Showing newest 10 of 11 posts from May 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 10 of 11 posts from May 2010. Show older posts

Drago Centro's People's Cocktail Contest: Week Two -- Fernet Branca


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , | Posted on 5/30/2010

So I didn't win last week's cocktail competition... but that's perfectly fine with me, because that leaves three more times to put my bartending skills (or lack thereof) to the challenge! This week's ingredient is Fernet-Branca, an Italian digestif, that is typically served after a meal and often mixed into coffee and espresso. With an alcohol content of about 45%, just a whiff deters some. The ingredients of Fernet are a secret of the Frateli Branca distillery, but a few known ones are: rhubarb, saffron, aloe, cardamom, chamomile, and a base of grape.  

At the Urbanspoon event, Michael reminded me of the virtues of Fernet with this shot:

Week two: Fernet-Branca

Jill, Helen, Jacqueline, & me at the Urbanspoon Happy Hour
I was the only one to brave the shot of Fernet, suckas! ;)

My drink was inspired by Michel Dozois' Italian Stallion at the Nights with Névé soiree at Osteria La Buca last month. I named my cocktail entry liquirizia nera [translation: black licorice] after the main ingredient, Fernet-Branca.

Here are my tweets to Drago Centro, outlining    in under 280 characters    the ingredients, method, and garnish:

@dragocentro @michaelshearin 2.0 oz Black Label scotch, 1 oz. Carpano Antica, 3/4 oz. Fernet, Stir & garnish w/ lemon wheel #pplscocktail

@dragocentro @michaelshearin This drink would make my scotch-lovin' dad proud -- called black licorice or "liquirizia nera" #pplscocktail

The winners are announced via Twitter (@dragocentro @michaelshearin) sometime tomorrow! Good luck to everyone who entered!

Sneak Sip: LAMILL's Creme Brulee Cappuccino


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , | Posted on 5/30/2010

Why isn't this on the dessert menu?

Lamill Coffee Boutique on Urbanspoon

Lamill Coffee Boutique in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: New Menu & a GIVEAWAY!


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , | Posted on 5/25/2010

When the weekend rolls around and I'm looking for a place to head to dinner with my parents, I never consider or suggest a steakhouse; it's unheard of in many Hindu households! That is, until I had the opportunity to dine with other food writers and friends at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.

Located at L.A. Live across from the Staples Center, Fleming's recently updated their lunch and dinner menu to include more seafood and vegetarian options, while adding two new "classic" steak options.

Ta-da! It's a new menu!

Fleming's prides itself for its critically acclaimed 100 wines by the glass selection. Our meal was paired with the following two wines:
Sanford, Chardonnay Sta. Barbara Cty., 2007
Frog's Leap, Merlot Rutherford, 2006

Roasted Mushroom Ravioli - portion of three
portobello & shiitake mushrooms, porcini butter sauce

Roasted Mushroom Ravioli - close-up

The first course offered both lump crab louis wraps and roasted mushroom ravioli. The roasted mushroom ravioli was an earthy medley of mushrooms. The ravioli is handmade off premises and imported to each Fleming's location.

Lump Crab Louis Wraps
butter lettuce, avocado, bacon, chives, egg, tomatoes

Lump Crab Louis Wraps - close-up

The lump crab louis wrap was my favorite dish of the afternoon. It was a nightmare for me to handle, as I maneuvered my knife and fork in frustration. Thankfully, others had the same problem and the table concluded that these babies are supposed to be manhandled! The lump crab bits were chunky and extremely fresh. I barely used any of the red pepper and lime butter sauce, due to filling of creamy avocados and juicy tomatoes. In summation, the wraps were an elevated, seafood interpretation of a Cobb salad. Oh, and did I mention the bits of bacon were an excellent textural component?

Tillamook Bay Petrale Sole
crab beignets, lemon butter sauce

"Rich" doesn't begin to describe the Petrale sole! The lemon butter sauce isn't for the faint-hearted, as it completely drenched the sole, which had been lightly dusted and flash fried. My Indian palate appreciated the diced up garnish of jalapeno peppers. The lump crab and corn beignets were intended to provide texture to complement the tender sole, but were a bit too deep fried for my liking. A fair contender on the dinner table, the sole was a bit heavy for lunch time fare. For a much lighter option, opt for the niçoise salad.

