Tag Archives: foodie

Cheat Day 101: Chicken

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A few blogs back I mentioned a Creative Loafing bucket list that consisted of 100 food items in Atlanta every Atlantan should try. My girlfriend is heading to New York for 10 days tomorrow so we decided today should be a cheat day. To make it count, we decided to have 3 different items from the list. No health today, all delight and delectability!

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Home Grown (Memorial Drive): Comfy Chicken Biscuit

Rating:

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Plate scrapingly good. The server was nice and kept the coffee cups filled. It takes a while to get your food but the place is packed. When you finally get your food it’s totally worth it. A big fluffy biscuit spilling over with creamy, thick sausage gravy and hunks of sausage topped with two crispy chunks of chicken breast. It’s juicy, easy to tear into and hard to put down. The pancakes are sweet and the maple syrup is hot. The eggs are TI-RED. Sleep on those, don’t even bother. The grits are actually creamy, unlike most they don’t need butter, milk, salt, nada. It’s a damn shame what they did to those eggs after making everything else so wonderful.

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They separate checks too. The main dish was only $10. The cashier was a douche. He’s probably pissed off because it’s hot and noisy and hard to hear. Not my problem. Skip along to Atlantic Station for shopping and it’s time for lunch. Antico is closed on Sundays. Who knew? So is Bocado. How rude! So Gio’s Amalfitano it is.

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Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano (Hemphill Ave.): Sorento Lemon Roast Chicken

I’ve had it before, a few times at work, and it’s delicious but never at the location. It’s Giovani’s chicken joint (the same guy who owns Antico). Portions are insane in this place. For about $17 you can feed two people half a chicken rubbed in olive oil, garlic, oregano and Sorento lemons with thickly sliced potato wedges and grilled flatbread. We ended it with a scoop of chocolate gelato.

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But we couldn’t stop there. The gelato was not one of the three and we had to have three things. So, we went to Delia’s chicken sausage stand and we ordered the red velvet milkshake…and some sliders with comeback sauce. The sauce can stay where it is, but the sausage is spicy and sweet and tasty. A decent $5 treat.

Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand: Red Velvet Milkshake

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As for these. So simple and such a dream. All they do is blend a red velvet cupcake with vanilla ice cream. It’s super thick with red velvet cake pieces in every spoonful, which you will need. It is nearly impossible to get this stuff through a straw without irritating your cheeks and lips. Might I suggest a tapioca straw. Back on lettuce tomorrow. I think we’ve had enough. Because the funny thing is, all I want right now is a glass of water and a grapefruit. Thank God we’ve decided to only oblige our taste buds once a month.

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Vegan Eating: Days 10 &11

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I’ve been a really bad vegan. No meat or cheese but carbs, yes carbs. I’ve been rationalizing it in my mind by saying I’m working out so I’m burning it off. And that’s probably partially true but not as true as I’ve made it in my mind. Breakfast, Thursday was interesting. We did it by the book and soaked dried apricots in soy milk. We added blueberries. It was good and then it was not good. I thought it would make us sick. It had a weird smell. But it tasted like a sweet cereal. I’d probably eat it again.

Lunch I had falafel from Alon’s. Strike one. Yes it’s hummus and tahini and all kinds of diced up onions, cucumbers and pickles and chickpea but the chickpea is fried and the pita bread is amazing. For some reason on this diet, we can have pita bread. I don’t know if you use eggs in pita bread, but you probably do, or at least they probably do at Alon’s.

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Dinner was the best dinner we’ve had since we started the diet. It was tofu chow mein. Diced onion, cabbage, mushrooms mung bean sprouts, tofu and snow peas. I marinated the tofu in sriracha, hoisin sauce and citrus soy sauce for about an hour before sautéing it in the pan with the veggies. It was spicy and healthy and delicious and will absolutely find it’s way into my regular meal plans. We paired it with a super floral Gewurtztraminer from Banyan. The residual sugar helped cool off the spice a great deal but next time I think I’ll opt for a more citrusy Riesling. The finish reminded me of swallowing a bottle of perfume.

