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Dining in Las Vegas: Part 1


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[quote name=Elrushbo' date='Feb 5 2007

How's the ala carte menu? We went to Prime last trip, and loved it. Their steak was flawless-medium rare with a nice char crust and the best sauces.

We were a party of four,and did a mix of ala carte and the tasting. I reviewed the thread robuchon before we went and while some of the dishes had changed, many were the same. They did an excellent job of combining our meals and we are planning to go back next trip.

We've also been to craftsteak three times as well as craft in Dallas and while most of our meals have been good(one really bad night-food&service) it's not what I consider a steakhouse. The sides and the sharing are the strengths. Prime and Delmonico are more typical with Prime being our favorite in LV, though I know others prefer Delmonico. I'm looking forward to hearing a report on Stripsteak.

Edited by nyokie6 (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, so we leave on Monday and I am far less planned for this trip than usual, but hubby claims that is a good thing! We've just dug ourselves out of two feet of snow so I will be happy to see the sun!

One question, how long should we set aside for our dinner at L'Atelier? Would it be safe to buy tickets for the 10:30 Jubilee show at Bally's after a 7:00 dinner reservation?

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

--

food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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Okay, so we leave on Monday and I am far less planned for this trip than usual, but hubby claims that is a good thing!  We've just dug ourselves out of two feet of snow so I will be happy to see the sun!

One question, how long should we set aside for our dinner at L'Atelier?  Would it be safe to buy tickets for the 10:30 Jubilee show at Bally's after a 7:00 dinner reservation?

That should be fine...let them know that you have a time issue and you will make it.

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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  • 4 weeks later...
Hi,

I'm staying at Caesar's for three nights. We having dinner at Nero's tonight. Any other must haves at this hotel? We don't have to eat here every night, but since we are fully comped, it would ne nice.

Thanks

Bradley Ogden for sure. Maybe not the best restaurant on the Strip, but easily the best at Caesars. Mesa Grill isn't bad.

At Caesar's make sure to check out Guy Savoy. It is an excellent and crisp dining experience. Skip MESA GRILL, truly not BAD...but not memorable at all! Enjoy

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll be spending three nights in Vegas a few months from now. Here are the places I plan on visiting. Please give me your thoughts.

Dinner:

Mesa Grill. This is not my choice. I'm going with extended family, and my mother insists on taking my grandfather here because "he will LOVE it!"

Guy Savoy for the tasting menu. Enough said. I'm really looking forward to this.

B & B Ristorante. I had written this place off until I recently found out that they serve a menu almost identical to Babbo's. Sure, my NYC Babbo experience was less than great, but I figure I'll give them another shot. If I don't dine here then I'll head to Atelier. I visited this outpost last year, so I want to try something different. I'm still not ruling it out. I'll have to see what reports come in from B&B, I guess...

Breakfast/Lunch:

Bouchon. I had a very weak dinner there last year, but everyone seems to rave about their breakfasts. I'll give it a shot.

A buffet. No clue where yet. Suggestions?

Lotus of Siam. I have to visit this famous place at least once.

Other:

Cafe Bellagio. No real reason for this except I enjoyed reading Cooked, and I'm sure I'll be hungry for something at 3 am at some point.

Afternoon tea at Bellagio: I'm staying there, I love high tea, so why not?

Please feel free to offer any input.

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I'll be spending three nights in Vegas a few months from now.  Here are the places I plan on visiting.  Please give me your thoughts.

Dinner:

Mesa Grill.  This is not my choice.  I'm going with extended family, and my mother insists on taking my grandfather here because "he will LOVE it!"

Guy Savoy for the tasting menu.  Enough said.  I'm really looking forward to this.

B & B Ristorante.  I had written this place off until I recently found out that they serve a menu almost identical to Babbo's.  Sure, my NYC Babbo experience was less than great, but I figure I'll give them another shot.  If I don't dine here then I'll head to Atelier.  I visited this outpost last year, so I want to try something different.  I'm still not ruling it out.  I'll have to see what reports come in from B&B, I guess...

Breakfast/Lunch:

Bouchon.  I had a very weak dinner there last year, but everyone seems to rave about their breakfasts.  I'll give it a shot.

A buffet.  No clue where yet.  Suggestions?

Lotus of Siam.  I have to visit this famous place at least once.

Other:

Cafe Bellagio.  No real reason for this except I enjoyed reading Cooked, and I'm sure I'll be hungry for something at 3 am at some point.

