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MGM Las Vegas Specials And Happy Hours

Stella Artois Video Poker Bar At Red Rock Las Vegas

mmm….beer

I don’t normally write about individual casino specials but the MGM Resorts in Las Vegas have too much going on to share with a single tweet and the info is worth sharing. The first thing I learned is that Aria has a blog called Taste Of Aria. Taste of Aria isn’t necessary reading per se, but it has good info if you’re planning to visit Aria or Las Vegas. Earlier this week they detailed all of the Happy Hour deals at Aria. Here’s the only one with a price attached.

Nothing compliments a mouth-watering slice of pizza like an ice cold beer and Five50’s Happy Hour brings the two together in perfect harmony. Starting at 5:00 pm, a specialty beer will be $.50 until 5:50 pm daily!

Since there are no specialty beers mentioned by name I’d assume Aria means Miller Light (UPDATE: Vegas Chatter says that it’s Goose Island beer. Not bad!). Still, it’s a beer for 50 cents. You don’t see many deals like that for any kind of beer on the Vegas Strip.

MGM Resorts International still uses the MGM-Mirage URL for their blog and recently posted locals discounts for Vegas residents and their various Happy Hour deals. Here’s a look at Mandalay Bay. You can see the other MGM Resorts specials here.

Happy Hours

  • Stripsteak 4pm – 6pm daily. $7 food items, $3 Beer and $6 Well Cocktails.

  • Fleur by Hubert Keller 4pm – 6pm daily. $4 domestic select beer, $6 house wine, and $6 well cocktails.

  • Aureole 5:30pm – 7pm. $4 domestic select beer, $6 house wine, and $6 well cocktails.

  • miX Lounge 5pm-7pm. 25% off lounge food and drink menus.

  • House of Blues 2pm – 5pm daily. $3 domestic beer, $4 house wine, and $5 call cocktails.

  • RM Seafood downstairs lounge 3pm-7pm, $3 domestic beer, $7 well drinks, ½ priced seasonal cocktail specials & select sushi.

  • RM Seafood upstairs lounge 5:30pm-7pm Tues-Sat. $4-$9 unique small bites, $4 craft beers, and $8 signature cocktails.

  • Mizuya 2pm – 5pm daily. $8 selected sushi, $3 beer, and $7 cocktails.

  • Charlie Palmer Steak 5:30pm – 7:30pm, Tues-Sat. Complimentary Sommelier’s choice wine pairing with purchase of any small plate.

  • Verandah 4pm-7pm daily. Choose from five specialty cocktails & five small plates for $5 each.

  • Burger Bar 4pm-7pm Sun-Thur. $3 beer selection, $6.95 food selection and $6 cocktail selection.

  • Slice of Vegas 3pm-6pm Mon-Thur. $4 PBR Pints, $4 Absolut Captain Morgan and Jameson Cocktails.

  • Hussong’s Cantina 4pm-6pm Mon-Thur. Buy One, Get One draft Beer. Buy One, Get One Traditional Margaritas.

  • Rira Irish Pub 3pm-6pm Mon-Fri. $4 Carlsberg & Heineken drafts, $3 domestic bottles, $5 house wine and $6 Smirnoff cosmopolitans.

Some of these Happy Hour’s and discounts are better than others but it’s a nice excuse to add a visit to any of the specific hotels. When I used to vacation in Vegas the only plans I’d make with friends were around dinner so we could spend an hour together catching up on the events of the last 24 hours. These specials are a good way to get the night started a little early. Viva Las Vegas!

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Lunching Outside At Bagatelle Beach

Bagatelle Beach Club At Tropicana Las Vegas

Bagatelle Beach Club

Eating and drinking outside? I’m in!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to have lunch at the new Bagatelle Beach at Tropicana. This was the soft opening and a great way to kick off Cinco De Mayo weekend before losing every bet I made on the Kentucky Derby. Since this was the soft opening I was among the first guests.

