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Cafe Audrey, Indianapolis, IN (Guest Review by Janie Morrison)

Cafe Audrey
Last Tuesday my OTHER Holly friend and I decided to meet for lunch near where she works at Fort Ben.  Not Rick’s wife, but Holly Harrison Lee, who has been my friend since we were in first grade.  
 
Neither of us had been to Cafe Audrey’s at the Fort, but were glad to try a new place.  It is only open for breakfast and lunch and they serve breakfast all day.  I decided to try the breaded tenderloin sandwich and Holly had an omelet.
 
Audrey tenderloin
The description says that it is made with homemade  crunchy breading and that the meat is tender inside.  This was true.  It came with homemade chips for $7.99 but I substituted cottage cheese for $1 more.  There were several other sides I could have chosen as well as an onion rings or wedges upgrade for $1.49.
 
I have been pondering how to rate this sandwich for a few days.  I liked it.  The breading was flavorful and indeed – very crunchy.  The meat was tender.  The problem for me was the ratio of breading to meat.  I think the breading overwhelmed the meat a bit.  It was 2/3rds breading to 1/3 meat.  I would have liked it better if those ratios were flipped.  But, nonetheless, it is a good sandwich and I would give it a strong 4.
 
Holly liked her omelet and the rest of the menu looked very good.  The place itself is very quaint and inviting.  It is very clean.  The manager checked in to make sure everything was okay and our server was very sweet and informative.
She said the restaurant was built in 1901 as stables for the horses on the fort.  Later it was used as a post office. More recently it has been a restaurant.  It has just reopened after closing briefly while transitioning to new ownership.  They were serving off of the previous menu when we were there, but hope to have their new menus soon.
http://www.cafeaudreyatthefort.com

August 27, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

El Reparo, Brookville, Indiana

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El Reparo is one of our “go to” places in Brookville.  And, let’s face it, there are not a TON of restaurants in Brookville, Indiana, but El Reparo has always had good food and good service, so we’re regulars there when we’re in the area.

As you can probably tell by the name, they’re a Mexican restaurant, and their Mexican food is VERY good.  They have a limited American menu…a burger, chicken fingers, and I THINK a steak, but they’ve recently added a hand breaded tenderloin to the menu, so I decided to give it a try.

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The meat itself was quite good!  Nice, moist, tender, and not pounded out too thin.  I liked it quite a lot!  The breading was…interesting.  It was quite unlike any I’d ever had.  Don’t get me wrong…I liked it!  It just wasn’t traditional.

You’ll notice that there is a slice of cheese on this sandwich…that was my mistake.  It’s noted on the menu that this sandwich has cheese on it, but I didn’t see it, just glancing at the menu.  I prefer my tenderloins without cheese, but this was a nice change of pace.

I’m going to give El Reparo’s breaded tenderloin a 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s above average, but it’s not what I would call great.  Still, it’s worth getting if you like tenderloins.

The sandwich is served with potato wedges, and I’ve got to say a word about them.  They were FANTASTIC.  Well-seasoned and perfectly cooked, I will absolutely ask for these again!

El Reparo is located at 819 Main Street in Brookville, Indiana.  They also have locations in Rushville and Connersville, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a web site for them.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gatsby’s, Indianapolis (NW side)

I’ll be honest.  I’ve had folks request that I review a certain restaurant/tenderloin, and I’ve had varying success.  I always feel badly when sometime tells me about a breaded tenderloin that they think is a 5 out of 5, and it turns out to be a fritter.

So, when a good friend asked me to join him for lunch and review the tenderloin and Gatsby’s…I was cautiously optimistic.  I really hoped I wasn’t in for a letdown.  And, I suspected I wasn’t…because he is a firefighter, and if one thing firefighters know, it is good food.  I later found out that the owner of Gatsby’s is an Indianapolis Firefighter, another plus.

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Gatsby’s looks like your typical strip mall pub from the outside.  It’s located just off of I-465 and 71st street on the West side, and is surrounded by office parks and motels/hotels.

Upon entering, it’s much larger than it looks like from the outside.  There’s a raised dining area, and the main floor.  They make efficient use of the space here.

The wait staff was friendly and helpful, but we both knew what we wanted…the breaded tenderloin.

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When they brought it out, it was obviously hand breaded, and it’s sized right. It’s not so large as to be overwhelming, but it’s certainly filling.  The sandwich is seasoned PERFECTLY….and the breading stays crisp throughout the life of the sandwich.  The meat is moist and tender.  Although I was a bit skeptical at the beginning, I can say with assurance this is one of the best tenderloins I’ve ever had.  It’s a 5 out of 5, no questions asked.  Seriously.  Go get this sandwich.

