Friday, October 26, 2012

My Trip to Queenstown, NZ (Day 13): Fergburger

When we first landed in Queenstown, New Zealand we looked for a bank to exchange money and then explored the area a bit. Naturally, we became hungry after a bit and decided to try out the local burger joint, Fergburger.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 13): AUS-NZ

On board our flight on New Zealand Air, they served us a small meal consisting of a ham and cheese wrap, a granola and yogurt bar, and some water. Simple yet appreciated. Every little thing counts nowadays on airlines.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 13): Pie Face

And so our Australia trip has ended but now we're moving onto New Zealand. Yeah! We arrived at the airport early for our international flight. After we checked our luggage, we had some time to eat. We thought it would be best to eat now than to chance it with the airplane food. Luckily we spotted a Pie Face.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lunch Wee 26: Potato and Leek Soup with Roasted Garlic and Kielbasa

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Potato and Leek Soup with Roasted Garlic and Kielbasa

This soup only has 5 main ingredients outside of salt, pepper, and oil. It's easy to make and gets better over time as many soups do. It's hearty and perfect for colder weather.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 12): Italian Village

After our long walk, we were really tired so we went back to the hotel to relax. I probably took a nap.  But we didn't forget about dinner. We stayed local and went to the Italian Village. Sure it was touristy but we were dead tired and it was raining. There were a few choices along the same strip but we stuck with Italian.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 12): Bluefish

On our next stop, we were touring Darling Harbor which is a hub of restaurants, shops, and attractions. It's very similar to Baltimore's Inner Harbor in the States. The similarities of the design are uncanny. After walking around a bit, we stopped at Blue Fish for a bite to eat. We chose Blue Fish mainly because it was an off hour during the week so the hostess said they would take 15% off our meal to entice us. Bingo!
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 12): Gelatissimo

You didn't think I would go through this day without eating any gelato, would you? We went to the Gelatissimo located right in the Circular Quay area.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 12): Sydney Cove Oyster Bar

After Paddy's Market, we walked back to the hotel to drop off some of the goods I came away with. Then off we went again to explore more of the city. One of the places that we eyed earlier on our trip was the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar right near the Sydney Opera House. It seemed so relaxing to be by the water on a warm day with the view of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. Can't get better than that.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 12) Paddy's Market

After breakfast, we walked down to Paddy's Market where you'll find lots of hawkers selling all kinds of souvenirs. This is definitely the place to go to look for gifts. Strangely enough, a popular item was kangaroo scrotum. Oh silly tourists. As we walked around looking through piles of stuff, we found ourselves hungry again. There was a huge fresh market there with fruits and vegetables, we wanted something more composed. Luckily, we walked by this Vietnamese stand, Marrickville.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 12): Quay Deli

On our last full day in Sydney, we decided to do a walking tour without a specific route. Actually, it was completely Mr. M&P's idea and I loved it. We were going to walk through the neighborhoods with no specific goal and stop as we please. To fuel up for this long urban trek, we stopped for some breakfast at the Quay Deli.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 11): Phillip's Foote

That night we went to a local restaurant, Phillip's Foote, because we noticed an advertisement in the window for all you can eat bbq dinner for $31. What a deal! We even went during the day to check the place out and talk to someone in charge about the deal.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 11): Blue Mountains Tour

Another day, another chance to go on a touristy site seeing adventure. This time, my planning paid off. I specifically booked a tour with a smaller bus with groups of no more than 12-14 people. Sure there wasn't a bathroom on board but the personal attention was much more appreciated. So off we went to view the majestic Blue Mountains of Sydney. Unfortunately, it was raining all day. Our ponchos worked out well but the fog was especially annoying and blocked our beautiful views. But before anything started, we had breakfast at The Conservation Hut on the edge of the Blue Mountains, Wentworth Falls.
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 10): Umami

Later that night, we went out in search of dinner.  We had nothing planned and decided to just stop in somewhere that looks decent and affordable. I knew I wanted sushi at some point on this trip and decided to go to Umami. It was small Japanese place that was somewhat filled. Most importantly, it was clean.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 10): Doritos Chips

