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Meat Sweats

Again: why won't anyone vote Nookie off?!

By Monica A. Reyhani

Welome back, my little empanadas! I hope you all had a restful and delicious July 4th. We're almost at the end -- this week in Buenos Aires represents the penultimate episode. We're down to four.

Avery had to pick her partner for this episode and obviously selects Nookie, leaving John with LIz to team up. Let's get right on Course. First, the chefs have to take a taxi to the Rincon Norteno Empanada Shop. There, they have to make and sell 80 empanadas to the locals. While none of the chefs claim to have any empanada experience, John makes a comment that he used to make calzones at a pizza shop, and they're the same thing. Honestly, he's not too far off. Avery says that since she and Nookie are used to cooking for the masses, they have an advantage. And apparently she was right. They plow through their empanadas much faster than John and Liz, partially due to the fact that Liz burned an entire batch. Has anyone else noticed that Liz has a sense of urgency in her interviews, but she doesn't seem to have it in the kitchen? She knows what she should be doing, but just doesn't do it! Poor, John. 

The next goal for both teams is to find Parque Rivadavia and sell 150 pesos worth of empanadas. Nookie and Avery actualy get off to a slow start, selling each empanada for $5. This is mostly due to the fact that Avery does her math wrong. Liz actually very astutely says that her team could sell two for $5 and still have enough. Althoguh I thought this actually might pay off for them, it doesn't. Nookie and Avery still win. Avery is thankful to have Nookie on her team and she should be. I think it woud have been a very different scenario had Liz made that mathematical error on Nookie's team -- he wouldn't have been as forgiving. Also, on a total sidenote, how awesome were the locals? When Nookie offered one gentleman kisses from Avery he replies, "My woman is enormous," implying she could fight Avery. I lost it over this. After selling their empanadas, the chefs have to find Cat and Curtis at Puerto Madero. Although John and Liz are the more athletic pair, Nookie and Avery still win -- rickety subway and all. Next time I complain about the NYC subway (I'm a bus girl), i will remember that thing they rode on. Yikes. 

For the Takeover, the chefs will be serving a family-style Argentinian meal at La Tranquera. I have actually never been to an authentic Argentinian restaurant, but I love meat, so I don't know what I'm waiting for. Since Nookie and Avery won the Exceptional Ingredient, they get time to see how to properly grill meat Argentinian-style. This includes goat, which Avery then takes on as her dish. Nooie goes with a skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, which sounds like Argentinian food for dummies to me. Liz tries to redeem herself from earlier by making empanadas, which is either really smart, or really, um, not smart. John makes a vegetable dish. 

Let's start with Liz, who makes chorizo and corn empanadas, which are literally two of my favorite things on earth, so I would've loved to try these. Everyone enjoys them. In fact, one of the locals asks for a recipe. And in case anyone was wondering, you eat empanada with your hands. She wins Most Valuable Chef, which we'll get back to in a moment.

The diners also love Avery's goat, probably the most traditional of all the dishes. Avery reveals her favorite part of cooking is butchery and filleting. I think this says something about her but i'm not quite sure what that is.

John's vegetarian dish shockingly did not go over well with the Argentinians. I actually think he would've been cut some slack by Curtis, etc. had it actually tasted good, but the execution was still a little off. I'll never fault someone for trying to balance a meal by including a vegetable, though.

And Nookie cut his meat, which is a huge no-no. And it was overcooked. Since the meat continues to cook at the table, it just went way over. And he knew that but obviously said to Cat and Curtis that he didn't take it into account. His chimichurri was also sizzling.

So the vote was down to John, Avery, and Nookie. Although I thought John was slightly delusional in thinking he was part of the real alliance, Avery did say "I have an alliance with Nookie and John." Yet, John got voted off. I have to say I'm continually confounded by people not voting for Nookie. I really think if Avery had voted for him, she could've focused on beating John and LIz in the final -- two people who remain their own worst enemies. But now she has to worry about one of the best competitors in the competition. I just don't get it. Although Cat praises Avery for wanting to win against the best in the finale, which I can appreciate, at this point in the game, I don't believe Nookie would have done the same. Also, I don't know that Nookie has proven that he's the best chef, so Avery could've felt OK about voting him off. But, anyway...

Next week we'll find the chefs in Uruguay! Until then, Have a Nosh!

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