Afternoon tea at Bellagio:  I'm staying there, I love high tea, so why not?

Please feel free to offer any input.

Just a few tips and comments:

Do you have your reservations for Savoy already? I ask because they will be closing for 3 weeks this summer and I would hate for you to be disappointed.

I'd do the Bellagio buffet, though I haven't been to the Wynn buffet yet.

The afternoon tea at Petrosian in Bellagio is great. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance, so plan ahead.

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Just a few tips and comments:

Do you have your reservations for Savoy already? I ask because they will be closing for 3 weeks this summer and I would hate for you to be disappointed.

I'd do the Bellagio buffet, though I haven't been to the Wynn buffet yet.

The afternoon tea at Petrosian in Bellagio is great. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance, so plan ahead.

No reservations at Savoy yet. They only take them three months out to the day, so this is not possible at this point. I plan on calling the first day this is an option. I knew there was a possibility they would be closed at the time, so I have Joel Robuchon @ The Mansion as the backup plan. If for odd reason they are both closed or I cannot get in, then I will have to "settle" for Alex.

Thank you for the tip about Petrosian. I was completely unaware of that. Otherwise, I know I would have just walked in one afternoon thinking that getting a seat would not be a problem.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the Spice Market buffet?

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I'm going on an impromptu trip to Las Vegas this weekend, staying at the Mirage. I managed to convince the rest of my traveling companions (family) to try out B & B Ristorante, but I fear I'll have to explain every item on the menu to them, as they're not quite as into the "culture" of food as I. Fortunately the menu is nearly identical to Babbo's, so I can draw on reviews and pictures of those dishes to educate my family.

I'll come back next week with pictures and a review.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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When did Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante at the Venetian open up? It must have been really recent.

Restorer, enjoy your time in Las Vegas.

From what I've gathered, it opened April 10th. I'll be there on the 28th. I've been practicing my low-light photography techniques with my old point-and-shoot. Sometimes I have to get clever about the settings (since not very much is manually adjustable).

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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I'm going on an impromptu trip to Las Vegas this weekend, staying at the Mirage. I managed to convince the rest of my traveling companions (family) to try out B & B Ristorante, but I fear I'll have to explain every item on the menu to them, as they're not quite as into the "culture" of food as I. Fortunately the menu is nearly identical to Babbo's, so I can draw on reviews and pictures of those dishes to educate my family.

I'll come back next week with pictures and a review.

Since the menu is almost the same as Babbo, you have to be REALLY careful if you are bringing people that do not like or are not familiar with offal. I speak from experience. I dragged my family to Babbo about a year and a half ago. They were very unexcited with the menu.

I'm really looking forward to your report.

Edited by stetson99 (log)
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Since the menu is almost the same as Babbo, you have to be REALLY careful if you are bringing people that do not like or are not familiar with offal.  I speak from experience.  I dragged my family to Babbo about a year and a half ago.  They were very unexcited with the menu.

I'm really looking forward to your report.

As far as I can tell, only 4 out of the 41 dishes on the menu are offal. I think that's a ratio that my family can handle. My mother's the type to say, "ooh, neat" and point it out to my brother, and then procede to choose something different. I think they'll both find good stuff on the menu, once they know what most of that stuff is.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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I try to get to Las Vegas 2-3 times a year. I'm probably an oddball Las Vegas traveller-I go for the food-not the gambling. Probably the biggest shock to people on their first trip is the high prices for dining. The days of the cheap eats are long gone.

Here are some personal observations from recent trips that may help some of you who are planning a trip to Las Vegas:

-I prefer the buffets at Bellagio, Wynn, TI (formerly Treasure Island, TI is the new, supposedly more edgy name), or The Mirage for breakfast. TI and The Mirage are a bit cheaper-and a bit more trendy and modern in terms of decor and menu. At the breakfast buffet at TI they even had a "donut bar" where they made fresh mini-donuts and then had a huge selection of different frostings and garnishes. It was about $20 including tax and tip.

-Border Grille at Mandalay Bay is a nice spot for a casual lunch. Not to spendy and I like a table outside to watch the people going through the 'lazy river' part of the pool. It's the Las Vegas outpost of the "Two Hot Tamales" Mary Sue Miliken and Susan Feiniger. Good authentic mexican cuisine and really good drinks. I'd estimate you could pay around $25 for lunch with a couple of drinks and tip.