I didn't give up on the chips just yet. I found this new flavor of Doritos. And it looks spicy and no weird meat flavor! Hot Damn! These were spicy, indeed. I had to stop myself and break with water. I'm no chili head but these were the spiciest chips I've ever had. Not sure if they sell this in the US but they should. It would do really well.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 10): Gelatissimo

And as usual, we had out gelato fix after our meal. This time, we went to Gelatissimo which is a chain found all over Sydney. For $4.50 each, we got our fill of the delicious creamy dessert.
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 10): 4 Pines

On this day, I crossed off another thing off my 'To Do Before I Die' List. Well kind of. I swam with sharks. I wanted to (and still do) swim with great whites...well in a cage of course. But apparently, I went to Australia during the wrong season and on the wrong side of the continent. Instead, I substituted my shark dive dream with grey nurse sharks in an aquarium. No cage though. I live for danger! Oh yeah!

After meeting face to face with snarl toothed predators, I was hungry myself. Instead of hopping back onto the ferry, we decided to stay in Manly. I found this brewery, 4 Pines, that received good reviews and so we stopped in for lunch.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lunch Week 25: Fried Squash Sandwiches

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Fried Squash Sandwiches
This week's lunch is super easy in my effort to use up some of the food in my freezer and pantry. This vegetarian sandwich is hearty enough for the meat lover, healthy enough for the vegetarian, and enough to satisfy anyone.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 9): Quay Seafood

The next day, we climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge which was amazing. The views up there were spectacular. Our guide was wonderful and worked with the group. He noticed that we were light hearted and joked around with us. The history behind the bridge was also really interesting. I would definitely recommend it. After our physical morning, we headed down to the Quay for some lunch. We stopped at Quay Seafood and ordered the Seafood Platter ($20).
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My Trip to Sydney, Australia (Day 8): Peter Doyle at the Quay

After we arrived at Sydney, we walked around a bit to explore the immediate area of our hotel. We were located pretty close to the Circular Quay/The Rocks without having to pay premium prices. As we walked around, we looked at some possible places to have dinner. When we looked at the menu for Peter Doyle at The Quay, we were immediately hooked. We tried our luck with a last minute reservation and succeeded.
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My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 8): Cairns-Sydney

And off to Sydney we went. Cairns was wonderful but it was quite small and had limited activities. You either visit the reef or the rainforest. I wouldn't mind a multi-day excursion to the reef next time to really see some of the more special locations. None the less, I am very happy with the experience I had there.

Another short plane ride (this time less than 3 hours) and another meal provided. Pasta with meatballs for him. The pasta, unsurprisingly, was very mushy while the meatballs were okay texturally. The meal was oversalted but again that's usually expected.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 7): Dolci

After a long and tiring day, we went to grab gelato as usual. Tonight's flavors included mango and rocher. The mango was ridiculous. It felt like I was eating pureed frozen mango. It was that good. One of the best flavors so far. Mr. M&P had the rocher which tasted exactly like the candy with hazelnut and chocolate.

Dolci and Gelati
9 Shields Street
Cairns City QLD 4870
Australia
(07) 4031 1500
dolciandgelati.com.au
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My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 7): Outback Grill at Kuranda

The next day, we did the next big touristy thing in Cairns: the rainforest Kuranda. There are many options to choose from (train, bus, cableway) but we chose to take the train up the mountain, then bus it to the village and the sky rail back down the mountain. The train ride was really nice. Lots of landscapes to view and a couple of stops for real scenic pictures. Unfortunately, the bus ride wasn't as wonderful as it felt like herding sheep from one place to another. Yeah, I don't like those kinds of tours. The first stop was at a village made just for shopping. Unfortunately, it was raining all day and walking from shop to shop involved being outdoors. There were some attractions like a butterfly sanctuary and a reptile zoo but we were so early that they had hardly even opened at that point.

