Hot!Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket

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wanderingjew
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 09:50:29 (permalink)
CajunKing


That raisin pie looked SOOOOOOOOOOO very good, (#4 btw CTD & BB)



This is only the beginning-  much more pie to come (and lots of sour cream raisin too)
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RodBangkok
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 11:21:44 (permalink)
thanks for the trip report, I really enjoy all the photos....only no tater tots for me eeeeeewww.
#32
mar52
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 17:15:38 (permalink)
Now that's a hotdish I could eat.  Looks more like Kasha than slop.
 
How lucky you were to find that Farmer's Market!  Did you purchase any of their locally made jarred goodies to take back home?
 
I'm a sucker for mustards and sauces.
 
#33
Davydd
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 17:29:38 (permalink)
wanderingjew

billyboy

Hey WJ!  Great stuff man.  I'm hooked already.  Nice that you were able tyo break bread with Davyd.  You mentioned "gimmicky" hotdish with an accompanying photo of Grumpy's Bar.  Is there a story behind that?


Actually Davydd and I had the opportunity to "break beer" which I was looking forward to since we're both beer guys. Speaking of Davydd, he's the man who can best explain the story behind Grumpy's. Paraphrasing from what Davydd relayed to me is that it's two young guys from Chicago behind an overly stereotypical Minnesotacentric menu.

Grumpy's is a bar/grill that serves bar food. There is nothing authentic or home cooked or Scandinavian about it. It is owned by two non-native young guys. Hot dish has been embellished by the likes of Garrison Kiellor's Prairie Home Companion radio show and a satire book written by Howard Mohr on How to Talk Minnesotan. Also there are several recipe books on hot dish both serious and satirical. It is today a food to be made fun of for the most part and probably to satisfy out of towners, it might look good on a menu. Wanderingjew was not looking for the the satirical dish from SYSCO but a dish with some distinctive Scandinavian ancestral roots that are getting harder and harder to find. BTW, my wife made traditional hotdish for our RV social potluck this week in Grand Marais. I insisted she use authentic hand cut and parched native wild rice. At $16 per pound I can guarantee you will not get that in a restaurant.
#34
Greymo
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 17:34:42 (permalink)
This is  interesting.  What is traditional  Hotdish?.  I   had always thought  that it  was  a casserole  which  was  basically  a  one dish meal
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Davydd
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 17:57:39 (permalink)
Hot dish is casserole. It can be baked in an oven or slow cooked in a crockpot. The traditional Minnesota hot dish is wild rice, mushroom and chicken or ground beef. Often it is layered with potatoes and often Tater Tots.
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wanderingjew
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 19:07:07 (permalink)
mar52

How lucky you were to find that Farmer's Market!  Did you purchase any of their locally made jarred goodies to take back home?

I'm a sucker for mustards and sauces.


 
Mar
 
I can never turn down a good farmers market. Unfortunately with 2 1/2 weeks of clothes in my luggage, I was limited as to what I could bring back with me
#37
wanderingjew
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 20:47:57 (permalink)
Sunday August 22
 
This would be my last full day in the Twin Cities before I head to points north.
 
After another coupla cups of coffee at Bun Aisle, I decided to head to St Paul for a real breakfast at the original Keys Cafe


 
Keys Cafe is a local chain in the Twin Cities. The original location that I went to opened up sometime in the 1970's. I told Davydd of my breakfast option a few days earlier when we met and he gave me his seal of approval.
 
Keys offers both counter and booth seating.
 

 

 
I decided to go with the Loon Omelet.

 
Not only was this omelet enormous but it was also
every bit amazing. Basicallly  a breakfast hotdish in an omelet, it contained wild rice, turkey, mushrooms, onion, tomato, swiss cheese with creamy mushroom sauce ladeled on top. My only regrets was that I was unable to finish this gargantuan masterpiece. Asides from Hells Kitchen, this was my favorite breakfast of the trip and it will find itself on a top 10 list for 2010.
 
After breakfast, it was such a beautiful day, I decided to stroll around some of the urban neighborhoods in Minneapolis. I started with the West Bank located near my hotel and then drove to uptown and walked around there.
 
I stumbled upon an indepent bookseller called Magers and Quinn and found this book.
 

 
 
Like Davydd mentioned there are even books written about Hotdish and this one came out about 4 years ago, as I remember Michael Stern mentioned it in a previous thread, however for those who are curious, I did not purchase the book.
 
Afterwards I headed over to Lake Calhoun to take  a stroll around the lake
 

 

 
 
Even the ducks seem perfectly content!
 

 
After strolling around, I deliberately planned on having a light lunch. (not Chi Town Diner lite) but a legitimately light lunch since I already an enormous breakfast and knew I was going to have a big dinner.
 
I went over to the Midtown Global Market a newish indoor market with several stalls and international offerings including
 

 
Vietnamese
 

 
Carribean
 
and
 

 
Mexican
 
I decided to go with
 

 
You guessed it,  Cafe Finspang, a Scandinavian gift stop, bakery and deli. I believe they may even have Lutefisk there but I didn't get any.
 