Roasted Baby Carrots
golden raisins, toasted almonds

I was very impressed that I gobbled down about four of five of these baby carrots, considering the sheer amount of food provided at the tasting. Sauteed in apple juice, brandy, golden raisins, and Californian almonds, these baby carrots were extremely tender and a must-order side in my books. The treatment and flavor of the baby carrots is the savory equivalent of the Indian dessert gajar ka halwa.

Peppercorn Steak
prime NY steak, crushed white & black peppercorns, "F17" sauce

Sauteed Haricot Vert (French green beans)
shiitake mushrooms, porcini essence

So why didn't you eat at steakhouses? I've been brought up Hindu, which means worship the holy cow and no beef for me. I've never tasted it, but I've been curious enough to order faux steak at one of those imitation meat-only restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. When Linden of gastronomnom asked me what is my take is on game meat, I confirmed I'm pretty much down for everything, but beef. Beef has become a stigma in my family, but don't let it become one at your table at Fleming's!

The peppercorn steak looked delicious, especially since one side is completely broiled with cracked pepper to negate some of the strong peppery flavor. Served with the proprietary "F17" sauce, a take on "A1," was coined for its seventeen ingredients. If you're not a peppery guy or gal, consider the other new addition to the menu, the porcini rubbed filet mignon. 

"Deconstructed" Salmon Niçoise Salad
broiled salmon, haricot vert, truffled deviled eggs,  
roasted sweet baby peppers, roasted Yukon potatoes, lemon-balsamic vinaigrette

Since I don't eat steak, this salad joined the tasting menu. I kept having to remind myself this was a modern, deconstructed take of the salmon niçoise salad. The salmon was only lightly seasoned and topped with candied lemon rinds, in order for the accompaniments to shine. The vinaigrette on the salad was extremely sparse and could have been kicked up a notch. My favorite part of the deconstruction was the sweet roasted baby peppers and the truffled deviled eggs when paired with the salmon.

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
individual-sized portion, fresh berries

Perfect for one, the ramekin housed a creamy, specked vanilla bean custard. I was immensely satisfied with this dainty ending to lunch. A minute later, a server brought out this chocolate lava cake... even more swoonderful!

Chocolate Lava Cake
vanilla ice cream, pistachio tuiles, crushed pistachios, fresh fruit

Chocolate lava cake is one of those tricky desserts that not too many restaurants execute well. Fortunately for me, the self-proclaimed chocoholic at the table, Fleming's chocolate lava cake oozed of warm chocolate onto the artistically brushed chocolate plate. Their rendition of the French moelleux au chocolat was superb, because of the pistachio tuiles that cradled two scoops of vanilla ice cream. It proved that there is always room for dessert!

It's a prime location for all sorts of -vores and -tarians and I wouldn't hesitate to return just because steakhouse follows "Fleming's." I'll be back to check out their "5-6-7" happy hour special, which highlights five different appetizers, five cocktails, and five wines for only $6 each, seven days a week!

Thank you for the wonderful meal!
714 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 

You can enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at the L.A. Live here:

Required entry: 
(1) Leave a comment on this post sharing what you would order off of Fleming's new menu and why! Provide your name, email address, and Twitter handle.

Additional (optional) entries:
(2) "Like" Fleming's on Facebook and tell me so by leaving an additional comment.
(3) Follow @foodismynish on Twitter, tweet: "@foodismynish I want to win a $25 gift card to Fleming's at L.A. Live! Retweet & comment to win:" and tell me so by leaving an additional comment.
(4) "Like" food is my nish on Facebook and tell me so by leaving an additional comment.

With the help of the, I'll announce the winner on my Facebook fan page and Twitter on June 1st. You have until May 31 at 11:59PM to submit an entry!