Comparing Bagatelle Beach to Encore Beach Club is only fair in that they’re the same concept but there’s nothing at Tropicana that’s done on the same level as Wynn so it’s really not a fair comparison. Besides I was at Bagatelle Beach for lunch outside and not to scope out bikini babes. Note: Every person serving lunch was a dude, the bikini waitresses seem like they are only for pool customers.

Bagatelle Beach is set up with separate areas for people who want to party at the pool and people who just want to grab lunch. There dining tables set up in a shaded are that are fairly secluded and above the action of the beach club. There are also a few booths closer to the pools with coverings providing shade as you can see below.

Lunch area - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

Le Diablo - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

Lunch began with a cocktail called Le Diablo. I don’t normally drink tequila but I usually enjoy a drink with fresh berries and ginger beer so I figured I’d give it a whirl. Since I was so early the fresh blueberries hadn’t arrived so they used strawberry instead. Both drinks were tasty but the original concept of the drink was much better. I always recommend sticking with blueberries when they’re part of the recipe. Additionally, ginger beer is probably my favorite mixer for cocktails.

Lunch - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

For lunch I had a chicken and turkey club on a croissant. The sandwich was good but nothing particularly special.  At $12 (maybe $14) this was priced similarly to most restaurant sandwiches on the strip. Combined with the al fresco dining and drinks this made for a fine base of food for the day. I wouldn’t be upset eating this sandwich again but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Iced Coffee - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

Since I had to drive after lunch I took it easy on the tasty boozy drinks and imbibed a few cups of iced coffee. I don’t look at a day/beach club as the kind of place that many people are ordering iced coffee so I was pleasantly surprised they had it available. While not the highlight of the day it was a nice way to close it.

Booth View - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

I saw some friends dining out in the booths as I was winding down my lunch so I grabbed this sweet view of the entire Bagatelle Beach complex which comes complete with Hooters in the background.

Bagatelle Beach isn’t for everyone. The music is very loud since this is a day club and the DJ mix is today’s EDM (Deadmau5Calvin Harris) and hip hop (Lil WayneDoctor Dre). I enjoyed the music and thought it added to the vibe but it’s not for everyone.

I only visit the Tropicana a couple of times a year or so and this may be one of the few times I visit during 2013. The Tropicana isn’t a hotel many people I know visit so there’s rarely an excuse to stop by. Actually, most people I know don’t even stay on the south end of the strip unless they have a conference at Mandalay Bay.

I would return to Bagatelle Beach if someone else wanted to go there for lunch but probably wouldn’t go out of my way to return. I’ve already recommend Bagatelle Beach to a couple of people as a place to dine outdoors on that end of the Vegas strip.

Lunch was paid for by Bagatelle Beach but my thoughts and pictures are my own.

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Bacon Wrapped Dates In Vegas With No Salmonella

Jaleo Las Vegas Menu

Jaleo Menu

The Firefly location closest to the Vegas Strip was shut down this week because of a large problem with salmonella. 90 people got sick and may file a lawsuit. That’s not good.

Every person I know who loved Firefly went for its bacon wrapped dates which are a classic dish with actual spanish tapas (not to be confused with small plate dishes that are just called tapas). Good news for bacon lovers – this dish should be available at any  traditional tapas restaurant you visit.

When I think tapas in Las Vegas besides Firefly, I think of Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan because of their great selection of restaurants. Jaleo has bacon wrapped dates on the menu for $10.

Jaleo Las Vegas Bacon Menu

An order of Bacon wrapped dates at Firefly are under $5. The Jaleo price look insane since it’s more than twice as much ($10) as Firefly but at least there’s an option when the craving for bacon hits. I make no promise that there isn’t salmonella but Jaleo hasn’t been cited for salmonella poisoning.

There are more options for tapas in Las Vegas but Jaleo is a nice option in the center of the Vegas strip.

Photo: Las Vegas Daze

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8 Great Burgers In Las Vegas

Cheeseburger Cartoon

I have been on a quest for the best burger in Las Vegas since I started visiting years ago. The gourmet burger craze in the past few years has made my conquest difficult with new burger joints opening and closing. I haven’t given up but there are so many more options available.

