FOOD TRUCK UPDATE

In early March I wrote a story about how a battle is underway between food trucks and the Santa Barbara planning commission over a new ordinance that affects how food trucks can operate. A representative from the city of Santa Barbara has sent me a response to share with you:

“Mr. Dickson, I appreciate the opportunity to respond and help clear up some misunderstandings: The City currently prohibits mobile food vending on private property. In recent years, there has been a rise in this type of land use and in recognition of the community benefits, the New Zoning Ordinance (NZO) proposes to allow food trucks on private property, with some parameters. This has been supported by the Planning Commission since first brought to them in 2015. Proposed provisions to allow Mobile Food Vendors on private property can be found in the Temporary Uses, subsection 28.49.420.E.5 and 28.49.420.F (pages III-210 and III-212) of the Draft NZO document, Feb. 9, 2017), found by navigating to www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/NZO; click on the Reference Documents tab. As for mobile vending on city streets, the City’s current ordinance conflicts with state law. A separate effort that is not part of the NZO is underway to make changes to that ordinance which will have reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. Thank you. Marck Aguilar, Project Planner, City of Santa Barbara.”

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COOKING UP DREAMS

Over 300 guests, celebrity judges and leading local chefs filled the Grand Ballroom of the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort at the end of last month to vote for their favorite dish and support programs for at-risk youth in Santa Barbara County. The sold-out event raised a record $140,000 for Family Service Agency which will help provide services to those on waiting lists for school-based counseling, Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring, and youth behavioral counseling. “We are humbled and energized by the support of our community,” said Executive Director Lisa Brabo. “This event is not just an important fundraiser for us, it’s a great way to connect with our supporters and share in our passion for providing families with the help they need to develop their own paths for life success.” The Judges’ Choice award went to Peter McNee of Convivo for his Pesce Crudo–ahi and avocado on a squid ink cracker. Owner Adam White accepted the People’s Choice award for Santa Barbara FisHouse for the Prawnton appetizer. Awards were presented by event co-chairs Meredith Garofalo and Emily Nordee.

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LUNA TERRACE OPENS AT BILTMORE

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara announced Luna Terrace this month, the newest addition to recently renovated Ty Lounge. Luna Terrace offers an exclusive and eclectic outdoor event space at the Resort, something the property has been working on for sometime now. Available for parties of up to 6 guests, Luna Terrace evokes essence of Tangier with traditional Moroccan furnishings as well as a rich color palette of red, blue, camel and gold. Located off of Ty Lounge’s main seating area, Luna Terrace invites visitors and guests alike to enjoy several elite experiences including Tangier Bottle Service, Private Brunch, Casablanca Romance and Moroccan Feast.

Menu highlights include a traditional:

  • Mezze featuring dips, such as yogurt herb, charred eggplant and warm house made hummus.
  • The Morrocan Mezze Plate, which comprises of a whole roasted cauliflower, Moroccan chicken skewers, grilled lamb kefta and vegetable tagine.
  • Private Brunch, which features a bloody mary bar complete with a selection of expertly paired house made garnishes including hickory smoked bacon, mozzarella pearls, pickled asparagus and fried jalapeno.

Luna Terrace must be reserved ahead of time and prices vary based on number of guests/availability. Call 969-2261 x8542.

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BIG EYE RAW BAR OPENS

Last month I wrote that I’a Fish Market and Café in the Santa Barbara Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street had closed and will be replaced by Big Eye Raw Bar. Reader Mary tells me that Big Eye Raw Bar is now open. They serve poke bowls and other raw items, including oysters, shellfish and sashimi, as well as wine and beer.

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RUDY’S EXPRESS REPLACING JULIENNE

I am hearing that the space at 138 East  Canon Perdido Street, formerly Julienne, Le Bon Café and Dish, has a sign up saying Rudy’s Express is going in. I don’t know if this Rudy’s is related to the other Rudy’s in town but if I had to take a guess I would say it is.

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BUCATINI CLOSES, PLANS TO RELOCATE

Bucatini Trattoria-Pizzeria at 436 State Street has closed after 21 years in business. I spoke with one of the partners at Bucatini and was told that their lease is ending and they are using that as an opportunity to move their restaurant to another block. They are currently looking at several locations. A sign on the window says “Grazie! To all our wonderful customers and friends for their support on these last 21 years. Bucatini will reopen soon on a new location. Please keep following us on Facebook and Instagram, and come see us at Tre Lune 1151 Coast Village Road. Ciao!” Thanks to readers Annie and Bruce for the tips.