Then my girlfriend brought eggless cake home. We split a piece. I have some potentially exciting news brewing so I rationalized that I deserved it and since it was eggless, I assumed it was okay.

Breakfast sucked yesterday. I cut up fresh pineapple and oranges. The pineapple was underripe. It also made the outside of my mouth itch for 9 straight hours. Ugh!

Lunch sucked too. I ordered guac from Taqueria cause that’s the only thing they make without meat. I ordered a side salad too; the regular leftover iceberg lettuce and tomatoes with some kind of strange spicy vinaigrette. My co-worker gave me a bit of rice. I blended it all together with tortilla chips and ate. Probably should have left the chips out of it.

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Dinner was awesome. We made bean burgers from the book. It calls for red beans, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, chili powder and ketchup. Bake it for hella long hours and eat. My girlfriend made acorn squash stuffed with garlic and olive oil quinoa and pistachios. DELICIOUS!!! I was impressed. Lol.

She wouldn’t let me have dessert though because we missed our workout. It was for the best.

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Vegan Eating: Days 8&9

I attempted to step on the scale this morning, Day #10 of the vegan diet. The battery is dead. Serves me right, it’s not Monday.
Anyway, these are meals from Wednesday and Thursday.

I neglected Wednesday because I absolutely hated my dinner.
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Dinner: White grape gazpacho from MetroFresh. It’s not that MetroFresh is bad or anything, I just did not want cold soup with celery and cucumbers and grapes and withered pecans. Does that sound delicious? Does that even look delicious? Heck no!  Should have been the marinade for a ceviche.

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Yesterday’s breakfast was fun and super easy. I made some adjustments, as I must to insure that my girlfriend will eat on this diet. Her palate does not play well with bland flavors.

Breakfast: blended frozen banana and almond milk smoothie topped with flaxseeds. I didn’t want them ground, (they didn’t call for ground) because they add a fun texture to the smoothie…a kind of crunch.

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I loved lunch but she HATED it. She returned lunch to me bludgeoned with a spoon. I felt bad. I knew mine was more edible because I got majority of the black bean dip.
Lunch: Raw veggies: carrots, red, yellow and orange peppers, broccoli, basil and pita bread. The bean dip was just a can of beans with a bit of juice from the can with chili powder, garlic and cumin blended together.

Like I said, I liked it. She was plenty pissy.

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I tried to make up for it with dinner.

Dinner: Lentil stew (lentils, celery, tomatoes, onions, seasonings), iceberg lettuce with red onion and tomato (I had pomegranate vinaigrette dressing and she had parmesan peppercorn) with garden veggie crackers and broiled and salted with garlic string beans with apple juice.

The juice was wrong, I admit. But damn’t I wanted it! I also had a small bag of Stacy’s Pita Chips. It was 130 calories. I ate it with blueberries as a mid day snack. It made me forgo any eating of the dark chocolate granola cereal I love so much. I am still alive.

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Vegan Eating: Days #6, #7 and #8

Life is messy and mine has been messy. And this is prime time for me to start eating crap. And I resisted, except two times. Once when I ate a bowl of the organic granola dark chocolate cereal I love with almond milk (which really wasn’t breaking the rules) and the other thing. I’ll explain once I get there. Nonetheless, between weight lifting and vegan eating, I have lost 12 lbs. since I started. Yes, crazy business.

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This salad is probably the best thing I’ve eaten on the diet. And I had it on the worst day of my weekend. I got it from the chicken place, Bantam and Biddy that celebrity chef Shaun Doty opened last year…or maybe earlier this year. Anyway, it was delicious. Spinach with lemon quinoa and apples with some sort of really “liquidy” kind of mustard dressing (maybe). I could have eaten a pound of it and I aim to figure out the recipe so I can make it at home regularly.

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The next day after the worst day ever, I hosted a small wine tasting/gathering at my house with a few fellow blossoming wine lovers. When I get my hands on some editing equipment, I fully intend to make a video…but right now, I don’t have any. :-/ Anyway…I dipped a carrot in some spinach artichoke cheese dip. And then I dipped a cracker. And then I stopped myself. I’m so proud. It was soooooo amazing. I needed to be stopped so I could rejoice the next day on losing 12 lbs.