Last year I started following @VegasBurger and narrowing down potential burgers to try. Erik from Vegas Burger Blog and I have similar tastes in burgers and instead of tweeting him and asking for recommendations on where to go I figured I’d ask him what his favorite burgers in all of Vegas are so I can focus my time burgering around town.

You can find full reviews on each burger at Vegas Burger Blog by clicking on the link to the restaurant. Looks like I have some work to do!

The Badger

The Badger Café: Located just down the street from Dispensary and tied to an equally dingy bar, The Badger Café offers up some tight competition. Starting at only $3.99 this meal provides one of the best non-fast food burger values in town. You have the option to sit in the Rum Runner bar side, or in the quirky little diner next door, either way you’re in for a great meal. Bonus points if you’re a Wisconsin fan.

The Dillenger

The Dillinger: It’s a bit too far for me to frequent on a regular basis, but if you’re willing to take a drive out to Boulder City eat a burger at The Dillinger, it is definitely worth the trip. Their signature Dillinger burger topped with brisket and bacon is a delicious creation, and the Baby Face Nelson with brie and fig marmalade is something I try to replicate at home regularly.

Dispensary Lounge

The Dispensary Lounge: Once voted the #4 Best Dive Bar in the country by Playboy, this dark and dingy spot serves up an unassuming yet killer burger. It recently jumped in price from $3.95 to $5.95, but this is still one of the best deals around. The late ’70s furniture and decor add a wonderful bit of ambiance to the experience to make this an off-Strip burger experience you shouldn’t miss.

DW Bistro

DW Bistro: They offer one of the best brunches in town complete with bottomless Mimosas and one of the tastiest Bloody Marys around, and also happen to serve a fantastic burger. Their New Mexican-style green chili cheeseburger is topped with delicious, crispy jalapeno bacon also found in the Bloody Mary. DW has continually been one of my go-to restaurants in general; having a great burger on the menu is a bonus.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar: Rounding off the list is Summerlin’s best-kept burger secret; it’s only available at the bar, and to top it off this normally $12 burger is half price during happy hour. Anyone should be happy paying their regular price for what you get, but at $6 you get the value of Badger and Dispensary with much nicer surroundings. Just be prepared to fight for a seat at the tiny bar.

Public House

Public House: Now that Rattlecan is out of the building (see Honorable Mention), Public House can go back to claiming the title of best burger in the Venetian. Although it’s a bit pricey for some wallets at $19, the combination of bacon marmalade, gruyere cheese, roast tomato, frisee and Guinness aioli (whew!) make this one stand out burger, and the only one I’m currently willing to mention on the Strip. If the cost is a bit high or you’re looking for a different venue, head to either LBS at Red Rock or The Barrymore at the Royal Resort (and Holsteins at Cosmopolitan), they offer almost the exact same burger for far less money.

Wine 5 Cafe

Wine 5 Café: Located in a shady Target parking lot in the Northwest part of town, Wine 5 takes the prize for my most surprising burger meal of 2012. Who knew that a Kenyan/American fusion restaurant serving something called a ‘flat burger’ could produce such a massive masterpiece? It’s off the beaten path, but worth the trip!

View Wine Bar

Late Addition – View Wine Bar: Hidden in the ghost town known as Tivoli Village in Summerlin, the View Wine Bar serves up a surprisingly fantastic burger complete with equally fantastic fries. The view isn’t really all that special, and the space itself is pretty awkward, but don’t let either of those fool you; this burger shouldn’t be missed. A little tip: see if you can beg your server for a few extra fries as the portion will want you yearning for more. (Full Review Coming Soon)

Rattlecan

Honorable Mention – Rattlecan: In an attempt to break my heart, the news broke earlier this week that this newly opened restaurant shuttered far too soon. I only made it there twice, but both times I was totally surprised by the burgers I was given. To top it off they had a wonderful staff, so the rumors coming out about how poorly the owners failed to break the news to their employees is quite troubling. Hopefully this burger can be recreated somewhere in town soon, I just question whether I’ll be able to support the owners as the truth comes out.