Note: Southern Californian residents are eligible for this contest, as the gift card applies only to Fleming's at L.A. Live.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Silver Lake Jubilee: May 22 & 23, 2010 -- the Foodie Edition


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , , | Posted on 5/21/2010

One of Los Angeles' "greenest" music and arts festivals, Silver Lake Jubilee promises forty plus food vendors, sixty plus local vendors, interactive villages, and tons of performers    seriously, check out the flier below. 

Along with beer gardens hosted by Silver Lake's Good Microbrew, there are quite a few food vendors to look forward to. I'm curious to try the vendors listed under the "food" section, as well as asterisked ones under "food trucks." Thanks to numerous trips to Abbot Kinney's First Fridays and truck hunting, I've covered the ones in pink!

Penguin Snow Cones
Sweet Tooth Kettle Corn
Sophia’s Kitchen
Peanut Girls
Mardy’s Munchies
Food Trucks
Baby’s Burgers
Barbie’s Q
Cool Haus
Crepe N’ Around*
Dim Sum Truck
Dosa Truck
Eat Phamish
Fish Lips
Fresh Fries
Flying Pig
Greasy Weiner
India Jones Chow Truck
Kabob N Roll
Lee’s Philly
Lomo Arigato
Louks to go
Maui Wowi
Mrs. Beasley’s
Slice Truck
Surfer Taco
Tasty Meat
World Fare*

I'm also digging Silver Lake Jubilee's green commitment:
With the help of Sustain LA, Silver Lake Jubilee is implementing Zero Waste initiatives with the goal of 90% landfill diversion and aims to source power from alternative energy sources. The festival will not utilize Styrofoam, singleuse plastic bags or plastic water bottles. We encourage attendees to bring their own cups, reusable bags and a blank t-shirt to get a special Silver Lake Jubilee screen-printed T-shirt during the festival. A free bike valet will be available and the festival encourages Metro ridership.
Armed with my Veev sports bottle, I'll be carpooling with three friends to the event tomorrow!

Can't wait for the music, art, local vendors and food at this eco-friendly event!

May 22 & 23, 2010
Admission    $5

Drago Centro's People's Cocktail Contest: Week One -- Blueberries


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , | Posted on 5/20/2010

From blending smoothies to perfecting foam, my choice of high school employment made it clear that one day I would dabble in mixology... and drinking. In the coming year, I hope to pursue professional bartending courses, but that won't stop me from entering Drago Centro's People's Cocktail Contest!

How to Enter:
1. make a cocktail using an ingredient picked by Michael Shearin, Drago Centro's Beverage Director & Sommelier
2. tweet your drink recipe to @dragocentro with the hashtag #pplscocktail
3. follow @dragocentro & @michaelshearin for ingredients & winners

Read extensive details about the contest from the "mayor" of Drago Centro, the Minty.

I let the ingredients dictate my beverage and not the other way around. Earlier today, I picked up some decent blueberries and the mintiest mint known to mankind. In my very honest opinion, it's hard to find good blueberries.. I've tried. I should have used frozen blueberries (thank you Stephanie for pointing that out) which retains flavor much better.

Since my basket included the mintiest of mint leaves, I decided to put an Italian spin on the mojito. I tried very hard to emulate the smokiness of the arancia meccanicca and the layers of flavors achieved by the maracana. In true Drago Centro fashion, I named the cocktail "tramonto blu" or "blue sunset." Let's see how it fares...

tramonto blu
Disaronno, Sailor Jerry, market blueberries, lime juice, mint leaves, agave nectar

   2.5 oz blueberries
   1.5 oz Amaretto Disaronno
   2.25 oz Sailor Jerry
   juice of one lime
   two large sprigs of mint
   1 tsp. agave nectar

   demerara/turbinado sugar (clearly, couldn't find my box)
   one mint leaf
   skewer of three blueberries
   slice of lime

My Tweets:

@dragocentro 2.5 oz blueberries, 2.25 oz Sailor Jerry, 1.5 oz Disaronno, 2 sprigs mint, juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp. agave nectar #pplscocktail

@dragocentro Muddle BBs, mint, lime juice, & agave. Shake w/ Disaronno & Sailors. Strain. Rim w/ sugar, lime, mint, BB skewer #pplscocktail

@dragocentro Serve on the rocks. Named "tramonto blu" or "blue sunset" -- here's a picture: #pplscocktail

Yes, the drink looks a bit watered down. No, it shouldn't taste that way with the right ice. I ran out of fresh cubed ice and ended up using crushed ice    never again! Better yet, just use Névé!