-The cafe at Spago that looks out on the forum shops at Caesar's is another nice casual lunch spot. It's not as formal as the dining room and great for people watching. Very good Blueberry Mojito's. With lunch, a couple of glasses of wine, dessert and a tip, I probably spend around $40-$50 for lunch. I know, $50 sounds very high for lunch but that isn't out of the question in Las Vegas.

-If I want a casual dinner without having to go through the whole sit-down at a table experience, I like the buffets at both Wynn or Bellagio. Dinner is up to about $30 per person. But I've had everything from fresh sardine salad and Elk tenderloin at Bellagio's buffet to 6 different flavors of sorbet at the desert bar at the buffet at Wynn.

-I love going over to the Chinatown section-for lunch and to get some snacks to keep in my hotel room. You can take the city bus, a cab or drive. It's about 10 minutes from the strip-just to the left over the freeway, going west. Check out Mapquest. There is a 99 Ranch Market that has lots of great Asian and Mexican ingredients. You'll find Chinese barbecue spots, takeout, sitdown restaurants, a few bakeries, a good place for authentic Chinese food. I like to keep a little roast pork or roast duck in the room to snack on.

-I like Craftsteak at the MGM. You'll be treated to great food products simply cooked. Don't expect a lot of fancy flourishes on the plate or overly formal service, but fresh, seasonal foods and prime meat. The ordering can be a bit confusing for some people-you'll see columns on the menu with headers that simply say "Grilled" and then list the meats-like NY Strip, Lamb Loin and Kurobata Pork. There may be a listing called "Chilled" under appetizers and then items like Florida Stone Crab Claws. Prices usually are listed as just numbers without a dollar sign-like 5-Olympia Oysters. So the menu looks pretty stark but the food is anything but-It's my favorite steakhouse right now. Expect to pay on average $40 just for the steak. Last time I was there I had the Lobster Bisque to start and it was $18.

I am going to be in Las Vegas later in the week of May 13. The highlight, I hope, is going to be a private dinner at Guy Savoy.

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As far as I can tell, only 4 out of the 41 dishes on the menu are offal. I think that's a ratio that my family can handle. My mother's the type to say, "ooh, neat" and point it out to my brother, and then procede to choose something different. I think they'll both find good stuff on the menu, once they know what most of that stuff is.

Touche. I really should reread menus before I post. For some reason I remembered a lot more offal. I stand corrected. The B&B menu does lack several offal dishes that Babbo serves, however. You won't find the warm head cheese, pig's feet, or goose liver ravioli at B&B.

I still believe that the menu is not designed for picky eaters or for those who are unfamiliar with 'food culture.' I know personally that I would have no idea what to order if I looked at this menu 10 years ago. Good thing you're familiar with the menu and can offer some guidance.

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As far as I can tell, only 4 out of the 41 dishes on the menu are offal. I think that's a ratio that my family can handle. My mother's the type to say, "ooh, neat" and point it out to my brother, and then procede to choose something different. I think they'll both find good stuff on the menu, once they know what most of that stuff is.

Touche. I really should reread menus before I post. For some reason I remembered a lot more offal. I stand corrected. The B&B menu does lack several offal dishes that Babbo serves, however. You won't find the warm head cheese, pig's feet, or goose liver ravioli at B&B.

I still believe that the menu is not designed for picky eaters or for those who are unfamiliar with 'food culture.' I know personally that I would have no idea what to order if I looked at this menu 10 years ago. Good thing you're familiar with the menu and can offer some guidance.

I'm sure I'll only be needed for guidance on what each dish actually is. While my mother may not know what sweetbreads are, and may not fully appreciate the culture of foodieism (is that a word?), she does enjoy good food, and knows what she likes as long as she understands the terms involved. My brother's the same way, but more adventurous - at his first upscale dining experience (Nobhill at the MGM), he ordered the foie gras, and he wasn't even a teenager yet.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll be going to Las Vegas next week for some events related to the Bon Apetit Magazine Food and Wine Focus. I signed up for the private dinner at Guy Savoy on Thursday, May 17, a seminar on Friday afternoon about the Las Vegas dining scene, and a wine luncheon at Alex at Wynn on Saturday, May 19. I've got Wednesday night, May 16 open so I'm debating between L'Atelier at the MGM or a few others. Anyone else who might be in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 16 and would like to get together let me know. After I get back I'll report on my dinner at Guy Savoy and the lunch at Alex.

