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Grub Street

Edited by Josh Ozersky with Daniel Maurer

Archive of Ask a Waiter

Ask a Waiter

8/26/08

6:00 PM

Albert Trummer’s ‘Novice Apothekers’ Are at Your Service

"I'm a classic person."Photo: Melissa Hom

With all the fuss over Apothéke, we haven’t heard many specifics about Albert Trummer’s drinks, which will cost anywhere from $12 to, well, “market price.” So we decided to ask the bar chef apotheker himself to tell us about them. Trummer says many were inspired by the apothecaries he visited as a 10-year-old in Vienna. “Over the past seven years I’ve been trying to develop drinks almost like a pharmacy,” he tells us. “I’m shipping special oils from Valencia, Spain, and combining fruits and liquor and soaking and fermenting my own special herbs.” We asked him, for starters, whether he’s sure all of this is legal.

Read more »

Ask a Waiter

8/13/08

6:15 PM

Morgan Peterson of Hill Country Says Y’all More, Eats Barbecue Less

hill country

"We're very comfortable with our guests — there’s no pretense."Photo: Melissa Hom

Sure, Wildwood may be the new barbecue spot in town, with its Wii tournaments and its Jessica Simpson–endorsed T-shirts, but Hill Country remains our favorite. Where else can you devour a game hen that’s been smoked with a beer can in it while listening to a band play a country version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”? We asked Morgan Peterson why she prefers her job as a cocktail waitress and bartender there to her old one at Planet Hollywood.

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Ask a Waiter

8/ 5/08

6:00 PM

Plaza Doorman Fabrizio Brienza: ‘The Good Are In; the Bad Are Out’

fabrizio brienza

"Visuals are very important."Photo: Melissa Hom

After we interviewed Trevor W., star of the mockumentary The Doorman, we noted that it was real-life doorman Fabrizio Brienza who stole the scenes with his outlandish outfits, copious chest hair, and his talk of doing very perverted things to a steak. At the time of the movie, Fabrizio was an owner of Happy Valley. Before that, the part-time model and actor (he has appeared in a soft-core porno — more on that later) worked at Miami’s hottest clubs, before coming here to do time at Pink Elephant, Crobar, Bed, and Guest House, back when it was cool. (“Now? Fuhgeddaboudit,” he says in an Italian accent.) These days, he minds the velvet rope at Danny A.’s exclusive lounge at the Plaza Hotel. We asked him whether his job is as absurd as The Doorman makes it seem and whether he’s allowed to wear his boas and alligator-skin suits at the Plaza. And, because we know you want it, we’re giving you another photo.

"Surrounded by hot party girls every night." »

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Ask a Waiter

7/30/08

1:05 PM

Steve Dublanica, Author of ‘Waiter Rant,’ Cannot Confirm or Deny

waiter rant

No, that's not the restaurant where he worked.Photo: Melissa Hom

Yesterday, we revealed that the restaurant in Waiter Rant (for years the industry’s most notorious anonymous blog and now a book that Anthony Bourdain himself calls “the front-of-the-house version of Kitchen Confidential”) is none other than the Lanterna Tuscan Bistro, in Nyack. For legal reasons, the author, Steve Dublanica, can neither confirm nor deny this, but he was more than forthcoming when we asked him, on the eve of his unmasking, about annoying foodies, bad tippers, and waiters behaving badly.

"Foodies are like the guy who learned one karate lesson." »

Ask a Waiter

7/16/08

5:30 PM

Ron Riccio of Russ & Daughters Is Immune to Fish Stink

russ and daughters

"I know I do smell like a fish when I leave."Photo: Melissa Hom

As we reported earlier, Russ & DaughtersMarco Pierre White’s (and, for that matter, our own) favorite place for smoked salmon — is finally entering the blogosphere. Ron Riccio has worked the counter there for thirteen years, since before the store started using the Net to ship lox to displaced New Yorkers. We asked him how tastes have evolved over the years and how, exactly, he smells after a day of cutting lox.

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Ask a Waiter

7/ 9/08

5:00 PM

Trevor W. of ‘The Doorman’ Smiles on Drag Queens — Trannies, Not So Much

The Doorman, premiering July 18, follows jet-setting gatekeeper Trevor W. as he enjoys a fast life of bribes, buxom beauties, penthouse apartments, and air-kisses. In the mockumentary film, Amy Sacco, of Bungalow 8, calls him the best doorman in the city, which is all too easy to believe, given his hilarious vacuousness (he can’t even do yoga right). One day, however, he gets canned from his gig at Crobar and blacklisted for failing to recognize Nicolas Cage, and outlandish boa wearer Fabrizio Brienza, of Happy Valley, takes his place in the limelight, tweaking his nipples for the camera and bragging that for the right price, he can put you anywhere in New York — even in the lap of Joe Torre. We asked lead actor Lucas Akoskin to channel Trevor W. (Make sure you watch the clip to get his voice in your head.) Not surprisingly, Trevor's musings about celebrity, style, and nightlife were, well, not much different than those of the actual doormen we've talked to in the past!

