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Everything posted by MaLO

  1. Meldlar in Chelsea, The Ledbury in Notting Hill and Hedone in Chiswick are among my favourites in London. Closer to your hotel and as a starter: Pollen St Social / Little Social / Social Eating House. http://www.pollenstreetsocial.com/restaurants/london/ Gymkhana / http://www.gymkhanalondon.com/ Benares http://www.benaresrestaurant.com/ Trishna http://www.trishnalondon.com/ WildHoney http://www.wildhoneyrestaurant.co.uk/ Alyn Williams http://www.alynwilliams.com/ Bubbledogs & kitchen table http://www.bubbledogs.co.uk/home Scotts http://www.scotts-restaurant.com/ Hawksmoor http://thehawksmoor.com/ Goodman http://www.goodmanrestaurants.com/home Bar Boulud http://www.barboulud.com/london/ The Square and Le Gavroche are also near. You can easily walk to Marylebone, Soho, Knightsbridge - Lots of areas nearby. All sorts of great food at all price points. I also enjoy a drink in the basement bar at Fortnum and Mason, The new bar in Selfridges (if you are shopping) looks quite nice - 2850 isn't far either. The Masons and The Guinea Grill are not bad for a pint. Drinks are always interesting in Sketch and food ranges from afternoon tea to 2* Gagaiare food. Try the sampler in South Kensington for wine and nibbles (its a wine shop) or go to Apereo in the ampersand hotel for good food and drinks - there is another good cheese shop La Cave a Fromage very near by that you can eat in. Ten minutes walk from here you can eat very good Spanish food at Cambio De Terico. Coffee at http://www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk/ Dose http://www.dose-espresso.com/about.html Many good places many are terrible..... There are so many places to choose from.
  2. http://m.catererandhotelkeeper.co.uk/Article.aspx?cat=news&id=349966 The AA awards from last night.
  3. <p>On our most recent trip to Frascati we decided that we would head into Rome for lunch. I considered all the usual options but settled on Metamorfosi.</p> <p> </p> <p>Getting to the restaurant from Frascati is not too difficult. You get the train to Termini then a bus from Termini. It takes an hour or maybe less. So that’s what we did. </p> <p> </p> <p>We arrived at the restaurant and made our way inside to be told that they were closed and would be open that evening. I had booked online a few weeks prior to our reservation, so I showed our confirmation email. There was an awkward moment while the restaurant people decided what to do with us, but happily they invited us in apologising for the mix up. </p> <p> </p> <p>So, after a slightly odd start, we were shown to our table and gifted a large glass of champagne each. A very good way to make things right.</p> <p> </p> <p>There are a few menu options at Metamorfosi. The prices range from about €35 to €100. I would have gone for the biggest menu but that was not available. Menu "Gustando the classics" was available so that’s what we ordered. We did ask to switch the meat main course so the we got Wagyu beef “per-fumé” with hazelnuts mushrooms and tarragon and Squab in fig leaf foie gras and apple. </p> <p> </p> <p>I don’t write notes so pardon my lack of detail. It was the end of July and now is late September....</p> <p> </p> <p>Bread came in two services and was good. I particularly liked the olive oil ice cream served as butter. The bread was good.</p> <p> </p> <p>Amuse was Chicken with curry spices and tiny herbs. </p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>Raw Piedmontese Fassona expression of the moment. Very good. I love raw food. Pure and clean. Nuts and herbs to add flavour and texture.</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>Carbonara egg 65°came with fried pasta and pork skin. All very good.</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>Spaghetti Masciarelli mussel powder and perfumes of the sea was next. No photo but it was as described, with plenty of kitchen trickery to add some real flavour. Quite spicy-hot, if recall properly.</p> <p> </p> <p>Squab in fig leaf foie gras and apple. This was not mine but my share was really good.</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>Wagyu beef “per-fumé” with hazelnuts mushrooms and tarragon was mine and was very, very nice.