Photo by reader Bruce

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GROCERY OUTLET OPENS

Grocery Outlet Bargain Market has opened at 2840 De la Vina Street (formerly Ralphs and Alpha Beta). The official Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday, April 8, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. and includes a $500 grand prize drawing, a 25% off coupon for the first 100 customers, coffee, treats and $1 hot dog with drink from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.


A photo of Grocery Outlet taken a few days before opening, during final preparations.

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SOJOURNER UPDATE

Last August food news junkie and rumormonger Chompee McGillicutty told me that a taco joint and sushi restaurant, perhaps connected to Miso Hungry, will split the old Sojourner spot at 134 East Canon Perdido Street. Reader Steve H. tells me with added confidence that the Japanese half of the property will indeed be the future home of Miso Hungry. I have not confirmed the news.

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CREEKSIDE RESTAURANT & BAR READY TO OPEN

Readers Nick, Tabitha and Mike let me know that in the coming days Creekside Restaurant & Bar will be opening at 4444 Hollister Avenue, the former home of Boondocks and the legendary Creekside Bar. This weekend was the original plan for opening day but rain might bump the date a few days.

I stopped by the other day and quickly realized that this is not just a new coat of paint. Creekside owner David Burkholder, who also owns the The Neighborhood Corner Bar & Grill at 235 West Montecito Street, has extensively renovated the property. Creekside, which used to be a 21-and-over bar is now a full restaurant and bar for people of all ages and it’s very family friendly. When fans of the Creekside come for a visit the first thing they will notice is that things have been turned inside out. Among many upgrades, the space that used to contain a large indoor dance floor is now an outdoor dining area. Behind the restaurant is a huge space for private parties, one of the largest outdoor dining venues anywhere on the South Coast.

Barbecue fans will rejoice. “What I have done is a Southern barbecue-based menu with California influence,” says long time local Chef Kyle Jones. “We have the traditional stuff like the baked beans, coleslaw, and mac & cheese then I’m bringing California influences like roasted Brussels sprouts and a watermelon feta salad. Were doing farm fresh salads to appeal to what we think the Santa Barbara area wants. Then you have southern things like smoked chicken wings with Alabama white sauce, jazz apple & celery. We’re doing house-made sausage, smoked chicken, ribs, tri-tip, pulled pork, and we have vegetarian-based salads. You can get ala cart meats to go with your salad. We’re doing craft cocktails [by General Manager and Mixologist Richard Hollowell], wines by the glass, wines by the bottle, and we’re outsourcing local wineries like Brander and Ballard Lane. We’re trying to get a real approachable feel, basically a smaller end, middle end and higher tier wine selection. Quality is our focus all the way across the board.”

A glimpse of the new back patio and private events area at Creekside Restaurant and Bar.

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BLUSH CLOSES

This was a shocker. Readers Pamela and Annie let me know that Blush Restaurant and Lounge at 630 State Street has closed. The business opened in April 2009, replacing downtown icon Zelo. Word on the street is that many former Blush employees are being hired at the new Creekside Restaurant and Bar on Hollister. Here is a message to you from Blush:

“Do to upcoming business restructuring Blush will no longer be serving the Santa Barbara community as a restaurant and lounge. Although saddened to no longer be serving you in this capacity we are excited by the new ventures we will bring to State Street in the near future. Please note our patio will be available for private events. We thank you for the years of patronage and loyalty you have given us and look forward to seeing you soon.”

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TOY STORY

Reader Steve H. tells me that Savoy Wines is opening at the old Kernohan’s Toy Store location, 18 West Anapamu Street. An ABC permit application is now posted on the front door.

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PETROS LOS OLIVOS MOVES TO SOLVANG

Reader Mary let me know that after 8 years in business Petros restaurant inside Fess Parker Wine Country Inn at 2860 Grand Avenue in Los Olivos closed last January and has now reopened as Petros Kafe at 487 Atterdag Road in Solvang, the former home of Greenhouse Café. “Our menu is a combination of the best ingredients that Greece and California cuisine have to offer,” says owner & chef Petros Benekos. “We import olive oil, feta, honey, oregano and wines from Greece, the freshest organic vegetables from our farms in Los Olivos and wineries of our great state. Quality, simplicity, healthy and tasty food is the creation of that combination. Enjoy.” Hours are Sunday-Monday 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Call 686-5455 or visit petrosrestaurant.com.