"I will prioritize beautiful women." »

Ask a Waiter

6/24/08

5:00 PM

Giovanni Terzulli of Florio’s Doesn’t Mind If You Smoke

gold coast dogs

"I'm 66. Very soon I'll be three sixes and I'll be the devil!"Photo: Melissa Hom

Giovanni Terzulli has worked as a waiter in Little Italy since arriving from his native Bari more than 40 years ago. In the mid-sixties he briefly worked at Florio’s Grill and Cigar Bar, under its namesake owner — seven years ago he returned to work for current owner Ralph Amoruso, who, along with his son Larry, operates an anachronistic cigar bar in the front of the restaurant, despite the city’s efforts to crack down. We were hoping Terzulli would tell us about the upstairs humidor and custom-knife club that can be reached via an apartment-building hallway, but his lips were zipped about it (membership is about $350, in case you’re curious, and you have to either befriend one of the owners or be referred by another member to so much as set your eyes on it). He did, however, tell us a little bit about the movie and military memorabilia gracing his "fame wall."

"My boss likes Republicans, he doesn't like the Democrats." »

Ask a Waiter

6/17/08

5:45 PM

Grom's Ratanak Joed Kong Lets You Taste As Much As You Want

Ratanak

What's your favorite flavor?Photo: Melissa Hom

Nine months ago, Ratanak Joed Kong mastered the flat scoop at Grom on the Upper West Side. ("You have to make it round yourself," he explains.) Now he mans the gelateria's new location, on Bleecker Street. Considering that Rob and Robin declared Grom's gelato the best in the south Village this week, we checked in with Kong to find out what's really in the gelato, his feelings on Pinkberry, and the etiquette of tasting. —Alexandra Vallis

"It tends to get annoying after the sixth taste." »

Ask a Waiter

6/12/08

2:15 PM

Amanda Dell Juggles ‘Outstanding’ Reservations at Gramercy Tavern

amanda dell of gramercy tavern

"I feel great when I can speak to a guest and use their names."Photo: Melissa Hom

The afterglow of the Beard Awards hasn’t yet faded at this year’s Outstanding Restaurant winner, Gramercy Tavern. Maître d’ Amanda Dell, who has been there for three years, checked out of Sunday night’s after-party early (as in, 1 a.m., on Monday), but she tells us it raged on to the point where the bar ran out of certain items and had to spend the next couple of days restocking. “Mostly everyone was enjoying sparkling wine and beer,” she says, “but I do think people got into some bourbons. That’s kind of a GT favorite.” We asked her how this celebration compared to past ones and got some table-scoring tips in the process.

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Ask a Waiter

6/ 3/08

5:00 PM

Omar Niang Wants You to Feel the Harrison's Electricity

harrison waiter

"The money is good."Photo: Melissa Hom

Amanda Freitag’s tenure at the Harrison — where Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro and then Brian Bistrong cut their teeth before her — has yielded rave reviews from Time Out and the Times. One person who’s happy about that is Omar Niang. The Senegal native worked for Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten before coming to work for Jimmy Bradley about five years ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s been trained to spot critics. “We get Frank Bruni every night we work here,” he tells us. “Everyone is Bruni, my friend. Even if I see you for the first time, you are my Bruni!” Works for us!

"Feel the electricity, my friend." »

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More Ask a Waiter posts

Jenn James of the Rusty Knot Never Wants to Hear ‘Hotel California’ Again

5/28/08

|
6:00 PM

| Tags: joaquin baca, ken friedman, momofuku, nightlife, the rusty knot, west village

Mika Porro of Cafe Cluny Directs Traffic for Brunch Bunches

5/20/08

|
5:30 PM

| Tags: beatrice inn, brunch, cafe cluny, cafe luxumberg, keith mcnally, lynn wagenknecht, west village

Adour Wine Director Thomas Combescot Isn't Sweating the Computer

5/16/08

|
9:30 AM

| Tags: Adour, Alain Ducasse, Thomas Combescot

Alex Day of Death & Co. Cringes Over Dirty Martinis

5/ 7/08

|
9:00 AM

| Tags: alex day, death & co., east village

Former Elaine’s Bartender Brian McDonald Tells All

4/29/08

|
6:15 PM

| Tags: brian mcdonald, elaine's, george plimpton, last call at elaine's, mick jagger, nightlife, ringo starr, robert evans, upper east side