</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Next was a cheese course. Blue cheese and white chocolate as a lollypop and port gel. My preference is cheese. Good cheese, little or nothing with it. This was ok but not a replacement for a proper cheese course.</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>Dessert was White chocolate with caramelized bananas and Armagnac. Not my favourite flavours. It was in no way unpleasant but I would have chosen something else. Petits fours were good although I have no idea what they were!</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>We opted to take the wine pairing. It was ok. Nothing amazing. I had a couple of fantastic wine pairings in London at Medlar and Hedone on the day before this trip so they had a hard task following this pair. If you ever go to Medlar or Hedone the wine pairings are excellent, well worth asking for. I would advise caution in terms of the wine pairing at Metamorfosi. The wine list is good. If you have much money or excellent wine knowledge you will be fine, do your own thing, otherwise ask for advice based on the cash you want to spend. The wine pairing is not terrible; although I feel it could be more interesting and the list might offer better value.</p> <p> </p> <p>Metamorfosi is good. The prices are very reasonable (especially the set menus) by Rome standards and the food is very enjoyable. I think it would have been a more enjoyable experience if the restaurant was busy. I don’t quite know what happened with the not open at lunchtime problem. We did get fed very well though and the champagne made amends nicely. After lunch we went sightseeing and visited a few bars we knew from past visits. A personal favourite being AI TRE SCALINI, not far from termini or the Coliseum and a nice little place.</p> <p> </p> <p></p> <p> </p> <p>If you walk toward the coliseum you will find a small square where you can sit outside in the evening sun (if you can find a bar that is not too annoying – they can be a bit odd) and listen to the music and enjoy the life. </p> <p> </p> <p></p>
  4. I was thinking I might try one of the menus with paired wine, if I make it there. I will be on public transport from San Sebastian so I may not make it. I thought it might make a decent day trip.
  5. The Good Food Guide is out and L'enclume is top replacing The Fat Duck. http://www.thegoodfoodguide.co.uk/news/top-10-uk-restaurants The Michelin Guide is due towards the end of September (25th I think) but if last year is anything to go by, who knows when the news will break. Predictions?
  6. MaLO


    I went back to Frascati at the end of July. Inevitably we did many of the things we enjoyed on previous visits with the addition of a walk to Grottaferrata for lunch. We looked at Taverna Dello Spuntino and it did look very tempting but was a bit pricey for our lunchtime requirements and we had just walked about three miles in 100 degree heat. We settled on Osteria Furlani. It was very busy and very reasonably priced. We had a plate of grilled vegetables to share and a pasta each and it was all delicious. Grilled Vegetables Pasta - pancetta, lardo, tomato Pasta - speck and coutgette It is well worth giving this place a try should you be in the area. Very good pasta, amazingly drinkable wine for E4 a litre. I had hoped to get a taxi back to the hotel as it was the same walk in the same heat but up hill all the way. There were no taxis. I think I may have had a calorie neutral lunch. We also had a very nice lunch at Zaraza in Frascati. I will add a bit more another time.....
  7. Try Bar Boulud or goodman for a burger, there are lot less expensive burger options too. A ginger pig sausage roll is a great thing.(Marylebone or Borough market and other places) Lunch at Pollen st social is a bargain although the booze is a bit pricey. The Dairy in Clapham is quite new and looks good. Zucca or Jose, Bermondsey St - not far from Borough market. Cassis or Apero cold be worth a look. I ate well in Apero very reasonably. Tasting lunch at Hedone. Sit at the counter. A bit over budget but have a modest breakfast and dinner you are in for a treat.
  8. Has anyone tried L'Atelier in Biarritz? http://www.latelierbiarritz.com/site/ Or any other choices (without a car) in the area?
