to the taste. At about 15 minutes in, Garrett hit the food wall. The audience continued to cheer him on, and they suggested that Garrett start dunking the fries in the root beer float. This strategy worked and Garrett continued his battle. With only 5 minutes left, the float was finished, as was more than half the burger and fries. Unfortunately, though he fought hard to the end, his time ran out with still more than a pound of the challenge remaining. Though he would go back to his vegetarian ways afterwards, Garrett remarked that the burger was good and he wished he could have finished it.|
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