Tenjune Doorman Aalex Julian Nixes Kevin Connolly's Entourage

4/23/08

|
9:00 AM

| Tags: 1 oak, aalex julian, guest house, home, meatpacking district, nightlife, pink elephant, socialista, tenjune

Andres Glasner of Waverly Inn Highly Recommends Siberia

4/15/08

|
6:25 PM

| Tags: emil varda, graydon carter, waverly inn, west village

Jeremy Sullivan of Kobe Club Gets $5,000 Tips From Rush Limbaugh

4/ 1/08

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: derek jeter, jeffrey chodorow, kobe club, rush limbaugh

Julia Dubovichka of Tatiana Explains ‘Eggplant Caviar’

3/25/08

|
6:30 PM

| Tags: brighton beach, tatiana

Rose MacDowell, Author of ‘Turning Tables,’ Only Cried on the Job Once

3/18/08

|
5:30 PM

| Tags: ark restaurants, heather macdowell, rose macdowell, turning tables

Lurie De La Rosa of PDT Asks That You Put Your Pants on and Leave

3/11/08

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: blue hill, david chang, little branch, milk and honey, pdt, pegu club, per se, wylie dufresne

Antoinette Morelli of 2nd Avenue Deli Makes Sure You Don't Sneak In Chocolate

3/ 4/08

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5:00 PM

| Tags: 2nd avenue deli

One if by Land's Michael Lombardozi Won't Let You Make Babies in the Bathroom

2/14/08

|
9:30 AM

| Tags: one if by land, two if by sea, west village

Chana Levi of Mara’s Homemade Celebrates Fat Tuesday With Live Crawfish

2/ 5/08

|
6:30 PM

| Tags: east village, mara's homemade, mardi gras, new orleans

Bernard Patten of Peter Luger Has a Strict ‘No Touching’ Rule (Even With Lindsay Lohan)

1/30/08

|
9:00 AM

| Tags: bernard patten, peter luger, steak, williamsburg

Socialista Doorman Jeffrey Trunell Wants to Let You In But Sometimes Can't

1/23/08

|
12:00 PM

| Tags: armin amiri, bungalow 8, jeff trunell, nightlife, socialista

Sake Sommelier Chizuko Niikawa of Sakagura Serves $100 Bottles to Jean-Georges

1/15/08

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5:12 PM

| Tags: midtown, sakagura, sake

Michael Rankin of Diner: ‘I Think That Guy’s McLovin — You Should Card Him’

1/ 8/08

|
2:40 PM

| Tags: christopher mintz-plasse, diner, mclovin, superbad, williamsburg

Frankie Marshall of Wakiya Wouldn't Dare Replace Anna Wintour's Napkin

12/18/07

|
5:30 PM

| Tags: anna wintour, gramercy park hotel, jimmy fallon, rose bar, wakiya

Andrei Bancea on Cipriani: You'll Have to Speak to the Owner

12/11/07

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5:15 PM

| Tags: cipriani, cipriani downtown, cipriani wall street

Model-Waitress Courtney Yates of Coffee Shop Gets $250 Tips From Taye Diggs

12/ 4/07

|
6:00 PM

| Tags: coffee shop, models, taye diggs

Nelson Hernandez of Insieme Is Waiting Out the Broadway Strike, Liquor Board

11/27/07

|
5:18 PM

| Tags: insieme, marco canora, times square

Bryan Coomansingh of Jive Turkey Is Part Cashier, Part Doorman

11/20/07

|
5:30 PM

| Tags: clinton hill, jive turkey

Elli Jafari Tells You How to Order Like a VIP at Le Cirque

11/13/07

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5:08 PM

| Tags: elli jafari, le cirque

Dell Dude Now Tequila Dude at Tortilla Flats

11/ 7/07

|
9:00 AM

| Tags: tortilla flats, west village

Helena Elko of La Esquina Isn't Sweating the Taco Wars

10/30/07

|
5:15 PM

| Tags: helena elko, la esquina, pinche, serge becker

Brianne McDowell at STK Hears Things in Your Shrimp Rice Krispies

10/23/07

|
5:19 PM

| Tags: meatpacking district, stk

Thomas Meaney Serves Your Future Husband at Bar Martignetti

10/16/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: bar martignetti

Winston Gitonga Serves Takeout to Britney, Discourages Buddha Climbers at Tao

10/ 9/07

|
5:09 PM

| Tags: britney spears, grocery, shiftdrink, tao, telepan, winston gitonga

Jennifer Fitzgerald Fuels Oktoberfest Conga Lines at Killmeyer's

10/ 2/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: killmeyer's, staten island