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Monday, I was made to rise and shine in the afternoon (it is my off day after all) and head to the gym. I hadn’t eaten anything. Sour stomach from the weekends. Worst, most unenthusiastic workout ever. I’m sure I could have fainted about 4 different times. So we stopped at Arden’s Garden and I bought an “Un-fried” fried rice raw vegan concoction.

Concoction: cauliflower, peppers, carrots, sunflower seeds, peas and seasonings and the heaviest dose of chopped onions ever.  I love onions so it had to be heavy if I am referring to it that way. It did taste like fried rice, except it wasn’t fried and there was no rice or oil. It gave me terrible breath. Jokes were made. 😦

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Fast forward to Monday evening for date night and Yard House in Atlantic Station sounded like the best idea before checking out Fruitvale Station. Unfortunately it seems like all their healthy options are not healthy. I liked the hummus because it had pitted kalamata olives but the bread was tough.

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My date actually ate this asian inspired ahi tuna and cabbage with wonton salad in my face. I drooled; quietly.

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And well you see it. It would have been good had it not been oiled up in balsamic vinaigrette. It was unbelievably oversauced but the candied walnuts made me entire day. Breakfast today was lame. A chopped apple and lentils with garden veggie crackers for lunch and again for dinner. After today’s grocery shopping expedition I’ll be back to formulaic meals. (It was so awesome. We set a budget for $50/person and our bill was $100 even). Go us!

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #5

I was very sleepy last night so I did not post my day’s meals in a timely fashion. Anyway, breakfast and lunch were repeats. *yawn* I’m ready for all the leftovers to be gone so I can start working on the second and third parts of this vegan eating diet. I have been mulling over whether or not to stay vegan for longer than 14 days, like until the end of the year or until I’m 150 lbs.

My girlfriend had to take the batteries out of the scale, as I had begun to obsessively weigh myself 2 or 3 times a day to see if I had lost any weight. Last time I checked, I had lost 4 lbs., which for some reason I have resolved isn’t enough. Lol. I might be a bit obsessive just maybe.

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Dinner was awesome. I rinsed a can of Goya black beans (since they’re soooo sodium heavy) and added key lime juice soaked corn, tomato and brown rice in a pot.  Heat.  Hot.  Diced avocado with coarse salt and two pieces of falafel from Alon’s and voila, a meal for two hungry carnivores.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #4

Everybody say “Rewind.” A repeat offender has emerged back into the diet. We’re getting rid of all the leftovers for the next three days so several meals will be repeated. Exciting times.
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Today for breakfast, I added agave nectar. For some reason the oatmeal was very dry on its own. It’s probably because we used blueberries and bananas instead of raisins, which likely warm up from the heat of the oats and release bits of sugar.

Lunch was a repeat of yesterdays dinner, soup, salad and toast. And then my girlfriend invited me to Varasano’s Pizzeria to look at other people’s pizza. That was so nice of her. 🙂

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For dinner I used the last bushels of kale and soaked tofu in pineapple juice and baked it off. Onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapples and pineapple juice all steamed in a pot. I actually enjoyed it. I don’t think my girlfriend enjoyed it. That made me a little sad. Today was weird. I’m not sure why but not being able to “eat my feelings,” is probably the best thing I could do to challenge my discipline and will power and figure out things more productively. Go figure.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #3

My favorite cereal was on sale today ya’ll. It’s never on sale and it’s always overpriced, sorta. It’s the Cascadian Farms organic granola with dark chocolate and almonds. Whenever I buy it, I usually eat a box in a day…two days if I’m being “moderate.” I bought two boxes and put them at the top of the cabinet all the way in the back so they can only be reached by chair. I will probably buy two more boxes while they’re still on sale. Jesus Christ they’re so good. Anyway…vegan eating blah blah blah.

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Breakfast: Baked pears and golden raisins with cinnamon.