Burger Photos: Vegas Burger Blog
Cover Photo: iliveontheweb.com

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Checking Out Trevi At Caesars Palace Forum Shops

You may remember the blogger meat up I wrote about last year from Ranch House. These meetups are always a good time with good people and sometimes include good food and good drinks. This time it was all of the above. We met up at Trevi which is inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Trevi is one of the first restaurants you’ll see when you walk into the Forum Shops from the Caesars Palace casino.

Trevi at Caesars Palace

I’ve been to the Forum Shops over a hundred times and never noticed Trevi but I’ve walked by it every time I’ve been there. To my defense I’m usually in a rush heading somewhere in the netherworld deep inside the Forum Shops. I get lost almost every time I’m at the Forum Shops because I don’t pay close attention and I’m not directionally inclined. Back to Trevi.

Trevi has dining inside and “outside” of the restaurant. The “outside” dining is a fenced of part of the forum shops which seats you close to the pretty fountains. If you sit too close to the fountains you’ll realize how loud they can be. The airy feeling is nice but head inside if you don’t want to be seen or would prefer less noise.

Grey Goose Trevi at Caesars Palace

While everyone else was sampling the fancy cocktails or some wine I decided to fix a craving I had with a perfectly made Grey Goose Orange and Soda. This picture looks so good that I want two or three more like I had at Trevi. Right. Now. This was the perfect way to begin the night.

Meatballs at Trevi at Caesars Palace

We ate family style and the first course brought the excellent meatballs at the top of the page and this very cool chicken parmesan appetizer. What could make chicken parm cool? Look at the picture…the cheese is in the middle. There was little sauce which is just the way I like it and this made the dish very neat and easy to manage. That’s not always the case with chicken parm.

Dessert Trevi Caesars Palace

Between the meatballs and chicken parm I barely touched the main courses. I wanted to keep room for dessert and I dipped into something called gooey chocolate cake. The outside may look dry but when I dove inside and grabbed some of that hot fudge everything was all good. The fresh berries made for a perfect palate cleanser.

The small plates above shared with a friend would make for a perfect happy hour. Trevi’s happy hour is called Trevi Time and they offer similar plates for $6. Not bad.

Happy Hour At Trevi At Caesars Palace

This wasn’t an ordinary day on the Vegas strip. You may remember the tragic shootout last week where three people died and a car blew up. That closed part of the strip so I decided to cut my travel during the day in two. This is why traffic didn’t seem too bad.

I worked from The Venetian food court for a couple hours before heading to dinner. While drinking one of the best latte’s ever I noticed this incredibly animated dude sitting across from me. Unfortunately he took off shortly after I took this picture and we didn’t meet but I think I’d like to play craps with him some day.

This Guy At The Venetian Food Court

Note: The food and drink were complimentary but my thoughts are my own. If you want to see more pictures from dinner at Trevi, check out the tumblr.

 

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27 Places To Eat In Downtown Las Vegas

Earlier this week I said to stay away from Heart Attack Grill because diners have been having heart attacks and I’d rather you didn’t die. Call me crazy.

In that post I mentioned that I’d come back later in the week with some other downtown Las Vegas dining options. I put this list together based on personal experience and by crowd sourcing on twitter. Thanks to everyone that helped!

There were 25 restaurants on this list that were brought up repeatedly. I added Dunkin Donuts because I love Dunkin and I added Denny’s because I like saying Deli Dinger.