  9. How much are you planning to spend per person per meal - or total per meal without booze?
  10. Had an excellent dinner at Medlar a few weeks ago. We ate Ajo blanco with scallop, apple, celery. A similar dish featured on the recent Simon Hopkinson programme so I was happy to give it a try. Tripe with polenta, fennel, tomato and gremolata. Tripe being another of those ingredients that don't commonly feature in many UK restaurants. This was a very tasty plateful, tender and meaty. The polenta was also very good. I generally dislike polenta but this was excellent. We also tried seabream carpaccio with tempura prawn, sauce vierge and cucumber. I do like raw food. Delicate and fresh, this was very nice. Foie and prune terrine with brioche was also good. Rich, sweet and very indulgent. On to mains. I opted for 55 day middlewhite pork with carrot purée and cider sauce. This was quite a plateful. Assorted cuts and preparations, good vegetables and a good sauce. Different textures and very good flavours made for a very nice plate. Ballotine of rabbit with roast leg, potato terrine and sauce nicoise. Not mine but the bit I tried was very nice. Next came a board of Comte from Bernard Antony Desserts were elderflower jelly with roast apricot, gooseberry, yoghurt sorbet and hazelnut crumble. Quite a welcome light fruit / acid flavour and pleasingly cool Lemon curd ice cream with blackcurrant compote and meringues also made an appearance and was very nice on a hot evening. And finally Pine kernel and cherry tart with clotted cream An excellent meal. The food at Medlar is simply very good to eat. The cooking is good and the portions generous. It is one of those places where everything on the is menu appealing too. We also had a wine pairing that was equally impressive. Really excellent service, really good food and wine. The photos are not great but it was getting dark and I didn't want to use flash. There was enough flash from the thunderstorm outside!
  11. First try of the Clove Club for lunch a week or two ago. We got there a bit early so had time to have a look around the area. Not been around this part of town before. I don’t know what it’s like in the evenings but there was not much going on. There were a few bars setting up but looked to me like they were trying a bit too hard to be cool with mismatched furniture and recycled old tat. There was a street market on Hoxton St (I think) that had a few stalls doing food or drinks and a whole lot of cheap clothing and other junk. Not particularly impressive. I may not have seen the best of the area as I was only there for an hour or so. So off we went to lunch. The menu at lunch time is set up with firstly snacks, then two choices over three courses. We asked for one of everything as it all read well and we would share. Happily the kitchen sent us out a plate each of each course. We had snacks Buttermilk fried chicken and pine salt Radishes with sesame and gochuchang Wood pigeon sausages with ten bells ketchup Starters were Mantua melon with house cured meats and rocket Grilled Mackerel tartare, gooseberries and English mustard Mains. Fried red mullet, courgette, potato and Indian spices Confit Barbary duck, new seasons corn and runner beans For dessert we had baked meadowsweet custard with raspberries And a sheep's milk yoghurt mousse with blackcurrant, beremeal and verbena. All in all it was good. The food was nicely cooked and presented. Service was casual and friendly. It was good value for money and I would happily go back.
  12. If you enjoyed this back then you might like this too. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/the-trip-televisions-odd-couple-take-a-romantic-new-journey-to-italy-8590711.html
  13. I have no idea why the cheese pic is at the end. It is great cheese though so perhaps it is quite proper that the cheese hogs the spotlight!! Oh, i didn't mention the compressed water mellon and caviar either....................
  14. Sunday lunch at fraiche is my new favourite thing. Excellent food, great wines, brilliant service. To eat - spiced pecans first. Next; mussels in a light creamy sauce with yuzu,and herbs. Hens egg slowly cooked with a couple of preperations of cauilflower followed. Very, very delicioius. Russet potatoes came with feta and watercress and truffle. Monkfish with olive and blood orange was beautiful. Black faced lamb with leeks, salsify and shallots. This was marvellous too! We each had some cheese. James keeps a great cheese trolley. Two different desserts. Mine was pear. The other was passion fruit and coffee meringues and other good stuff We had nice wine, Elena Walch cab sauv, a reisling and other good stuff too! Very decent prices too. A great Sunday lunch. Food and service was fantastic. If you have not been you should give it a go!