Breakfast was amazing this morning. It was like eating dessert. It was also the perfect amount of carbs to fuel an intense workout session today with our trainer. My poor triceps feel like overcooked noodles; limp and pitiful.

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Lunch: grapefruit and Australian oranges, pita stuffed with romaine, avocado, tomato and hummus. Avocado is mayonnaise from heaven without all the bad oils and eggs.

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Equally yummy but unfortunately rushed…I had to go to work. I ended up not having enough time to pack dinner so I grabbed some raisin coleslaw to take to work to snack on until my girlfriend brought me dinner…which didn’t happen because she had to take my mom to the grocery store. And so I went to the grocery store and bought bananas and natural GMO free peanut butter. I wanted to buy almond butter but that stuff is absurdly overpriced. Guys, they had an almond butter for $21! It’s JUST nuts, pun intended. Needless to say, it stayed there. But the banana and peanut butter held me over until I got to this.

And dinner: arugula and strawberries with red wine vinaigrette, broccoli and red pepper soup and multigrain toast.

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The diet plan called for 7 grain but they didn’t have that and this bread has flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and several other seeds in it so I just went with it. Tomorrow we start, finish the leftover groceries plan. Once all the groceries are done we will resume the formal Furhman diet plan. For now, it’ll be Rian’s vegan, which is still vegan but my version of it.

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Food: Vegan Eating Day #2

Yesterday it was my girlfriend who was “losing it” and today it was me. Although breakfast was actually quite yummy and lunch was not terrible, dinner was a sad, sad situation.

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Breakfast: organic rolled oats cooked in water and almond milk with walnuts and raisins and a grapefruit (not pictured).

I rather enjoyed breakfast. Even without the added sugar, honey or nectar or butter or milk that I typically use to “improve” the taste, the raisins added a nice sweetness and the walnuts some yummy nutty texture. The night before I prepped lunch, as it was extensive.
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Lunch: Chipotle sweet potato soup, raisin coleslaw and blackberries.

We got lucky at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and scored on a couple of boxes of pre-made soups. Although they have tons of sodium, we’re splitting them between the two of us and cutting the sodium intake in half. It was delicious! The raisin coleslaw took some getting used to. I do not like coleslaw. I like my cabbage cooked down to the last drop of nutritional value and smothered in bacon fat…certainly not raw. The raisin coleslaw is a combination of shredded cabbage, carrots and apples with a pureed apple juice, raisin, potato and mustard sauce. After the 7th crunchy bite, I actually became fond of the slaw. My girlfriend never arrived. And the blackberries were terrible, tart demons puncturing our palettes with each acidic explosion of juice.

Then it hit me. I wanted something crunchy and salty. I wanted Stacy’s Pita Chips…very badly. I resisted and ate a banana. That pissed me off for about an hour until it was time for dinner. I took a picture but apparently my phone was not comfortable with my intentions to upload a struggle plate* to my blog so I don’t have it. It deleted itself.

Dinner wasn’t that bad. It was just a weird combination, which was partially my fault. Today’s meal plan called for “Dr. Furhman’s Anti-Cancer” soup and a baked potato with tomato sauce but nobody has time for that. It required like 8 zucchini stalks and 12 carrots and all these other ridiculous amounts of produce, so I swamped it out for fiber. Furhman says you should try and eat a cup of beans everyday so I made black beans and brown rice instead and a baked potato with tomato sauce. Yes, it was odd but not terrible tasting. After dousing it in ridiculous amounts of hot sauce, it was good. Three hours later I got hungry again and ate more coleslaw (on these meal plans you can have unlimited amounts of raw and cooked veggies).

Tomorrow’s menu sounds so much more appetizing and I definitely look forward to it. Thank Bacchus. I want some wine. 😦

*struggle plate- a plate that is struggling; plate that looks unappetizing; not plated correctly; on Styrofoam or still in a pot.

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Food: Bucket List-Bacon Caramel Donut

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A few weeks back Creative Loafing released a “100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die” list that features 100 breakfasts, salads, meat entrees, desserts etc. around the city that everyone should try while they’re alive.