  1. The Beat
  2. Binions Cafe
  3. Binions Steakhouse
  4. Cafe Cortez
  5. Chicago Brewing Company
  6. Chicago Joe’s
  7. Denny’s
  8. Dunkin Donuts
  9. DuPar’s
  10. Eat
  11. Grotto
  12. Hash House A Go Go
  13. Hugo’s Cellar
  14. Island Sushi & Hawaiian Grill
  15. Le Thai
  16. Luna Rossa
  17. Magnolia
  18. Mob Bar
  19. Mundo
  20. Oscar’s Steakhouse
  21. Pop Up Pizza
  22. Second Street Grill
  23. Starbucks
  24. Triple George
  25. Tony Roma’s
  26. Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse
  27. 777 Restaurant and Microbrewery

If you have any other restaurants to recommend downtown leave a comment. Downtown Las Vegas continues to expand so expect this list to grow as more restaurants open.

Note: I have no idea why that puppy came up when I searched “Deli Dinger Denny’s” but it made me laugh and who doesn’t like puppies?!

 

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Stay Away From Heart Attack Grill

When I first saw the news about someone dying from a heart attack at Heart Attack Grill I thought it was ironic and slightly funny in a dark way. Last week another unofficial spokesperson for Heart Attack Grill died from a heart attack and I didn’t even want to mention it. Death isn’t very funny.

“He lived a very full life,” said Basso, who seemed shaken when reached by phone Monday evening. “He will be missed.”

The Pennsylvania native is survived by his only family, his brother Paul. Basso said Alleman had a genetic predisposition for cardiac problems, as both of his parents died of heart attacks in their 50s.

Basso recalled Alleman as a fun-loving man who loved the Heart Attack Grill. The medically themed restaurant is famous for its high-fat menu that includes a record-breaking 9,982-calorie, 3-pound Quadruple Bypass Burger. The grill’s slogan is “Taste worth dying for.”

I’m not a healthy eater but this place sounds disgusting from all reviews I’ve heard. I love steak, burgers, beer and vodka. I’d rather have a good quality steak, a gourmet burger, top shelf vodka and craft beer. That’s far from healthy but I prefer quality over quantity. I’d probably prefer both. Who am I kidding? Heart Attack Grill is not quality. It’s just quantity.

There are so many independently owned bars and restaurants in downtown Vegas to spend your money for a quality experience that it’s sad people go to a chain restaurant just to eat poorly when there are better options available.

Later this week I’ll share some tips to enjoy yourself downtown. In the meantime, if you’re in Las Vegas just stay away from the Heart Attack Grill.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

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Ruth’s Chris Open At Harrah’s

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse opened last week at Harrah’s Las Vegas to minimal fanfare, which is appropriate. Ruth’s Chris is a chain of steakhouses similar to Morton’s, Smith & Wolenski, Del Frisco’s and The Palm. Chain steakhouses aren’t the most exciting but they do play a role in the world of steak.

Ruth’s Chris is not bad. But it’s also not great. I’ve enjoyed quite a few good steaks at various Ruth’s Chris across the country. Sharing a porterhouse for two and getting a second plate of 1,800 degree butter to finish off the porterhouse is fun.

So what role does a decent high end chain steakhouse play in this world? All of the chains above offer good meals in a lot of locations. They generally aren’t destination steakhouses. Steak eaters will never say “I have to go to Harrah’s for Ruth’s Chris!” like the may say “we have to go to MGM Grand for Craft Steak.”

However, if someone is staying at Harrah’s getting a steak at Ruth’s Chris is a good option if you don’t want to leave the hotel. Notice I’m saying “good” and not “great” or “amazing”. There’s something to be said for the comfort of being familiar with the quality of the food and service at a restaurant.

Ruth’s Chris at Harrah’s will be a fine and convenient choice for people staying at Harrah’s and don’t feel like going elsewhere for dinner or don’t have a reservation elsewhere.

Bottom line: I would eat at Ruth’s Chris if someone else wanted to go or if I was staying at Harrah’s, but wouldn’t wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Sure, an independently owned and operated steakhouse might be better or interesting but at least I know Ruth’s Chris won’t try to kill me and that’s more than I can say for Gordon Ramsay.