I decided to go with their Smorgasbord.
 

 
Small open faced sandwiches on dense dark bread
(from left to right- herring, salmon and jarlsberg cheese)
These little sandwiches really hit the spot- just enough to carry me over til dinner.
 
For dessert, I got a lingonberry bar.

 
I wish I could say something favorable about  the Lingonberry bar as I did the sandwiches but I can't. I've had lingonberrys before and although the bar was moist and sweet, it really didn't taste like anything remotelely resembling lingonberries and was surprisingly bland.  The meal itself was relatively inexpensive about 6 bucks and change.
 
After lunch I walked around the market some more, soaking in the atmosphere and listening to the live band they had there that afternoon.
 
I then drove back downtown and headed to ...
 

 
The Mill City Musuem. A museum celebrating Minneapolis' history as one of the biggest flour manufacturers of the nation in the first half of the twentieth century.
 
As some may know...
 

 
This guy got his start here!
 

 
and here is the old building.
 
And of course
 

 
gold medal flour aka general mills..
 
The museum was really interesting  being greeted by an unusually monster sized box of bisquick
 

 
and other interesting contraptions
 

 
 

 
Inside the flour tower you are taken inside a freight elevator and are taken to different floors which were amazingly duplicated to look like different areas of a working mill and the computer generated animitronics were just out of this world. Eventually I was taken to the observaton tower with a great view of St Anthony's Falls.
 

 
After the museum my final stop for the evening was the place that no one can leave the Twin Cities without stopping at...
 

 
Although there is extremely heavy sun glare on the sign- this is Tavern on Grand in St. Paul.
 
Several days earlier Davydd mentioned that Buddyroadhouse had been there recently and it had changed. Apparently renovations had been done and the place was not as good as it used to be. I sent Buddy a pm before going and he indicated that the  renovations changed the atmosphere of the place and that it now looked more like a sports bar versus a northwoods cabin. Also there are items that are no longer on the menu but the Walleye is still good.
Just as long as the wild rice soup and Walleye are on the menu- that's all I care about.
 
Anyway, I may not be the most observant person in the world, but it appeared to me when I walked in the northwoods cabin atmosphere still appeared intact...
 

 

 

 
I started out with the chicken wild rice soup.
 

 
This used to be my benchmark for wild rice soup.  Still good and was better than the wild rice soup at Cornerstone Cafe, however it fell short of the wild rice soup at Kafe Stuga.
 
When I visited Tavern on Grand in the past, I usually ordered the walleye sandwich.  This time I ordered the Walleye Entree. You have the option to order one or two fillets. Of course I chose two
 

 
It came with a choice of potato, the only logical option to me was the potato cakes. Both the Walleye and Potato Cakes were outstanding, however I'm not sure if its my imagination or not but it seems that they use a lighter batter for the walleye sandwich than they do the entree. I didn't ask but when I checked some of the yelp reviews others had mentioned the same thing.
 
That's about it for Sunday. The next day I will have an early start so I returned to my hotel after dinner.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/09/14 20:51:48
#38
Davydd
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 21:29:14 (permalink)
I've been in Minnesota only 40 years. Maybe some day I will get to some of those places.
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Nancypalooza
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 21:35:08 (permalink)
That's a beautiful plate of walleye and I did not know all that about the flour mills downtown--very cool!
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mar52
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 21:47:46 (permalink)
Amazing meals and things to see!  I'm now craving wild rice soup.  I really like the look of that omelet.
#41
joerogo
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 21:59:23 (permalink)
Hey Dale, cool trip and pics.
 
I have about a dozen "Hot Dish" jokes, but since I'm on Double Secret Probation I'll keep them to myself
#42
1bbqboy
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 22:05:48 (permalink)
as long as they don't involve blue cheese or avocados I'm safe
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 22:07:21 (permalink)
mar52

Amazing meals and things to see!  I'm now craving wild rice soup.  I really like the look of that omelet.

just so you know, California wild rice is not real wild rice. Just thought  you should know.
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Nancypalooza
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 22:11:53 (permalink)
Particularly if they try to sell it to you out of a car. ;)
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 22:51:10 (permalink)
joerogo

Hey Dale, cool trip and pics.

I have about a dozen "Hot Dish" jokes, but since I'm on Double Secret Probation I'll keep them to myself


lAUGHING MY HEAD OFF......................I feel your pain!
#46
mar52
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 22:59:53 (permalink)
So if I make wild rice soup, it isn't.
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1bbqboy
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/14 23:29:00 (permalink)
 California Wild Rice Soup. Just have to add the Sprouts, tofu, and Avocado slices.
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mar52
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 01:02:45 (permalink)
I couldn't stand it.
 
Just bought a pound of MN wild rice on Ebay.  
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joerogo
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 07:52:52 (permalink)
bill voss

 California Wild Rice Soup. Just have to add the Sprouts, tofu, and Avocado slices.