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I'll be going to Las Vegas next week for some events related to the Bon Apetit Magazine Food and Wine Focus.  I signed up for the private dinner at Guy Savoy on Thursday, May 17, a seminar on Friday afternoon about the Las Vegas dining scene, and a wine luncheon at Alex at Wynn on Saturday, May 19.  I've got Wednesday night, May 16 open so I'm debating between L'Atelier at the MGM or a few others.  Anyone else who might be in Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 16 and would like to get together let me know.  After I get back I'll report on my dinner at Guy Savoy and the lunch at Alex.

Here's a preview of the menu from Guy Savoy for the dinner I'm going to next Thursday:

Colors of Caviar

Moet, Brut Imperial, Champagne

Peas all around and poached egg

Lucien Albrecht, Cuvee Romanus, Pinot Gris 2005

Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate Spices

Joseph Drouhin, Meursault, 2004

Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup, Toasted Mushroom Brioche and Black Truffle Butter

Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet, Monthelie "Les Duresses" 2001

Roasted Veal Chop, Black Truffle Potato Purée, Young Vegetables.

Jean-Luc Colombo, Cornas, Mejean, 2001

Raspberries and Litchi "Vacherin"

Domaine de Coyeux Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2005

Chocolate

M. Chapoutier, Banyuls 2001

And here's a preview of the lunch menu for an event I'll be attending at Alex at the Wynn:

Experience the French Riviera with Alex Stratta and wines by Wattle Creek & Heitz.

Spring Vegetable Crudités with Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Roasted Santa Barbara Prawns with Sweet Corn Custard and Tomato Confit

Roasted Quail with Pancetta, Morels and Asparagus Gratin

Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream with Brown Butter cake

Petits Fours and Warm Madeleine

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Hi David,

I hope you would a great time in LV and look forward to your review. Just wondering, how do you know your menu at Guy Savoy? It seems to me that you do the wine-pairing there, how much is it? I thought that the degustation menu would consist of about 10 dishes ... or you get a TGV menu?

I ate at Renoir (Mirage), can be said as my 1st fine-dining experience, 3 years ago, and it was very good with a very formal service. I believe you will like chef Strata's new place at Wynn.

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Hi David,

I hope you would a great time in LV and look forward to your review. Just wondering, how do you know your menu at Guy Savoy? It seems to me that you do the wine-pairing there, how much is it? I thought that the degustation menu would consist of about 10 dishes ... or you get a TGV menu?

I ate at Renoir (Mirage), can be said as my 1st fine-dining experience, 3 years ago, and it was very good with a very formal service. I believe you will like chef Strata's new place at Wynn.

Thanks. Actually I am going to a private dinner at Guy Savoy hosted by Barbara Fairchild, Editor of Bon Appetit Magazine as part of their Food and Wine Focus. It is very spendy, $350, and includes a copy of Chef Savoy's last cookbook. I think the price is more than worth it given the opportunity to dine with a small group of people serious about food and wine-not to mention having one of the top French chefs in the world prepare the dinner. The menu and wines were posted ahead of time on the web.

Funny you should mention Chef Strata, I'm also going to a private lunch next Saturday at Restaurant Alex at the Wynn. It's a special lunch pairing the wines with the cuisine with both the Chef and the winemakers present. Really looking forward to that event also. I think this will be the most exclusive lunch I've ever had:

Wines will be presented by Wattle Creek & Heitz.

Spring Vegetable Crudités with Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Roasted Santa Barbara Prawns with Sweet Corn Custard and Tomato Confit

Roasted Quail with Pancetta, Morels and Asparagus Gratin

Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream with Brown Butter cake

Petits Fours and Warm Madeleine

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I think I have most of my plans on the books for pure gluttony in Las Vegas later this week. I'll do a full report when I get back.

Wednesday dinner-Buffet at Bellagio (My pick as the best buffet, especially the seafood-sushi and salads, wild game when they have it and the desserts).

Thursday dinner-private dinner at Guy Savoy as part of the Bon Appetit Food and Wine Focus.

Friday dinner-Wing Lei at Wynn.

Saturday lunch-private winemaker's lunch at Alex at the Wynn as part of the Bon Appetit event.

Saturday dinner-dinner at Daniel Boulud Brasserie at Wynn.

I'm sure I'll be making my normal side trips for pastries at Lenotre in Paris and Jean Luc in Bellagio, pastrami at the deli in the Forum shops, some noodles and dim sum at Noodle Asia in the Venetian............................

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Hi,

I am planning a weekend in Vegas and wanted some input. I was thinking of doing dinner at B&B and L'Atelier. For lunch/brunch, I want to do Mesa Grill for one day, but I'm not sure what do to the other day. Any good lunch options on the strip that I should look into?