For my side, I chose onion rings, and I’d say they are above average.  They’re not the best in town, but they’re certainly better than what one usually gets.

Gatsby’s breaded tenderloin goes for $8.29, and is served breaded, grilled, or Cajun. Cheese is .50 extra.

A bit of advice….if you’re going for lunch, go a bit early, or after 12:00 Noon.  We got there about 1130, and it was pleasantly busy, but by noon or a few minutes after, there were folks waiting to be seated.

Gatsby’s is located at 6335 Intech Commons Drive.  You can find them online at http://www.gatsbysonline.com , and they also have a Facebook page.

May 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opera House Pub, Elwood, Indiana

Who knew that Elwood, Indiana, has a real, honest to goodness, Opera House?  I’ll admit that I had NO idea until a couple of years ago, and it’s a truly amazing place.

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The owner of the Opera House building opened the Opera House Pub a few months ago, and it’s a welcome addition to downtown Elwood.

The Opera House Pub leans towards the classy side of casual.  It’s nicely decorated with historic posters and pictures of the glory days of the Opera House, and lots of dark wood and leather gives it a very nice feel.  There’s a TV up above the bar, so one can check out the sports scores, but you’re not bombarded with sound from every corner like so many pubs these days.

There’s an extensive beer list featuring local, regional, and national brews, and the service is top notch.  We were there for a show at the Opera House, and lots of folks were dining before the show.  Even though it was quite busy, the service was stellar.

The menu has a nice selection of steaks, sandwiches, salads, and more.  They offer a hand breaded tenderloin, and, of course, that’s what I chose.

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The meat itself was VERY good.  Obviously fresh, it had a nice thickness to it, and was done to perfection.  The texture of the breading was good…it had a nice, satisfying crunch to it, but….it was a bit bland.  I appreciate the effort they’ve put into this sandwich, and with some seasoning it could be great.  As it stands, I’ll give it a 3…just average.

For her dinner, Holly had a Porterhouse and baked potato, with enough food left over for two more meals!  The steak was prepared as she requested and she said she wouldn’t hesitate to get it again.

All in all, this was a very positive experience.  We’ll certainly return to the Opera House!  The Opera House Pub is located at 200 S Anderson Street in Elwood, Indiana.  I was unable to find a web site for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Takathemoke Restaurant Milroy, Indiana

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Takathemoke restaurant is located in the little town of Milroy, Indiana, at the junction of highways 244 and 3 in Indiana.

We’ve passed by this restaurant countless times in our travels, and have always been meaning to stop in, but, never seemed to be passing through at meal time.  This trip, the time was right and we were passing through at the right time for an early dinner.

Takathemoke appears to be in an old farmhouse.  The back part of it has been converted into a bar, and the front is two small dining rooms.  It’s a small restaurant, but very cozy.

As I mentioned, we were there for an early dinner (about 330 PM) so it was kind of an “off” time for them.  Only one employee was on duty, but she did a capable job of taking care of us, even though she was cleaning tables, waiting tables, and cooking.

They offer their hand breaded tenderloin in 2 sizes, a large and a small.  When I saw the price….I was amazed at how inexpensive it was.  The large was 6.95, and that included fries (or another side), and the small was 4.95, and that included fries or another side of your choice.  I opted for the large, of course. 

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It’s a darn fine tenderloin.  The bread them in-house, and the breading has a VERY nice crunch to it, and stays crisp throughout the life of the sandwich.  The meat was above average, but I’d say it falls short of being outstanding.  Still, it was an above average sandwich, if just a bit on the bland side.  It could have stood some seasoning. I’ll give it 3.5 out of 5 bites.

As an added bonus, they serve Wick’s Sugar Cream Pie, the perfect way to end ANY meal!

Takathemoke restaurant is located on State Road 244, just east of State Road 3, in downtown Milroy, Indiana

April 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Montgomery’s Steakhouse, Spiceland, Indiana

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Montgomery’s Steakhouse personifies a restaurant “out in the middle of nowhere”.  It’s located in the little hamlet of Spiceland, Indiana, south of New Castle, just off of the intersection of State Road 3 and I-70.

The parking lot is huge, and for good reason…this is a HUGE facility!  2 big dining rooms, a very large bar, and an area they call “The Back Porch”, where they have outdoor concerts in the summer.  They draw some pretty large crowds, with groups like 38 Special, Confederate Railroad, and more.