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BASIL’S COMING TO ANACAPA

A new restaurant named Basil’s Santa Barbara is coming to 608 Anacapa Street, the former home of Arch Rock Fish and Melting Pot. Basil’s will offer Italian cuisine and it is the sister restaurant of Fabrocini’s Italian Kitchen at 18608 Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana. Both eateries are owned and operated by Rosemary Klein. I called Fabrocini’s and was told that Basil’s will offer the exact same menu as Fabrocini’s which includes salads ($7-$9), entree salads ($9-$10), antipasti ($6-$11), pasta ($12-$15), seafood ($22-$28), chicken ($15-$16), veal/steak ($15-$27) and pizza/calzones ($2-$21). The opening date is currently scheduled for June. For details about the menu visit fabrocinistarzana.com.

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MOOVING IN

This just in from reader Steve H.:

“The Old Skool Cafe, a non-profit ‘youth-run, jazz-themed supper club’ run by at-risk youth, is planned to open at 901 Milpas Street (the old McConnell’s building with the cow on top). It will feature ‘comfort food from around the world’ and live music. They have one in San Francisco. The lady that’s directing it used to work as a corrections officer at Los Prietos. They are now in the fund-raising stage for SB. They hope to open this summer.” Visit oldskoolcafe.org.

901 Milpas Street in 2015 when it was occupied by Sublime.

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OFF TOPIC

Today I visited my childhood home in Montecito and saw something unusual. My parents usually have a wood chip front yard. This year the rain changed things dramatically and they have been bombarded with poppies. They didn’t plant a single one. Nature did it all. Walking to the front door makes you feel like you are in a scene from the Wizard of Oz.

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LOS ARROYOS COMING TO GOLETA

In January I published a rumor that Los Arroyos was going to take over the space recently vacated by Paloma Restaurant and Tequila Bar at 5764 Calle Real in Goleta. This address was also once the home of Rudy’s and Presto Pasta. Reader Cris let me know Los Arroyos now has an ABC application for the address. I contacted Maria Rickard Arroyo, the Director of Marketing & PR for Los Arroyos Restaurants who sent me an update:

“After 18 years serving Downtown Santa Barbara, Montecito, & Camarillo – Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out is VERY excited to move into the old Paloma location in Goleta on Calle Real. Los Arroyos is proud to be a family owned and operated restaurant with many of our staff working with us for most of our 18 years and we welcome some of the Paloma staff as well to our ‘familia.’ It’ll be a pleasure and honor to be in Goleta. Our Goleta menu will have all of our homemade signature dishes and specials as well as a local wine menu and full bar emphasizing our tequila selection and hand shaken margaritas. Our target date to open after some fresh paint has dried is April 26, 2017.”

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SANTO MEZCAL OPENS IN MID-APRIL

Santo Mezcal restaurant is opening mid-April at 119 State Street, the former home of Nuance, Blue Tavern, Anchor Woodfire Kitchen and Subway. Santo Mezcal is the latest concept from Carlos Luna and the team behind the Los Agaves Restaurants. Luna was inspired to open an elevated Mexican concept featuring contemporary Mexican cuisine, alongside a bar where a coveted mezcal and tequila collection take center stage. Leading the culinary side is Executive Chef Ricardo Garcia, who has created a modern menu yet rooted in traditional Mexican flavors and traditions. With a focus on seafood, his cuisine also celebrates local and seasonal ingredients from the Santa Barbara region. Heading up the bar program is locally renowned mixologist, Sean Sepulveda. I’m told that the design and mood at Santo Mezcal reveal a “stylish oasis unlike anywhere else in Santa Barbara.” The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner.

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GROCERY OUTLET UPDATE

Reader Jim says that signs on the doors of Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, coming to 2840 De la Vina Street (formerly Ralphs), say a free lunch is being offered 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. on opening day April 6th. Reader Steve H. says the free lunch is available from Burger Bus (while supplies last) with $10 minimum purchase at the Grocery Outlet. The Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday, April 8, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. and includes a $500 grand prize drawing, a 25% off coupon for the first 100 customers, coffee, treats and $1 hot dog with drink from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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COOKING UP DREAMS

Cooking Up Dreams, a unique fundraising event that features a culinary competition with samplings by local chefs and restaurants, is being held this Friday, March 31 from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. Guests and judges vote on the top dish that will win the People’s Choice or the Judge’s Awards. Guests will also enjoy complimentary wine and beer, full bar (non-hosted), music by DJ Scott Topper, a silent and live auction, red carpet entrance, and much more.