Phoebe Damrosch, Formerly of Per Se, Apologizes for Spilling a Martini on You

9/25/07

|
5:22 PM

| Tags: per se, phoebe damrosch, thomas keller

Chris Wilgos of Gilt Serves the Anonymous Superrich

9/18/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: christopher lee, gilt, le cirque, midtown east, paul liebrandt, philadelphia, striped bass

Allison McDaniel Keeps Southern Hospitality Diners' Hopes Up for Justin Timberlake

9/11/07

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5:10 PM

| Tags: brother jimmy's, justin timberlake, southern hospitality

Chris Stein at Smith and Mills Is Proud to Be a Luddite

9/ 4/07

|
6:00 PM

| Tags: freemans, la esquina, smith and mills

Tom Harlan at Mars 2112 is on the “PG Side of the Equation”

8/28/07

|
5:52 PM

| Tags: mars 2112, tom harlan

At Freemans, the Deer Heads Smile and So Do the Servers

8/21/07

|
5:30 PM

| Tags: artichokes, brunch, freemans

Lifestylist Michael Lerner Will Help You With That Parisian Wedding Proposal

8/14/07

|
5:01 PM

| Tags: double seven, eugene remm, four hundred, il buli, mark birnbaum, per se, tenjune, tony abrams

Janell Oleary of Nikki Midtown Gets Tipped $500 for Two Bottles

8/ 7/07

|
5:13 PM

| Tags: nikki midtown

Ania Zawieja of Robuchon Drinks Wine for Work, Beer for Fun

7/31/07

|
5:11 PM

| Tags: cafe gray, joel robuchon, l'atelier de joel robuchon, the modern, wine

Pavement and Sonic Youth Bassist Mark Ibold Slings Hurricanes at Great Jones Cafe

7/24/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: great jones cafe, mark ibold, pavement, sonic youth

Frank Gluska of Ruby’s Won’t Be Making You a Fuzzy Navel

7/17/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: coney island, ruby's

Tavern on the Green’s Ronny Webb Likes to See You Smile

7/10/07

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5:00 PM

| Tags: central park, midtown, rainbow room, ron perlman, tavern on the green

Tamica Gazson Serves Hot Dogs to Freaks at Nathan’s Famous

7/ 3/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: coney island, hot dogs, major league eating, nathan's famous

Roman Deingruber Loves the People-Watching at Cafe Gitane

6/26/07

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5:00 PM

| Tags: cafe gitane, nolita

Carrie Jennings of Spotlight Live Doesn't Mind If You're Horrible at Karaoke

6/19/07

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5:00 PM

| Tags: spotlight live

Jonathan White of the Tasting Room Loves His Weeds

6/12/07

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5:00 PM

| Tags: colin alevras, tasting room

Nicoye Banks of A Voce Chops It Up With Denzel Washington

6/ 5/07

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5:33 PM

| Tags: a voce, andrew carmellini

Michael Harr of the Box Serves Scarlett Johansson, Experiences a ‘Brush of Excitement’

5/29/07

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5:18 PM

| Tags: michael harr, scallywag sideshow, scarlett johnasson, simon hammerstein, the box

Kyle Dureau Wants Shake Shack to Be Open 24/7 As Much As You Do

5/22/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: danny meyer, shake shack, terrace 5

Don't Put Ketchup on Your Steak, Pleads Carly Skinner of Davidburke & Donatella

5/15/07

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5:30 PM

| Tags: david burke, davidburke & donatella, donatella arpeia

Lynnea Scalora of Enid’s and the Annex Can Tell Her Hipsters Apart

5/ 8/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: enid's, greenpoint, lower east side, the annex

Pure Food and Wine's David Moltz Hangs With Gisele, Chases Raw Foodists for Tips

5/ 1/07

|
5:38 PM

| Tags: pure food and wine, sarma melngailis

Lovers, Allow Pravda’s Rania Haditirto to Show You to Table 69

4/24/07

|
5:30 PM

| Tags: balthazar, keith mcnally, nolita, pravda

That Number Melissa Barnes of Lotus Just Gave You? Probably Fake

4/17/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: lotus, meatpacking district, nightlife

Dagny Mendelsohn of Employees Only Defends Her Customers From Flying Fruit

4/10/07

|
5:58 PM

| Tags: employees only, nightlife, west village

Ian Tomaschik of Chanterelle Will Serve You Fake Wine If Your Secretary Asks

4/ 3/07

|
6:06 PM

| Tags: chanterelle, tribeca

May Harrington of the Grand Central Oyster Bar Remembers 35-Cent Bivalves and Andy Warhol