We were there for a comedy night, which was held in one of the dining rooms.  It’s got a very cozy feel that makes it seems intimate, in spite of its massive size.

As a steakhouse, they’re menu definitely runs towards the beef side.  There are a lot of steaks, of course, a very complete appetizer menu, some desserts, and more.

I spied ”hand breaded tenderloin” on the menu, and asked our server if it was done in house, and she told me indeed, it is, so I decided to give it a try.

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This is one of the thicker…perhaps THE thickest breaded tenderloin I’ve had.  It’s a hefty sandwich, to be sure.  Was it too thick?  For me, no, it wasn’t.  But, for some folks who prefer a thinner sandwich, it might well be.

The breading was nice and crunchy.  It wasn’t as seasoned as some I’ve had, still, it was very good.  The meat itself had a good flavor…not outstanding, but above average.  However, at least one bite had a hunk of gristle in it.  I realize this happens from time to time, but it does detract from the overall rating of the sandwich.

I ordered a side of onion rings, and I gotta say, those are some FANTASTIC onion rings.  Obviously hand breaded, done perfectly, some of the very best I’ve EVER had.  And I’ve had a lot of onion rings!

I’m really torn on how to rate this sandwich.  It’s good, but finding a nice hunk of gristle can’t help but bring the rating down.  Still, I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s a little above average, and I’d order it again when I’m there.

For her dinner, Holly had the veggie burger and a side of steamed broccoli.  The veggie burger was average – nothing spectacular.  The broccoli florets were smaller than usual, which made them kind of difficult to eat with a fork, but other than that, the taste and level of “doneness” was fine.

I’ve got to give a shout out to the service.  With it being a special event night, I didn’t know what to expect.  They did a GREAT job on serving the crowd.

Montgomery’s is located just south of the intersection of I-70 and Highway 3 in Spiceland, Indiana.  You can find them online at:  http://www.montgomeryssteakhouse.com/

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smokehouse on Shelby, Fountain Square (Indianapolis)

Fountain Square is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Indy.  Over the last few years, it’s has undergone an amazing transformation, and is now a bustling area with restaurants, pubs, duckpin bowling, swing dancing, live music, and much more.

It’s always a good place to take friends who are visiting from out of town, which was the case for us Friday night.  We choose the Smokehouse on Shelby partly because we’d been there before and enjoyed the food, and party because it’s in the same building as Duckpin Bowling, one of the unique things in Indy that we wanted to introduce to our friends.

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Smokehouse on Shelby is a BBQ restaurant, but they have a few other things on the menu.  They advertised a hand breaded tenderloin, but, frankly, I was skeptical.  I’ve been to a few restaurants where they advertise a hand breaded tenderloin, and end up with a fritter.  I asked our waitress about it, and she told me they do all the breading and pounding in house, so I decided to give it a try.

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This is a pretty darn good sandwich!  It’s decent sized without being overwhelming, and the breading is tasty and crisp.  The meat is tasty, but it wasn’t as tender as some tenderloins I’ve had.  And, the price is right…you get a sandwich and TWO sides (I chose fries and cole slaw) for 7.99.  That’s a bargain!  I’m going to give it 3.5 out of 5 bites.  It’s above average but falls short of stellar.

For her dinner, Holly chose the pulled pork sandwich, also served with two sides plus fried biscuits and apple butter.  For her sides, she chose the steamed vegetable du jour and seasoned & roasted Fuji apples, which are customer favorite.  I kid you not; there was enough food for three meals on the plate they brought out to her!  We had plenty of leftovers to take back home!  And for the price of $10.99, you can’t go wrong with this smokehouse classic.  Holly highly recommends the raspberry chipotle barbecue sauce.  This one may be a bit too spicy for some, so a close second would be the horseradish barbecue sauce – all of the flavor with not as much heat.

I want to give a shout out to the staff at Smokehouse on Shelby.  Holly made reservations because we had a larger group, and from the reservation process to the service before, during, and after the meal, everything was stellar.  We’ll certainly return soon!

Smokehouse on Shelby is located right on the fountain in Fountain Square.  You can also find them online at http://www.fountainsquareindy.com/smokehouse/.

March 25, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest review: Corky’s restaurant, Danville, Indiana

Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant

Danville, Indiana

http://corkeysrestaurant.com

When it comes to my dining experiences, there are few things I enjoy more than the playing of 50’s music in the background and, I’ll admit it, a good ole’ fashioned waitress who calls me “honey” and sounds like she means it.