Little India Food Crawl: Agenda & RSVP for 5/16


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , | Posted on 5/13/2010

It was only a month ago when I decided to host a Little India Food Crawl! Since then, I've received an overwhelming response from readers, tweeple, and fellow bloggers. Throughout the crawl, there will be informational packets to link what you're eating with the region in India. We'll also be touring the markets for some groceries to take home and hopefully see a demonstration or two!

The crawl will begin on May 16, 2010 at 1:00PM (eat a light breakfast or just fast) and will formally end at 6:00PM. Join and leave the crawl when you desire, but keep in mind each destination will focus on different regional cuisine. Every stop in the crawl is in walking distance of each other, so just park your car, join the group, and eat your Little Indian heart out! All times are estimated -- once you RSVP w/ your email address, contact information will be provided to make sure you don't get lost!

1st Course    
      Surati Farsan Mart
      11814 186th St
      Artesia, CA 90701
      ETA: 1:00PM

2nd Course  
      Tangy Tomato***
      18728 Pioneer Blvd
      ETA: 2:00PM

*** location subject to change due to the "surprise component"

      ETA: 3:00PM-3:30PM
Unlike elementary school, food crawlers are given a thirty minute break sans brown bag. There may be a surprise component to this crawl during the break. More details to come!

3rd Course  
      Udupi Palace
      18635 Pioneer Blvd
      ETA: 3:30PM

4th Course    
      Saffron Spot
      18744 Pioneer Blvd
      ETA: 4:30PM

In addition to eating... we will be in and out of local markets (will school y'all on ingredients to make the same food at home!) and perusing stores. If you're feeling really adventurous, get henna tattoos from Ziba or your eyebrows threaded!

What to bring?
* your appetite and fat pants
* camera for food porn, of course!
* Twitter enabled cell phones to make everyone drool/jealous! Use #LittleIndia during our crawl!

How much $ should I bring for the crawl?

Well, how hungry are you? I think each person won't be able to move after $10-15 worth of food, provided we're sharing. Bring some extra cash if you want to buy some goodies from the markets, trinkets from stores, and the like.

Include your name, email address, and the # of guests you will be bringing

(1) email or (2) leave a comment on this post
or (3) contact via Facebook fan page under Events tab

LA Desserts Examiner


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , | Posted on 5/12/2010

If you're reading  food is my nish, you know that I am quite fond of all things sweet. I love writing chocolate reviews, visiting cupcakeries, and finishing savory meals with sweets.

Recently, I applied to become an Examiner to cover desserts in Los Angeles, but what the heck does that mean? What is

I honestly didn't read the online publication until a couple of months ago, around the time I started blogging about food and tweeting my meals. From what I understand, it's an online hub for local writers to wax poetic about things they are passionate about. In my case, it's only natural that I chose desserts!

Here's a link to my first article about Egyptian basbousa at Susan Feniger's Street:

 I've ordered it twice. Yummay!

I'd truly appreciate any feedback, good or bad! Thanks for reading!

Nights with Névé at Osteria La Buca


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , | Posted on 5/11/2010

Never ever in my wildest dreams did I expect to gush about ice in a post. You know... when water freezes at 0° Celsius? That's the ice I'm talking about. The only difference is that Névé luxury ice is super duper fancy and very practical for the cocktail enthusiast.

No one enjoys a watered down cocktail and Névé offers a solution: ice made of the purest water, frozen carefully to ensure the slowest rates of dilution. The ice is consciously shaped to fit your glass snug and to have the least amount of surface area, a poor quality of regular ice that quickens the melting process. If the ice doesn't melt as fast, your drink will just taste like its original self for much longer!

straws were most necessary!
the Collins/Hi-Ball Ice, used in the Eloper

cocktail chique! 
inscribed square block of Névé "old-fashioned" ice

 I spy a chest full of ice!