  15. A few months back I had lunch at Medlar. When we were there we were having a chat with David, the boss who recommended Sticky Walnut in Chester. With Christmas and one thing or another I only managed to get to go for the first time about a month ago, I returned the weekend just gone. Hoole is on the outskirts of central Chester, probably about fifteen minutes walk from the station. We drove on this occasion and were able to park for free just around the corner from the restaurant. Hoole is quite an interesting little area, there are a number of quite nice shops, clothes, butchers, fishmongers and a few bars too. On both visits we ate from the lunch menu, with the addition of a pigeon starter from the evening menu. There were plenty of appealing options on both menus. For starters we have had roasted beets, quail eggs, ricotta and peanut praline. Looked good, tasted good. Pigeon with morcilla came from the dinner menu. It was served with chorizo instead of the morcilla and I enjoyed it although I might have preferred it with the morcilla. Second visit started with ox tongue with beef croquettes with artichokes and another of Mackerel which came as a tartare and seared. For mains we have had beef shin with gnocchi and sprouting broccoli, which was another nice looking plate. Rich tender beef and nicely cooked gnocchi and veg. My main was quail wellington and it was really good. Second visit mains were sardines on foccacia with pine nuts and roasted grapes and I chose stuffed pork belly with red cabbage. First visit we shared a crème brulee to finish and it too was very good. Second time we had sticky toffee pudding with praline ice cream and a very delicious chocolate ganache with salted caramel and chocolate orange macaroon. Chocolate ganache with salted caramel and chocolate orange macaroon Good cooking, friendly service, good value. Well worth a look if you are in the area.
  16. Restaurante Alameda is in Hondarribia. We got there by bus from San Sebastian. It took about 40 minutes and costs less than €5.00 return. I picked Alameda because Akalare and Mugaritz were shut, Arzak is in the midst of opening in London and I was struggling to justify the €500+ bill at Martin Berastegui. Hondarribia is an interesting looking small town to the north of San Sebastian heading towards the French border. There is a 10th century Parador that would be a good place to stay for a couple of nights exploring the bars and restaurants in town. On arrival we were offered our choice of tables as there was only one other taken at two pm. Over the course of lunch another four or five tables were filled making for a nice relaxed atmosphere, busy enough to occupy the staff but not so busy to be stretched. For lunch we opted for the largest tasting menu with wine pairing. First course was a plump oyster of Aranchon with cauliflower cream, seaweed and citrus. This was really tasty and fresh, a little crisp apple to offset the plump oyster and a light briny, citrusy sauce to help things along. Crispy blood pudding, hazelnuts, truffle cabbage and baked apple was the second course. I like black pudding in all of its guises and I liked this. Soft rich pudding came with a bit of crunchy texture, sweet apple then earthy truffled cabbage. Scallops ravioli hinted towards Asian techniques in so much as the ravioli was more like an Asian dumpling than Italian pasta. The filling was a tasty mixture of chopped scallops and herbs and the chestnut soup was light and without any of the powdery, floury consistency chestnut soups and purees can sometimes have. “Butakaku” Iberian pork with green apple. This was quite an interesting plateful. I think it was described as Japanese in cooking style. It was a long cooked pork jowl; about 60:40 fat to meat so very rich. The fat and flesh was cooked until it was spectacularly delicate and then finished with a rich glaze. If anything it was a little too rich altogether. The acidic apple element did lighten the dish overall but I think I would have preferred the fat to meat ratio to have been reversed. Still good though. Fish of the day was Sea bass. This was the best piece of bass I have eaten. It was a very fresh, thick lump of exceptionally tasty fish, cooked just through. The Seaweed citrus broth was another slightly Asian touch in its gelatinous texture. An affection for gelatinous textures is common in Basque cuisine too so it may well be that it is classically Basque. I enjoyed this a lot. Final savoury course was roast pigeon with black chilli sauce. I have eaten quite a bit of pigeon over the last year and this was as good as any of the others. The offal parfait was quite a distinct and strong flavour but the chutney took the sharp, irony edges off this quite well. The legs and breast were good, well flavoured and cooked nicely. The mole was a little more subtle than it might have been in an ideal world although I suppose big, punchy chilli flavours might have been a bit of a shock. First dessert was olive oil ravioli with red fruits. It was light and fruity and a good option after the savoury courses. Final dessert was a smoked sheeps milk ice cream with bitter orange and crumble. It has to be said that this was not the most elaborate dessert I have encountered. It was however, delicious. To finish we had a selection of petits fours. The wine pairing was good. We went through five whites, one red and a dessert wine. I didn’t make any notes about particular producers etc but each wine was well paired with the food and was a decent pour too. There was also an amuse and good bread too. Service was very good, friendly and multi-lingual. I really enjoyed lunch here. I may have enjoyed one of the 3* places more but two people were very well fed with a selection of good wine for the price of one in one of the 3* places. Well worth consideration if you are in San Sebastian.