I received both in abundance during a recent visit to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant, a 50’s themed casual diner in Danville, Indiana located at 745 E. Main Street right next to Pence Automotive. Located within a few blocks of both downtown Danville and the nearby Hendricks Regional Health, Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant opened up about a year ago in one of those non-descript buildings where you struggle to remember what it used to be but think to yourself “This is perfect for an old diner.”

I’d also been looking for the perfect opportunity to write a guest column for my good buddy Rick Garrett’s “Tenderloin Connoisseur” blog, and as I was driving up to visit a relative in the nearby Hendricks Regional Health it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to relax a bit before a hospital visit, check out Corkey’s, and finally snag that long desired guest column.

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When you enter Corkey’s, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a 50’s themed restaurant with checkboard linoleum flooring, the obligatory jukebox, a life-sized Marilyn Monroe figurine and constantly playing 50’s music at an easy to the ears volume that allows you to appreciate the music while still having conversations.

The waitresses, at least on this occasion, weren’t quite decked out in your traditional 50’s garb but definitely had a retro vibe with blue jeans and plaid tops and a 50’s style “come on in” attitude that instantly made me feel welcome even as a city boy in this small town just to the west of Indianapolis.

Of course, I was really here to sample the tenderloin sandwich and, much to my delight, it just so happened to be on special during my visit. The “juicy, pork tenderloin” comes standard with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion on a fresh bun with a pickle spear on the side. The special includes either french fries, a side salad or the soup of the day for $6.99. While I certainly don’t fancy myself a tenderloin expert like Rick Garrett, I had no problem choosing breaded over grilled and had no problem determining that this abundant specimen of a sandwich was “really” hand-breaded.

I’m a bit of a purist and opted to order my sandwich plain and with fries on the side along with my customary unsweetened iced tea. My iced tea arrived quickly and I settled in to enjoy the ambience and my newspaper until my food arrived.

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When the sandwich arrived, I looked at it and went “WOW!” It was a far more substantial sandwich than expected with the tenderloin clearly overwhelming what is best described as a fairly basic poppy seed styled sandwich bun.

Unfortunately, this is where the “WOW!” factor really ended. While the sandwich is a better than average sandwich, the taste doesn’t quite match up to the presentation. The meat was thick but not, in fact, particularly juicy and the breading, which had a kind of southern style cornmeal taste to it, lacked the zesty flavor that I value from a truly fantastic tenderloin sandwich. The best word that I can think of to describe the sandwich is “bland.” The meat was surprisingly bland and the run-of-the-mill bun only added to the blandness.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the sandwich, but not nearly as much as I was hoping as it arrived at my table and I looked at its beautiful presentation. I’d easily give it 3 out of 5 bites. The french fries on the side were lightly seasoned and tasty. As a meal combo, the tenderloin sandwich and fries was more than enough for this hearty appetite and I found myself completely unable to even contemplate dessert options that include everything from hand dipped ice cream (at only $.99 a scoop!) to shakes, floats and your expected 50’s diner fare.

The service was for the most part stellar, attentive without being invasive. It was a joy to look around and see that the waitresses clearly took time to talk “to” their customers and not “at” them. It was clear that more than a few diners were Corkey’s regulars, and the rapport between the servers and the customers appeared to be quite genuine, light-hearted and caring. The only slight “glitch” came in needing to ask for an iced tea refill, something that should never have to happen when a restaurant advertises free refills and the server has visited my table multiple times.

Fortunately, the server was readily available and offered me a “to go” cup so I could have an icedtea with me as I readied myself for another hospital visit.

As a consumer in a wheelchair, I do always consider the “accessibility” issue when choosing my dining establishments. While Corkey’s has marked off a couple of parking spots that are clearly designed to be “accessible,” it is worth noting that they are not appropriately marked as disabledvparking and I could easily see them being taken by customers without disabilities. Entering thevrestaurant is a breeze, however, with two easy to maneuver front entry doors and a wide openvconcept restaurant that easily allows for adapting a dining experience when needed. Because thevservers were so incredibly friendly, I can easily see them offering assistance should a diner with avdisability require it.

The big questions I always ask myself as I leave a restaurant is “Will I go back?” and “Will Ivhave this meal again?”

Yes and no.

I will definitely go back to Corkey’s Fabulous 50’s Restaurant. For less than $10, I enjoyedvgood food, terrific service and a fun and casual atmosphere. Corkey’s is easily worth a trip out of Indianapolis to enjoy the day in the delightful community of Danville, Indiana. If you’re there all day, you can enjoy Corkey’s for lunch then head into downtown Danville to enjoy the beloved Mayberry Cafe for dinner. That’s what I would call the absolutely perfect day.