Névé thinks out of the square mold: the ice can be flavored or shaped in compact spheres. These spheres enable professional bartenders to shake without the fear of having the ice explode and hence, dilute the beverage. Michel also mentioned that vanilla Névé ice tastes divine in whiskey    yum!  
sharing their cocktails & the Névé mission:
Steve Livigni, La Descarga
Michel Dozois, Névé

Osteria La Buca provided a soon-to-be developed offshoot of their restaurant for the night's festivities. Event-goers ventured through a back alley and into this speakeasy-like room. Masking tape on both the floor and walls showcased how the space will be revamped. Owner Graham Snyder and designer Brendan Ravenhill explained the transformation of the room as an inviting "oasis where wine and prosciutto flow abundantly!" 

Light appetizers from Osteria La Buca were passed out during the event, but my photographer JC failed to capture most of the snacks. His reason why he didn't get several shots? It was a damn good one    he was "too buzzed."

 the Eloper
Dimmi Italian liqueur, vodka, lemon juice, cantaloupe, & prosecco

I'm a bit biased about this drink, as I despise cantaloupe, the main ingredient of the Eloper. A few years ago, I ate an entire rotten cantaloupe and ended up staying in a hospital overnight thinking that the melon did me in. Since then, I try to avoid it; unless it's mixed with booze, that is. Can't let a good drink go to waste, right?

The Eloper wasn't my favorite cocktail, but was definitely an unique attempt by Steve Livigni of La Descarga. Dimmi, a floral Italian liqueur, paired well with the fruity and bubbly components of the beverage. A prosciutto garnish gave the beverage a much needed salty component to complement the sweet melon.

Check out artist Champion Grubbs' chalk rendition of the Eloper:

art & booze pair well
Nights with Névé: Drink as Art was very successful in producing hangovers!

the silencio Dolce
Zaya rum, Averna Amaro, Nocello walnut liqueur, blood orange juice

My second favorite drink that night was the silencio Dolce. I am quite fond of rum-based beverages, due to college stints with Sailor Jerry. What I truly loved about this cocktail was the rim on the glass. You see those specks of black powder? Coffee grounds. Freakin' genius, right? I was constantly rotating the glass so every fresh citrus sip would experience the earthy coffee flavor.

Michel showing off a bottle of Cynar
the primary ingredient is artichoke
(oh and next to that bottle in the pretty blouse, that's me sippin')

Okay, I'm going to say it...

I crush on people whose passion for something exudes from their pores, especially when the topic is food and booze. It's no wonder Michel Dozois created Névé luxury ice as he's so friggin' hot in a "I love booze so much I'm going to kiss this bottle of sweet vermouth" way.

Italian Stallion
scotch, Carpano Antica, Cynar
my favorite cocktail that night!

Overhearing a group of us chatting about his first cocktail, Michel came over and showed us the components of the Italian Stallion: Cynar and his favorite vermouth, Carpano Antica. He kissed the bottle repeatedly    for pictures, of course    and proceeded to pour our group a glass of the sweet vermouth. Ila of i nom things, her fiancé Hiroki, and friend JC passed along the glass of precious vermouth as if we were a bunch of kids sharing a joint. The Carpano Antica was reminiscent of sweet tea and tasted quite delightful. According to Michel, it should retail for about $30 and is a great addition to any liquor cabinet.

putting all his eggs in one basket

I was a bit giddy when I spotted the eggs. I scanned the drink menu and spotted "egg whites" as a component of Michel's second drink, "I Luv Lucy." Named after his blushing girlfriend (who was also in attendance), Michel cracked up egg whites, whiskey, lemon juice, and his other love, Carpano Antica, for the last drink of the evening.

protein with my booze, I like!

I Luv Lucy
Whiskey, Carpano Antica, lemon juice, egg white

The I Luv Lucy ended the evening on a frothy note for my plus one and myself. We ducked out a bit early to make a dinner reservation with some family visiting from India at Susan Feniger's Street, even though I was dying to sample the rest of Osteria La Buca's menu! We will be back La Buca!