  17. Elkano is in Getaria, a small harbour village about twenty minutes on the bus from San Sebastian. It costs about €3 for the round trip by bus. There are a number of restaurants in town, each with a charcoal grill outside cooking the days catch or whatever else they can over the coals. Wandering around I saw monkfish, large sole, artichokes with bacon and beef on the grills. Getaria smells good. Elkano is not particularly cheap. The menu lists starters from €12 to over €30 and the mains I was interested in were priced by the kilo. Helpfully we were assisted in choosing a couple of half portions of starters and then the reason we were there, a whole grilled turbot to share. We started with Hake Kokotxas three ways, grilled, fried and with green sauce. These were good. They have quite an interesting gelatinous texture and a good clean fish taste. This was my first try of kokotxas and I would definitely order them again. We were served four each. Next came baked spider crab. This was a simple but very delicious preparation. Take some delicious bread, pile some hot crab on and eat. Perfect. The main event was the turbot. This particular one was a little over 1.5 kilos. It was more or less perfect. After we had eaten the fillets we were given the option of having the head, ventresca and remaining good bits recovered for us and an explanation of what we were eating. The head yielded cheeks, throat and more delicious gelatinous goo. We were then encouraged to eat the chest / belly and remaining flesh with our fingers. It was surprising just how much more delicious eating was to be had from what looked like, and usually is waste when I grill a turbot at home. There was no garnish of any kind and it was all the better for it. As perfect a piece of fish as you could hope for. I was a little concerned that the bill would be €€€’s but the starters were charged as half portions and worked out at about €17. Given that we shared both the kokotxas and the crab and there was plenty (both plated separately), this was a bargain. We passed on dessert. Those that we saw looked good though. The wine list had plenty of bargains too. We drank Egly-Ouriet for €40something. Kripta was around €40 too. There is a place near to home that sells Kripta for £79.95. There are plenty of bargains to be had on the wine front. Really excellent.
  18. Not been to lotm but I think they have recently changed chef. Not sure if this is for the better or worse. Other suggestions. A few places I fancy trying that might fit the bill - Whatley manor, The Montagu arms and Hambleton hall. Not been to any of them because they are a bit of a trek and a bit pricey, especially if you stay over. Maybe others will have been and can add something more useful! The couple of lunches I had at Pennyhill park were very good too, althouh the hotel doesn't feel too country house.
  19. Nothing on this thread for a year then twice in a day. I had lunch here a couple of weekends ago. Only been one before and had the lunch menu. This time we had a variation on the tasting menu. The standard tasting is not served at lunch time so we got a selection from the lunch menu and some from the tasting. To start we got some nibbles; olives, brandade, pork cracking and apple purée. First course was Crab, nashi pear with cauliflower. Good flavours, light and fresh. I could have eaten much more of this one. Tartare of fallow deer with beetroot followed. Another light, flavourful dish. The beetroot had gone through a number of processes before it ended up on the plate. It was good although it would have been interesting to try some 'plain' to see if it was worth the effort. Slow cooked egg, bacon, parsley and salt cod came next. This was one of the starters from the lunch menu. A more substantial plateful than the full English served on the tasting. It was good. No particular surprises except for a little fish bone. Bacon and egg, it'll never catch on. Next was Turbot with cauliflower cheese purée, clam, roast carrot and cauliflower / clam chowder. Turbot is a big favourite of mine and this was very nice, a good depth of flavour to the sauce and a nice bit of fish. A few more clams wouldn’t have gone amiss though. We opted for one of each meat mains so we got Best end of salt marsh lamb, braised shoulder with lamb floss, chervil root, black cabbage, truffle purée and Black Angus fillet, miso egg plant, roasted salsify, charred onions. They brought side plates and we shared. I think I preferred the lamb. The truffle purée was particularly good. I dont remember there being any egg plant with the beef but there was some very nice oxtail served in the bone. First dessert was Pear sorbet, aerated poire william, walnut powder. Final course was 70% Chocolate ganache, banana ice cream, sesame crumble, Pedro Ximenez, chocolate coral. This was quite a plateful. Quite a few textures and flavours. Very enjoyable. We drank by the glass and let the sommelier choose for us. We had some house Anjou, dry furmint, a delicious white burgundy and finally a Pinot noir. All in all very good.