Judges for the event include The Restaurant Guy as well as Joey Buttitta, Anchor, KEYT; Krista Harris, Editor, Edible Santa Barbara; Jen Jasinski, owner, Rioja (Denver) and Max MacKissock, owner, Bar Dough (Denver).

Participating chefs and restaurants include Chef Vincent Lesage of Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa; Chef Irvin Velex Calderon from the Santa Barbara BoatHouse; Chef Peter McNee from Convivo; Chef James Siao of Finch & Fork; Chef Weston Richards, Les Marchands Wine Bar; , Chef Steven Snook, First & Oak at the Mirabelle; Michael Hutchings, Michael’s Catering (Last year’s Judges’ and People’s Choice winner); Nimita Dhirajla, Nimita’s Cuisine; Chef Robert Perez, Oveja Blanca/The Black Sheep; Andrew Dickerson, Patxi’s Pizza; Joseph Baumel, Persona Woodfired Pizzeria; Chef Renaud, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro; and Chef Jesus Charco, Santa Barbara FisHouse.

Proceeds from Cooking Up Dreams support Family Service Agency’s youth enrichment programs including Big Brothers Big Sisters, school-based counseling, and youth behavioral health—all programs targeting low-income at-risk youth who, with the help of counseling and mentors, are able to improve their personal growth and academic experience. Purchase tickets at cookingupdreams.org.

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NEW FOOD TRUCK

This just in from reader Brendan:

“Romanti-Ezer [at 701 Chapala Street] appears to be bucking the trend by opening up a food truck. I walked past the restaurant today and saw a Romanti-Ezer food truck parked in their lot (although it wasn’t open for business). Not sure what their plans are.”

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SANTA BARBARA PUBLIC MARKET UPDATE

Reader Annie tells me that I’a Fish Market and Café in the Santa Barbara Public Market at 38 West Victoria Street closed last week. I tried calling during posted business hours and nobody answered. Annie says that Big Eye Rawbar is replacing I’a and that they are hoping to open by the end of March or early April. I’m told that they will serve poke bowls and other raw items, including oysters, shellfish and sashimi and will sell wine and beer.

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GIMEAL CAFE OPENS IN OLD TOWN GOLETA

Reader Matt let me know that Gimeal Café opened this week at 5892 Hollister Avenue, the former home of The Natural Café. I spoke for owner and chef Hsin Lee, formerly with Takenoya, Ahi Sushi, China Pavilion, and Mandarin Palace. “The food is Taiwanese – American,” says Lee. “We serve Bento boxes. It’s quick food for students and businesses in the area. We offer an open area with WiFi so people can study and hang out here. They won’t have to spend a lot of money because the price is not too high.”

The main menu includes combo plates ($9.95), with main dishes of Onion Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, Fried Chicken Steak, Barbecued Pork, Broiled Pork Chop and Soy Chicken Leg. Options include Mapo Tofu, Stir-fried Vegetable, Spiced Egg (one), Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes, Seaweed Salad, and Corn with Ham. The Over Rice/Noodle menu (presets) includes Porkdon $7.95, Sliced Chicken over Cold Noodle $9.50, Spicy Chicken $8.95, and Unadon $13.95. A variety of skewers and appetizers are also available. Hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday- Saturday. Call 770-7474.

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NEW HEAD CHEF AT BARBAREÑO

A native Californian, Chef Justin Snyder has returned to his roots by accepting the role of head chef at Barbareño, 205 West Canon Perdido Street.  At the age of 28, Justin has a wide breadth of experience working for some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs, such as Michael Voltaggio, Hideaki Sato, and Bruno Chemel.  Having honed his craft through work in places such as Hong Kong, Paris, and Hawaii, Justin is inspired to combine flavors from various ethnic cuisines with the freshest ingredients that Santa Barbara has to offer, all interpreted though the lens of a Michelin-trained chef.  Not afraid to push the limits, Justin is able to seamlessly marry modern cooking techniques with age-old methods to create dishes that are at once familiar, but at the same time completely novel and delicious.  At Barbareño, Justin seeks to further the restaurant’s mission of exploring the regional flavors of the Santa Barbara area, delving further into the culinary history, traditions, and ingredients of California’s Central Coast.  By using his extensive training, Justin hopes to bring a new level of creativity and refinement to the restaurant’s menu.