Thank you Citysearch Los Angeles for the pair of tickets, Dan Cox, owner Graham Snyder for the delicious bites, professional bartender Steve Livigni, and the m-ice-termind behind Névé Michel Dozois!
The next Night with Névé? Leave it to public relations expert Dan Cox to hint that a booze bus is the works! Where can you get your Névé ice cocktail experience on? Drink up here:

Restaurants & Bars

Bring Névé home for your next cocktail party:

Bar Keeper - Silverlake, CA
K & L- Hollywood, CA
Wally's Wine & Spirits- Westwood, CA
Wine House- West Los Angeles, CA

Photo Credit: JC Chang, my brother from another mother & photographer

Red Bell Peppers Two Ways: Roasted & Sandwiched at Euro Pane


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , | Posted on 5/08/2010

When you're young, you don't quite appreciate the flavors of certain vegetables. Well... at least I didn't.

I loved all things green    spinach, peas, broccoli, you name it! Basically, I was infatuated with every vegetable portrayed in the media as the cliché combatant at the dinner table. Go figure. The only vegetable I really despised, which somehow always snuck its way onto greasy Pizza Hut pizzas and into sandwiches were bell peppers.

Oh how times have changed!

A decade later, I have found a new love for these vibrant and nutritious members of the capsicum family. I just roasted some red bell peppers to accompany a spicy halibut with avocado mash, perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

 thin strips of red bell pepper brushed in olive oil, roasted at 375°
 seasoned with white pepper, black pepper, & salt

I love a bit of char!

I was inspired to purchase some bell peppers after a trip to Euro Pane last Saturday. Lucky for me, Euro Pane is only a hop, skip, and jump away from my stomping grounds and a hotspot for Pasadenans.  Sandwiched between eight hours of CPA prep courses, I was determined to try their popular open faced egg sandwich on my lunch break, but I already spoiled the ending for you guys...

An hour of downtime wasn't enough to beat local traffic and eat there, so I opted for a more portable meal. It's a tale of two red bell peppers, ending with a red bell pepper and goat cheese sandwich on multigrain bread:

I was ecstatic that I opted for the "lighter" vegetarian option on their menu. The bell peppers were awfully succulent and meaty, in a "I-can't-believe-I'm-not-being-carnivorous" way. The sandwich was a tad bit soggy by the time I got to demolish it, but demolish it, I did. Next time, I'll ask them to slightly toast the bread for a good crunch factor.

had no idea the sandwich came with a chocolate chip cookie
what a pleasant surprise!

Another day, we'll talk about Euro Pane's buttery croissants, almond tea cake, and sea salt caramel macarons...

Euro Pane Bakery
950 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91106

Euro Pane Bakery on Urbanspoon 
Euro Pane Bakery in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival Sneak Bite: 5/6 - 5/9


Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , , | Posted on 5/08/2010

On Thursday, my friend and I spent an entire day at the 2nd Annual Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival in Irvine. I wasn't going to post about this just yet, but I figured I'd wet your appetite and that it was my duty to send you there Saturday or Sunday. Please don't miss it!

 the Sultan and his committee

Doner chicken kebab on a bed of pilaf

drink yogurt milk from faucets

marching band of soldiers

sticky ice cream from Maras, made of wild orchids
presented with flair     you'll know what I mean

whirling dervishes
Sema, the universal movement

famous Turkish TV chef-lebrity, cooking demonstration

the sweetest lady making the sweetest dessert
kenefe (next picture)

made with shredded phyllo dough, butter, sweet cheese, pistachios, simple syrup
oh... did I forget love?

purchase handmade glass trinkets for only $2

coffee sets and pots for sale!

Turkish coffee prepared by Omar

beautiful crema
after sipping, my friend read my fortune by examining coffee dregs

and how about the best baklava ever from Gulluoglu...
[left] pistachio baklava, [right] walnut baklava
no lie: best baklava ever!
even the Turkish festival volunteers were raving about it!

Expect: Music. Performances. Art. Food. Culture.
Bring: Your appetite, a camera, and sneakers!

This festival strongly endorsed my view that you learn about a culture through its food and great company. More detailed posts to come! Don't miss the largest Turkish festival in the world!

Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival
May 6 - May 9, 10am - 10pm
Orange County's Great Park
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