Our next stop was for lunch at Kuranda BBQ which was a buffet.
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My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 6): Reef Experience

The next day was the big excursion day. Scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. I have been looking forward to this all my life. And I know that I probably won't ever get another chance to do it again since Australia is a really far trip and the reef is dying. So this was really my dream come true. In the early morning, we boarded a large boat that carried around 30 people. We were sized up with wet suits and flippers then seated to fill out the proper waivers. You know, as I put my life in danger and all.
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Friday, October 12, 2012

My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 5): Woolworth's

As with any International traveling, we always stop by the local supermarket to pick up bottled water and snacks. As mentioned before, I like to check out the potato chip aisle. While at the market, we decided to grab dinner there. I didn't feel much like going out for a full on sit down dinner as most places seemed pricey and I wasn't very hungry. So we picked up a few things like a roast chicken ($10), arugula salad ($2), some cheese ($3), and bread rolls ($1).
This was perfect. The chicken was tender and juicy, the arugula cut through the grease nicely, and the cheese was smooth and creamy. I was very happy and satisfied. And and we also pick up a bottle of wine ($8) which made me very happy.
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My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 5): Dolci

And like after any meal, we looked for some gelato for dessert. We found Dolci which would be our go to stand for the rest of our stay in Cairns.
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My Trip to Cairns, Australia (Day 5): Perotta's

Once we landed in Cairns, we could immediately feel the change in mood and weather. This was a beach town. Low key, relaxed, ocean air, bright sun, humid weather. Oh yeah, we were definitely here to relax. After we checked into our hotel, we decided to grab a bite to eat for lunch. We stopped in Perrotta's as it was recommended in our Frommer's guide.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 5): Melbourne-Cairns

Good bye Melbourne! You were awesome! Onto Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Our 3 our flight was full of surprises. First, they served a full on meal. That's right. I had sweet and sour chicken with rice, a dinner roll with butter, and a chocolate bar for dessert. Sure it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either. The point is that they served a meal on a 3 hour domestic flight. Airlines in the US, please take notice.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 5): Queen Victoria Market

The next morning, we headed back to Queen Victoria Market to scout out some last minute gifts when we spotted this doozy: American Doughnut Kitchen. Fresh doughnuts?! Yes please!
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Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 4): Queen Victoria Market - Suzuki Night

After our long walk through Chinatwon and then little Italy, we ended up back around the Queen Victoria Market Area for the Suzuki Night Market. This is where they convert the outdoor stalls for food and drink vendors. You'll still find stands selling crafts/goods but people mainly gathered to fill their stomachs.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 4): Maxim's

After our meal, we decided to talk the walking version of the neighborhood bus tour. Yes, we were going to walk along the touristy bus route so that we may stop and rest as we please. Also we wanted to burn off some of our lunch and make room for more food later on. So while walking through Chinatown we came across Maxim's Cakes. Woah? Is this the same Maxim's we came to enjoy in Hong Kong? We went in to check it out.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 4): Baci

Another meal, another gelato dessert. Today's flavors were lime and chocolate. Simple this time around. The lime was extremely citrusy and plenty refreshing. It reminded me of an Italian ice but less sweet and more natural tasting. The chocolate was light and creamy similar to the flavor and texture of a chocolate soft serve from Mr. Softee.

Cafe Baci
Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street, Ground Level
Southbank, VIC 3006
Australia
+03 9682 0588
crownmelbourne.com.au/Cafe_Baci
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 4): Koko

Since we were saving so much money on food so far, we decided to do a really nice lunch the next day and splurge on ourselves. We decided on Koko which we had passed by earlier in the week on one of our walks. Koko is a Japanese restaurant set inside the Crown Casino. We looked at the menu and was immediately drawn to the two course $46.50 (or three for $58) lunch menu. It looked pretty good and the choices spanned across the regular a la carte menu. The only thing not included in this lunch menu was the sushi.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lunch Week 24: Shrimp Pad Thai

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Pad Thai
Back to Asian cuisine this week. This time I'm channeling the flavors of Thailand with pad thai. It's a mix of sweet, sour, and salty with lots of vegetables, some shrimp, and long rice noodles.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 3): Shakespeare Under the Stars

Later that night, we attended Shakespeare Under the Stars with a comedic rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Set in the Royal Botanical Gardens this was a beautiful spot for an outdoor play. It wasn't very crowded but that was just perfect since it felt intimate as the actors walked through interacting with us. Oh and the best thing? They rent out lawn chairs for $5 each. Our backs were saved.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 3): Chips

One of the things I do when I travel aboard is buy strange potato chip flavors. Here I tried the honey soy chicken flavor chips. Weird. Really weird. Didn't taste like chicken but of an artificial sweet salty flavor. I wish it really did taste more like honey and soy sauce because that would be awesome. I'll just put this down as another failure for chip companies to make meat flavored chips. I haven't had one that I have enjoyed anywhere.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 3): Baci

And as usual, we had gelato after our meal.  We went back to Baci because we enjoyed it so much the first time. One scoop of blood orange sorbet for me, and cookies and cream for him. The former was so refreshing, tart, and sweet. The perfect summer treat. The cookies and cream was really good with its rich creamy base and lots of cookie chunks throughout.