I’ve had a few of them already like the salivating “Farm Egg” from Empire State South and the Super Food Salad, also from Empire. Or the roasted bone marrow with tuna tartare and quail egg from The Spence and of course Krispy Kreme donuts. But clearly we have a long way to go so yesterday we started.

My girlfriend surprised me with a dozen donuts from Revolution Donut Shop in Decatur. Its featured item is the caramel and bacon donut (from the Breakfast segment). She also got plain glazed, chocolate covered yeast and cake, an apple turnover, a cinnamon sugar donut, a peach stuffed donut, and a blueberry glazed donut.

Their strengths: Deliciously sweet glazes and fresh fruit for the fruit based donuts. My favorites were definitely the caramel bacon, all sweet and salty and yeasty, the textured cinnamon sugar donut and the blueberry glazed that reminded me of a fruity roll.

Their weakness: The donuts are MAD THICK yo; too thick actually. I would love it if they toned down the dough action and made them slightly more delicate. Maybe they make them so thick to add balance to the richness of the glazes…but still, skinnier donuts please. Nonetheless, one down and like 80+ to go.

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Travel: The United States of Georgia

So over the weekend I had the opportunity to see just a spec of how truly fantastic and gorgeous my state actually is. A one hour trip to Dahlonega revealed all.  Dinner in downtown Dahlonega at Piazza with a bottle of easy drinking Chianti from Banfi.  Wine prices were stellar, only $26 for the bottle.  What a mark up!  I was so proud, my student/girlfriend correctly guessed the vintage of the wine based on some information I gave her about the color of the rim and its connection to age.

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The pizza, a concoction of spinach, roasted garlic, prosciutto, pepperoni, mozarella and ricotta was pretty good too.  For the price it was fantastic but of course it was no Antico.  Breakfast at the B&B proved lovely as well.  I loved her place settings and the mug of Bavarian chocolate.
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Cream cheese pancakes are the truth…and we love kielbasa. But in no way do these compare to Elaine’s pancakes with orange steeped blueberry compote from the B&B in Savannah. Those were/are still the best.

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Full and ready for take off, we decided to celebrate our small vacay and her finishing her first major medical school exam with a bottle of Special Club Champagne. Special Club is a designated group of small wine growers in Champagne who select their best lots every year for bottling of a vintage release, this is a 2006. Yes, those were coffee cups but with the lemon and vanilla almond macaroons, it was a showstopper.

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So we sat by the pond with our army of gnat buddies and sipped and giggled.

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30 minutes later we took a hand drawn map headed towards Amicalola Falls but got sidetracked here at another winery. A Tuscan masterpiece deadsmack in the Georgia countryside. Say what?

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There were rolling hills covered in vines and a small community of Tuscan style homes nestled in the forests  behind the vineyard.

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It’s lovely and for a moment you almost feel as if you’ve traveled abroad…although we almost traveled down the road of no return. A house was for sale and we opted to check it out. The door was unlocked BUT the owner was home. Luckily he wasn’t afraid of the two girls who just walked into his house somewhat unannounced. #hotmess

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These two lucky escapees fled to Amicalola Falls state park to go hiking. My girlfriend wanted to see bears. I did not want to see bears. We did not see any bears. Yay for us.

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There isn’t much I can say other than go here now…or this weekend or whenever you have 4-7 hours to spare for nature.

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It’s breathtaking. It will make you stare. It will challenge you. You will climb 175 stairs to see this 600 ft.  drop of magnificence.  You will be in awe that you are standing in Georgia and you will realize that Georgia is beautiful.

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Then you will climb an additional 425 stairs to see this fantastic vista from the top of the waterfall.   “The view is certainly different from the top,” she said.

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Whoever was in this car 50+ years ago maybe got too over zealous about being at the top and crash landed to the bottom. Eeriest and creepiest part of the trip seeing this old vintage truck crashed and rusted on the side of the mountain.

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But the sun was out and shining brightly.

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A beautiful day to wash away all the stresses of the city and enjoy a little cool mountain breeze.

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