Photo: Ruth’s Chris

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Fanciest Hotels and Restaurants In Las Vegas

Every year AAA releases it’s lists of best hotels and restaurants in America and ranks them by Diamonds with 5 Diamonds being the best. 4 Diamonds is still excellent but 5 Diamonds is the pinnacle of luxury. Las Vegas tied with New York City for the most luxury resorts for one city.

Those getting the designation are Aria, Aria Sky Suites, Bellagio, Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand, Venetian, and Palazzo. Las Vegas’s Five Diamond restaurants are Joel Robuchon from MGM, Guy Savoy from Caesars Palace, and Le Cirque and Picasso from Bellagio.

According to AAA less than one half of one percent of hotels and restaurants in America receive this distinction so this really makes these the restaurants the finest dining and these hotels the most luxurious.

I’ve only stayed at Venetian and Palazzo and while I can understand why The Palazzo can be a premier resort The Venetian seems to be showing a little wear and tear.

Most, if not all, of these hotels have been on the 5 Diamond list before. There are just a few hotels that are noticeably absent from this list beginning with Wynn and Encore. I think a few years of catering to a younger, more nightclub oriented, crowd have taken its tole on the once premier hotel in Las Vegas.

The other hotel missing from this list is the Cosmopolitan. You know, the “The Best Hotel In The World“. Not so much.

The only 5 Diamond hotels on this list that I want to stay in are Aria and Bellagio. I’ve been in the Aria rooms and thought that they were very nicely put together and I want to stay there even though I don’t like the casino.

Bellagio is one of my favorite casinos in Las Vegas but I’ve never stayed there. Bellagio just finished renovating their rooms so it seems like the right time to check it out. If all goes well playing MyVegas I’ll see one of them on March 23.

You can find all Diamond Ratings on AAA.com.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

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Gordon Ramsay Is Trying To Kill Me

I think the saying goes “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Well Gordon Ramsay fooled me twice and I was in pain and afraid to eat all day Friday because of it. In fact, I couldn’t even finish writing this blog because of the pain.

The story begins last summer when I had a very tasty but fatty New York strip at Gordon Ramsay Steak (GRS) at Paris Las Vegas (see full review at Vegas Chatter). After drinking and gambling for a few hours I ran to the bathroom in pain. I gave GRS the benefit of the doubt on that it didn’t make me sick because I was drinking all night too.

Thursday night I went to the new Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill at Caesars Palace. My friend said I looked timid when ordering and I was. I kept things simple. I ordered mini burgers, chips and a Magic Hat #9. This isn’t anything that should make anyone sick and a combination I’ve had countless times without repercussion. As soon as dinner was over I thought I felt something bad inside but I made it home fine. Unfortunately I wasn’t fine. I woke up Thursday morning at 4am with pain in my stomach that felt like an alien was trying to escape.

I think Gordon Ramsay is trying to kill me. 

I felt so awful and angry on Friday that I didn’t think it was in anyone’s best interest for me to finish writing a blog bashing and bitching about the two times Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants in Las Vegas made me sick. Truth is that they did make me sick and I’m cranky about it.

So, why do I think Gordon Ramsay is trying to kill me? First of all I’ve never read reviews that had people in similar pain eating at multiple Gordon Ramsay restaurants. Second, and more important, the people I dined with made it through their meals relatively unharmed. Third, this feeling hasn’t happened at any other restaurant anywhere in Vegas besides Jack In The Box.

It’s bad enough both places made me sick but both are fairly pricey. Thursday night we had 2 appetizers, 1 side order and 2 drinks for a bill that was $70 after tip. Those are typical Vegas strip prices today for a nice restaurant. My NY Strip at Gordon Ramsay Steak was $65 and dinner was close to $150 per person. This puts the Gordon Ramsay restaurant prices on the higher end of dining in Las Vegas.

I don’t expect to get sick after eating any meal let alone a meal priced at the high end of dining. 

Obviously I will recommend you never eat at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant unless you like to spend your days close to a toilet bowl.

My conquest for the best burger in Vegas will not include Gordon Ramsay’s Burger joint at Planet Hollywood. Seriously, FTG!

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

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