Cafe Baci
Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street, Ground Level
Southbank, VIC 3006
Australia
+03 9682 0588
crownmelbourne.com.au/Cafe_Baci
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 3): Mekong Vietnam

At the beginning of this trip, we decided to walk everywhere to really explore the cities. With so much walking, we could eat aplenty and not feel as guilty about it. So after going from Queen Victoria Market to central Melbourne, we were hungry again. I wanted something different and decided to pick Asian. There's actually a huge Asian population in Melbourne, let alone Australia so I knew it would be a good choice. We passed by Mekong Thai and I was instantly hooked. It wasn't fancy and yet plenty of people were going inside, mainly Asians. Nice.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 3) Queen Victoria Market

The next morning, we woke up early to visit the Queen Victoria Market. It's a cross between NYC's Union Square Farmer's Market and the Grand Central Markets. Lots of vendors with fresh produce, meat, and artisanal goods to share.
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Monday, October 8, 2012

My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 2): Baci

After walking for a few hours, we were dead tired. We weren't hungry for dinner but opted for gelato instead. Gelato shops are aplenty in Australia, as we found out. Our first came from Baci where Mr. M&P had the baci flavor and myself the honeycomb crisp.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 2): Ponyfish Island

While walking around Melbourne and crossing the Yarra River, we came across this bar, Ponyfish Island, beneath the Southgate Pedestrian Footbridge. It was right before rush hour so it wasn't busy at all so we decided to stop for a drink.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 2): Pie Face

When we arrived in Melbourne, we checked into the hotel and immediately stepped outside to explore the city. This helps correct any jetlag that I may have and it also brings some life back into my legs after hours and hours of sitting. After some walking, we decided to look for something to eat. Neither one of us wanted anything fancy at the moment. So when we passed by Pie Face, I suggested we go there for some meat pies, a common street food for Australians.
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My Trip to Melbourne, Australia (Day 1): NYC-LAX-Melbourne

My trip to Australia started with a flight from NYC to LAX. It was a later flight but no food was served. When we arrived on the west coast, we decided to grab something to eat before the long leg of our trip. Unfortunately, the terminal that we were in just sucked. Completely sucked. Nothing was available except for a few stalls with premade food. I grabbed a turkey sandwich with a side of chips and drink for $10. This was possibly the saddest sandwich I have ever eaten. The bread was really bad. Worse than Subway bad. The meat was extremely salty and the calorie count was outrageous. Although this was a terrible way to start my trip, this was the lowest point. So everything from here on out could only be better.
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Hallo Berlin

Hallo Berlin is a German restaurant all the way on 10th Avenue in the far west side of Manhattan. It's a trek but worth it, especially for lunch. Outdoor seating, beers, and sausages. That's all you need, right?

The Berliner lunch specials are decently priced and filling. I had the German Double Soul Food ($9) which came with a bratwurst, a weiner, German potatoes, red wine kraut, sauteed onions, and a roll. Filling, flavorful, and well priced. I'm fan of all those things.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lunch Week 23: Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches
 Meatloaf gets a really bad rap sometimes. Sure it can be dry, tasteless, and gross. That means you're doing it wrong. It's really easy to make flavorful, moist, and delicious meatloaf. I've been making it for some time now. In fact, I make my own with ground turkey and it still remains moist and full of flavor in each and every bite. Oh and did I mention that it has very little fat but contains a vast variety of nutrients? Yeah, it's healthy, yet tasty meatloaf. Go figure.
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Parsi Dinner Party

When my in laws host a party, the really special food makes an entrance. Some of them are too time consuming to make on a regular basis. But for a party? Of course! I happily volunteered my services to help clean/pick up after the party in return for delicious food.
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