  20. The bland truffle thing is odd. Little point in using anything if its not at its best, those who know how it should be are unimpressed and those that dont are left wondering what is the point of this expensive. On the subject of the demise of the board - to post yesterday I had to reset my password as I had forgotten it!!
  21. Had an enjoyable pre Christmas lunch with my folks here. The Simon Radley restaurant is seldom open at lunch. It's much less hassle getting there and home during the day on the train so we went, I doubt we would have gone at night. The menu had four options per course at £37 and pleasingly there was no additional charge for cheese instead of dessert. Between us we covered most of the menu with the exception of the vegetarian options. Food wise I everyone enjoyed their choices. I ate langoustines with sweetbreads avocado and truffle. It was a little more refined than necessary but nice enough. The truffle was a little muted flavour wise. I think the oyster caviar starter went down best although the scallops looked good. For main I took Herdwick mutton loin, shoulder pudding, green sauce and sweet garlic. This was quite good. The loin had a distinct flavour however the pudding suffered slightly from over refinement too. I would have preferred a proper steamed pudding than the sliced meat and suet 'terrine' for want of a better word. Not bad though. The mallard main went down well too. Then cheese. The couple of times I ate here previously I missed the cheese. Not today. I think three of us took cheese so we shared a little of quite a lot of cheese. It was all good. The accompanying beer jelly, dried fruits and other bits went down well. Those that had dessert opted for chocolate and speculoos gallette with hot liquid cherry; apparently quite rich but very nice. No bread trolley but still some good bread was offered. There was also amuse and pre dessert and PF’s to end made for a good couple of hours.
  22. In no particular order Al Pont De Ferr (Milan) Sat out on the canalside. Some interesting ideas and tasty food. The Ledbury. A number of very good meals. My favourite. Sra Bua (Bangkok) A refined take on Thai food. The Ritz. Perfect family celebration venue. Good food, Grand room, horrific wine prices. Fraiche. Menu black and regular tasting both very good. Alyn Williams. One of the first of the year and a spur of the moment trip to London. The truffle egg dish was excellent but all was enjoyable. Cracco (Milan). Fantastic food. A bit lacking in atmosphere and pricey but good. The Square. A very greedy lunch. Hedone. Looking forward to returning here some time next year. There seemed to be more kitchen staff than on my first visit. Should get better and better. The Nut Tree. Perfect summer day in the garden (not many of those), good beer, innexpensive wine and very good food. There may have been a couple of others worth a mention but these will do for now.
  23. I did notice my creme crime after posting but couldnt be arsed changing it... Did you decide on venues for your London trip John?
  24. Lunched at Medlar on Saturday. It was good. For those that don't know it is about fifteen minutes walk from South Kensington or Gloucester Rd tube. We ate Crab raviolo with samphire, brown shrimps, fondue of leeks and bisque sauce. It was good, good pasta, plenty of crab, well flavoured sauce. It reminded me a little of the crab lasagne the Square does. Duck egg tart with red wine sauce, turnip purée, lardons and sautéed duck heart was equally well done. It was quite a big portion, rich and tasty. For mains we opted for veal rump with crisp brain and globe artichokes. I tried only a little of this. The crisp, creamy brain was good as was the garlicky artichoke. The veal rump was done nicely too. Cornish brill with jerusalem artichoke purée, braised chicken wings, crisp pancetta and salsify was my choice. Brill is up there with John Dory and Turbot in terms of my favourite fish. I can't say I am as big a fan of puréed artichoke though, it was fine if you like it, I am not fussed (although I ate the lot!). So, meaty, sticky chicken wings and a shard of crisp pancetta and some wild mushrooms and a couple of pieces of good fish was happily demolished. We shared a generous cheese board with a particularly enjoyable vacherin (but all good) then shared a crime brûlée. This is good eating food. It looks good on the plate and the menu is full of appealing items. The portions are generous too; not too dainty or fiddled with. Wines were selected for us and were very enjoyable. I don't have notes of exactly what they all were but the burgundy with mains was very enjoyable, sherry with the cheese was an interesting change and the Croatian sweet wine with the brûlée went down well too. As suggested above, it's well worth a visit.
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