I should also mention that I live in the San Francisco area, so I want to avoid restaurants that have San Francisco or Napa locations. Thanks!

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Was in Las Vegas a week back...Food-driven trip, of course...LOL

Guy Savoy - The full-on tasting menu/worth every penny! Class and service beyond great. I know, I thought we'd go on the cheap but couldn't resist once we sat down and felt the amazing warmth of Franck Savoy and the rest of the staff.

Wing Lei - (Peking Duck Tasting Menu) Lovely room/food/service

Robuchon - The ice-cold service put a damper on the entire evening.

Sensi..Ok, not in the same category but another great and casual place. This was my third visit and I'm still impressed.

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Was in Las Vegas a week back...Food-driven trip, of course...LOL

Guy Savoy - The full-on tasting menu/worth every penny! Class and service beyond great. I know, I thought we'd go on the cheap but couldn't resist once we sat down and felt the amazing warmth of Franck Savoy and the rest of the staff.

Wing Lei - (Peking Duck Tasting Menu) Lovely room/food/service

Robuchon - The ice-cold service put a damper on the entire evening.

Sensi..Ok, not in the same category but another great and casual place. This was my third visit and I'm still impressed.

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I'm counting down the hours to my private dinner tonight at Guy Savoy. The Chef himself is supposed to be hosting our dinner, along with Barbara Fairchild, Editor of Bon Appetit. I'll try to get photos, but the tone of the evening may be such that the little guy with the digital camera isn't appropriate. I'll report back on the dinner.

I agree with Little Ms. Foodie-Sensi at Bellagio is o.k., but like so many restaurants down here in Las Vegas what is billed as "Fine Dining" is certainly a great experience, but casual in dress and not in the same league as the big players like Guy Savoy and Alex. Those are the REALLY big fine dining restaurants.

I'm looking forward to dinner at Wing Lei tommorrow night-they've graciously reserved the chef's tasting menu for me even though it is normally only served to a minimum of two people and I will be dining alone.

Saturday is a private winemaker's lunch at Alex at The Wynn and then dinner at Daniel Boulud Brasserie at The Wynn Saturday night.

I had a quick lunch at Noodle Asia in the Venetian casino yesterday after I arrived. Good Traditional Chinese in basically a quick sit down service format-BBQ Pork and Chinese duck. The pork was very tender and the duck had the crispiest skin I've ever had. It was served with a sweet chili dipping sauce. The menu listed it as "BBQ Pork and Roast Duck Rice." So I'm expecting, (I knowm stupid on my part not to ask), maybe a plate of fried rice with chunks of pork and duck. The meats were plopped down on a huge mound of plain white rice. There were some tiny baby bok choy scattered around the rice. Not a bad dish at all but not great other than the meats.

I also had a spicy jellyfish salad-marinated jellyfish with hot red pepper slices. It was crunchy yet soft, and a bit chewy-which I like.

All in all a good lunch with ice tea that cost $34. I'm not complaining about the price but want to share it with you as an example of the prices in Las Vegas.

Dinner last night was at the Buffet at Bellagio. Believe it-the wait at 830pm was 45 minutes and when I left at 945pm, the line was longer than when I went in. Amazine for a Wednesday night.

The highlights of the buffet for my tastes were some new items I hadn't had at the Bellagio buffet before-tuna and salmon poke. I missed the poke with three other side dishes-black seaweed, "Namasu" spicy cucumber salad and "Chukawa Kama" salad (another type of seaweed salad).

I also liked the North African spied Duck Legs at the meat station-but while the loin of venison had decent taste, the huckleberry jus tasted like weak blackberry juice. Trust me, I live in the mountains where huckleberry's grow wild and the chefs at the buffet need a lesson in huckleberry cookery.

Not so good at the buffet was the chilled yellow tomato gazpacho and crab salad. The dungeness crab salad was simple-chives, oil and lemon juice-and delicious. But the yellow tomato gazpacho almost had a metal tang to it, I suppose because the tomatoes weren't ripe. Oddly, the chef placed some napa cabbage in the bowl first, then spooned in the gazpacho and topped it with the crab. The cabbage added a crunchy element, but since it was a bit bitter, it really accented the bitterness of the tomato gazpacho. Probably the crab salad alone would have been fine.

Off for a greasy burger this afternoon before a nap and then the luxury indulgence of dinner at Guy Savoy.

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