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WELCOME TO RUMOR ISLAND

Last week I published an unconfirmed rumor from reader Bodie that Islands Restaurant signed a lease at La Cumbre Plaza. Below is an update to that story. As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.

Hi John,

Updating the Islands Restaurant news, the target delivery date of the leased space is mid-May, with a 150 day build out time frame – So we’re looking at an opening date of somewhere around mid-October.

– Bodie

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TASTE OF SOLVANG

The 25th annual Taste of Solvang is is here, starting today, Wednesday, March 15 through Sunday, March 19. Five new events have been added to the celebration this year. The Taste of Solvang Weekend Passport includes tickets to Sip + Savor Opening Night with VIP Access, Saturday’s Tasting Trail and Wine & Beer Walk plus Souvenir Wine Glass, Taste of Solvang Collectible Item, Taste of Solvang Map, Visitors Guide and Souvenir Tote all for $110 per person. Individual events are also available ala carte. All events are rain or shine and tickets are non-refundable. Advance purchase of event passports or ala carte tickets is highly recommended and details on all events are available at solvangusa.com/taste-of-solvang-2017.

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THE PATIO CAFÉ OPENS

A familiar name is making a return. 3007 De la Vina Street, the one-time home of Mike’s Place and Steve’s Patio Café, which became Terraza Café in 2015, is newly remodeled and under new ownership, and, as of 3 weeks ago, is now known as The Patio Café. The restaurant will celebrate its “Launch & Brunch” event on Sunday, March 19, which includes samples from their menu, live music, and a glass of mimosa to toast the opening of The Patio Café. The restaurant is owned and operated by Rosalinda Monrroy, native to Santa Barbara. Monrroy has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. “The Patio Café is a place where I’d like everyone to feel that they can come and sit down, and feel like they are not just eating at a restaurant, but eating at home, sitting comfortably in their own patio,” said Monrroy. “This place is not just for adults, but for  the entire family and friends. I would like to see my guests feel like they are coming to a familial environment where they can enjoy their time, laugh, and share memories over a meal.” The Patio Café serves freshly prepared entrees, daily soups, sandwiches, salads, specialties, and Sunday brunch. The business is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit facebook.com/thePatioCafeSB.

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY SPECIALS

  • Outpost at the Goodland, 5650 Calle Real in Goleta, will be offering $5 Guinness all night on St. Patrick’s Day, and all weekend-long. Chef Bajal will also be serving Irish-inspired bites to accompany.
  • Hollister Brewing Co. at 6980 Marketplace Drive in Goleta is having a St. Patrick’s Day special: Leek, Potato & Bacon Soup (Bowl $6.50, Cup $4.50), Corned Beef & Cabbage $14, and Shepherd’s Pie $13.50.
  • Wildwood Kitchen at 412 East Haley Street is serving homemade corned beef brisket for St. Patrick’s Day.
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BROPHY BROS. CLOSED FOR REMODEL

This just in from John Bennett, owner of Brophy Bros. 119 Harbor Way:

“We are closed until March 20th for floor repairs and minor upgrades. Our Clam Bar and On The Alley are both still open to server our loyal customers. We appreciate your patience and are looking forward to a busy summer.”

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NEW TASTING ROOM

Reader Steve H. tells me that August Ridge Vineyards is opening in about a month at 5 East Figueroa Street, in La Arcada Court, the former home of Isabella Gourmet Foods which moved to the Antioch building at 602 Anacapa Street. I’m told that August Ridge Vineyards, based in Paso Robles are specialists in Italian wines. Visit augustridge.com.

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ST. PATRICK’S WEEKEND AT MESA CAFE

Reader Primetime spotted a sign at Mesa Cafe, 1972 Cliff Drive, offering St. Patrick’s Day specials the weekend of March 17-19, including Homemade Irish Lamb Stew $17.95, Corned Beef & Cabbage $17.95, Irish Coffee $6, Green-Mosa $6 and Green Beer $4.25. Call 966-5303.

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