3/27/07

|
4:55 PM

| Tags: grand central station, midtown, oyster bar

Eve Dunlop of Lovely Day Insists Her Customers Aren’t Hipsters

3/20/07

|
4:57 PM

| Tags: ask a waiter, lovely day, nolita

RUB’s Jonathan Meyer Cleans Up Your ‘Mystery Napkins’

3/13/07

|
4:56 PM

| Tags: ask a waiter, barbecue, chelsea, dallas bbq, rub

Sara of the Penthouse Executive Club Knows Your Children’s Names

3/ 6/07

|
5:29 PM

| Tags: ask a waiter, penthouse executive club, robert's steakhouse

Guss’ Pickles Vendor Roger Janin Doesn’t Mind Getting Wet and Smelly

2/27/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: guss' pickles, lower east side, pickles

Boyfriend Cheating? Corey Lima of Schiller’s Is There for You

2/20/07

|
5:04 PM

| Tags: ask a waiter, lower east side, nightlife, schiller's liquor bar

Your Secrets Are Safe With Katarina ‘the Shadow’ Auster of Morimoto

2/13/07

|
5:14 PM

| Tags: ask a waiter, iron chef, morimoto

Boqueria’s Jeff Deisel Refuses to Take Reservations for Howard Stern

2/ 6/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: ask a waiter, boqueria, chelsea, ed koch, howard stern, pork, tapas

Dirty Delta of Lucky Cheng’s Serves Orgy Bowls to Britney Spears

1/30/07

|
4:50 PM

| Tags: britney spears, east village, lucky cheng's

The Spotted Pig’s Anna Vanderzee Tells Mario Batali to Keep His Voice Down

1/23/07

|
5:15 PM

| Tags: april bloomfield, ask a waiter, ken d. friedman, mario batali, the spotted pig, west village

You Won't Catch El Faro's Miguel Hernandez Smelling Like Garlic After Work

1/17/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: el faro, spanish, tapas, west village

Carolyn Wandell-Widdoes of Union Square Cafe Knows How You Like It

1/10/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: danny meyer, gramercy tavern, union square cafe, union square hospitality group

Alfredo of Rome's Josh Marmer Refuses to Feed Your American Girl Place Doll

1/ 3/07

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: alfredo of rome, italian, midtown, pasta, rockefeller center

Papaya King's Alexander Poulus Serves Franks to Martha Stewart, Referees Fights in Line

12/20/06

|
4:42 PM

| Tags: gray's papaya, hot dogs, papaya king

Stanton Social's Jason Raines Will Comp Your Meal If Customers Make Out Near You

12/13/06

|
5:09 PM

| Tags: stanton social

Ben Chekroun on How to Get the Best Seat at Le Bernardin

12/ 6/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: ben chekroun, le bernardin

Hawaiian Tropic Zone's Tina Marino Probably Won't Be Sharing Her Life With You

11/29/06

|
11:00 AM

| Tags: hawaiian tropic zone, tina marino

Churrascaria Tribeca's Marcio Lorenzi Promises Not to Drip Blood on You

11/16/06

|
9:00 AM

| Tags: churrascaria tribeca, marcio lorenzi

Cody Landis of Savoy Knows You Don't Mind a Little Abuse

11/ 9/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: cody landis, savoy

Daniel's Bernard Vrod Serves Presidents, Gets Wife Free Meals

11/ 2/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: bernard vrod, daniel, le cirque, michelin guide, secret service

Liz Esqueda of Michael's Is Not Impressed by Laura Bush

10/26/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: bette midler, dan quayle, diane sawyer, joe armstrong, laura bush, liz esqueda, michael wolff, michael's, ron perelman, willie nelson

Carnegie Deli's Muriel Caraballo Hazes Tourists But Won't Eat Meat

10/18/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: milton parker, sandy levine, the carnegie deli

Casey Lauren of Butter and G Spa Doesn't Want Your $100,000

10/11/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: butter, casey lauren, g spa, scott sartiano

Ninja's Nina Cha Serves 800-Degree-Rock Soup, Frightens Small Children

10/ 4/06

|
5:17 PM

| Tags: frank bruni, nina cha, ninja new york

Prune's Cynthia Rojas on Diners Shy and Naughty

9/27/06

|
5:00 PM

| Tags: gabrielle hamilton, prune

Balthazar's Nathan Frye Serves Matthew Barney Dramatic Desserts

9/20/06

|
4:47 PM

| Tags: balthazar

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