Corkey’s offers a rather delightful menu ranging from your usual 50’s diner fare to such southern comfort favorites as country fried steak, beef manhattan, meatloaf and more. The next time around, I’ll probably try myself a burger or I may even go all out and check out the meatloaf.

November 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Route 67 Bar and Grill, Mooresville, Indiana

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Holly and I had heard of the Route 67 Bar and Grill from several friends, and we were looking for the opportunity to try it.  We seldom get out to Mooresville, but we had a meeting with some folks so this was the perfect chance.

The Route 67 Bar and Grill is located in a little strip mall, very close to Grey’s cafeteria.  It’s not terribly convenient to get to…you have to cut across a gas station parking lot to get to it, but it’s worth the effort.

Upon entering, the first thing I saw was a very large aquarium, a nice touch!  The bartender greeting us warmly, and we were shown to a table for dinner and to conduct our business.

I have to say…I’m seldom felt as welcomed in a restaurant as I did here.  The folks really seemed to appreciate the fact that we chose their place for dinner.  That, alone, makes me want to return and patronize them again.

On the menu, they advertise their “big, sexy tenderloin”.  You can get it either breaded or grilled, and, of course, I chose the breaded version.

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This is one HUGE tenderloin.  And it’s perhaps the biggest bun I’ve ever seen in my life.  Seriously.  I’m not sure the scale of this sandwich comes through in the photograph, but you’d better be hungry if you intend on eating it.  Better yet, plan on sharing.

This sandwich is certainly hand breaded.  Not only is it huge, it’s thick, also, which is my preference.  It LOOKS good….however, there’s a problem.  When the sandwich came out, it was already starting to get soggy.  Maybe not terribly so, but enough to detract from the taste and texture.  That’s the problem with a huge sandwich….keeping it fresh and crisp in almost unmanageable.

The meat was tasty, but the sogginess of the breading certainly took away from that.  Don’t get me wrong….it wasn’t terrible.  It just wasn’t great.  On a scale of 0-5 bites, I’ll give it 2.5, just average.

For her meal, Holly chose the Black and Blue Salad.  She ordered the steak medium and it came out just as she had asked.  The dressing (blue cheese) was good and as an added bonus, they put blue cheese crumbles on as well, which took an above average black and blue salad to the next level!  It was the perfect size – an excellent dinner salad she said she wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

All in all, it was a very good experience.  The service was outstanding, the price was right, and the atmosphere was warm and friendly.  We’ll certainly go back.  Be aware, they are 21 and over, and they are a smoking restaurant. However….I DO believe this was the least smoky of any smoking restaurant I’ve ever been to.

 
Route 66 Bar and Grill is located at 600 S State Road 67 in Mooresville, Indiana.  They have a website at:  http://route67barandgrill.biz/

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Copper Still, Noblesville, Indiana

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Copper Still is a combination pub/sports bar/family dining restaurant on the Northeast corner of the Noblesville town square.

I’m a fan of this business model.  It’s a good place to go if you’ve got family or friends who are under 21 to gather and watch a ball game or just socialize in a warm, inviting atmosphere.  As an added bonus, they have live music on weekend nights.

Although many of the items on the menu are pretty typical bar food, nearly all of them have a twist of some kind, bringing them up a notch.  That’s a nice touch.

Of course, I was there to sample their hand breaded tenderloin, and that’s what I ordered.

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This was a pretty good sandwich….but it wasn’t outstanding.  It certainly was hand-breaded, as advertised, but the breading seemed to lack any seasoning at all.  If I could sum up the breading in one word, it would be “bland”.  The meat was good, but, again, not outstanding.  The sandwich was served dressed exactly as requested.  Overall, I’ll give it 3 out of 5 bites…average.

I had a side order of onion rings, and these were VERY good.  I’d not hesitate to order these again.

For her meal, my wife chose the veggie burger.  It was well seasoned and tasty, but pretty average as far as veggie burgers go.

Our friend Barrie and her husband Wes who were dining with us that evening chose the wings, and Holly and I both agree that they were simply outstanding.  The wings are not breaded, but instead coated with a crust of spices.  Not just dry rub…there is a little bit of oil in the mix to keep the spices intact.  But the flavor and texture was amazing.  I’ve never had wings quite like that before.

 
All in all, it was a positive experience, and we’ll certainly be back.  Conner Station is located at 917 Conner Street in Noblesville, Indiana.  I was unable to locate a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

September 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

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