 
Don't forget the crumbled blue cheese.
#50
MSPD
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 16:03:54 (permalink)
wanderingjew 
It was certainly a good burger and definitely had more character than the Connecticut Steamed Cheeseburger but it left me wondering what all the hype was all about. It's a stuffed cheeseburger for crying out loud, there was really nothing about it that made me think "wow....this is really unique"..


Sigh.  And to think of all the good burgers you missed at the Nook.
#51
wanderingjew
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 20:58:34 (permalink)
Monday August 23
 
Early to rise I had a quick caffeine fix at the regional chain Dunn Brothers in downtown Minneapolis.
 
Afterwards, my breakfast stop was a return to Lindstrom Bakery in Lindstrom MN, but not for one of their ho-hum donuts. A photo has been haunting me for a while and I just had to tear into a whole hunka this...
 

 
Julekaka Bread or Swedish Christmas Bread. Yes this is the size of a typical loaf of bread
Spiced with cardamon and filled with raisins and dried fruit, it reminded me of Entemann's danish back in the day when Entemann's used to be good when they were a Long Island only regional bakery.
 
Afterwards I continued my way "up north" passing through Duluth it appeared the entire city was under construction. In fact it was.
 
I finally made my way to Two Harbors and to
 

 
Two Harbors Light.
 
It was here that I  had the opportunity to gaze at Lake Superior for the first time.
 

 
While touring the grounds..
 

 
and the keepers cottage
 

 
Afterwards, I walked around small quaint downtown Two Harbors and came across this sign..
 

 
and I thought, "yep, it will cost you an arm and a leg"
 
Making my way north to Beaver Bay it was time for lunch. as I entered the small enclave on Route 61, I found my dinner spot but couldn't find my lunch spot. Their website simply gave their address as Route 61, Beaver Bay. I then pulled over and called The Lemon Wolf Cafe and got the dreaded recording "we are closed Monday and Tuesday"
I decided to hit my dinner spot for Lunch..
 

 
I've reviewed their menu several times on their website...now usually I'm very good about not hitting closed restaurants however I seem to have a knack for visiting restaurants that conveniently remove the coolest items off their menu and leave the items I couldn't care less about....In this case I was looking forward to their Minnesota Ringneck Pheasant and Wild Rice, and was told they no longer offer it...However I was absolutely thankful that they still  had choice # 2 on the menu..
 
I loved the decor in the restaurant
 

 
 

 
And there were gnomes peering out at you in the garden located in the back of the restaurant which overlooked lake superior.

 
I started out with absolutely the most phenominal wild rice soup I ever had...
 

 
a buttery broth versus cream, this soup just screamed flavor and broke the mold for wild rice soups....far different the traditional "cream of" wild rice soups I had earlier on my trip
 
Finally my main course came...
 

 
 
The traditional Swedish Meatball Dinner served with boiled red potatoes, braised cabbage, lefse and lingonberry sauce. Although I enjoyed my meal, my only gripe is I thought they were a little stingy with the meatballs.
 
For dessert....
 

 
Fruit of the forest pie which I suspect was made off premises... The pie wasn't bad but it certainly wasn't one of the better pies of the trip...
 
After lunch I headed to
 

 
Split Rock State Park for yet another lighthouse tour...
 
The Grounds housed a museum
 

 
 

 
as well as the keepers cottage
 

 

 
and there were some great trails and the scenery was just amazing...
 

 
as depicted by this view from the lighthouse..
 
Well....it was now time for a mid afternoon pie break...
 

 

 
at The Rustic Inn Cafe in Two Harbors
 

 
I deliberately took a photo of their empty spare room because I liked the look of it..
 
Anyway
 

 
Their raspberry rhubarb pie was a winner.  It was one of my favorite pies of the trip. The combination of tart and sweet housed in a delicate buttery pie crust really made my afternoon ....
 
afterwards I was feeling...
 

 
Fat n Happy's was actually a really interesting antique and consignment shop located next door to the rustic inn. I spent close to an hour looking around at their really cool items..
 
Afterwards since it was approaching 5pm I checked into my motel located in Silver Bay. A nice little motel surrounded by the great northwoods.....
 
I decided to return to The Northern Lights Roadhouse and Pub for dinner. When I went their for lunch, I noticed their daily catch of the day- Fresh Herring. This was what I had hoped to have had at the "closed on Mondays and Tuesdays"  Lemon Wolf Cafe.
The meal comes with Salad Bar and the regionally inappropriate soup of the day "Chili"
Actually the Chili wasn't bad but it certainly was far from anything resembling "Texas Red" unfortunately no photos of the chili.
 
The salad bar on the other hand was not exactly what I expected
 

 
This is the first time I encountered a salad bar that included pickled herring. This must be a regional oddity similar to the baked beans I encountered at a salad bar in Gorham ME.
 
Anyway, dinner was surprisingly good..
 

 
The grilled herring had a clean taste and was seasoned well. It too came with boiled potatos and a citrusy-fruity salad garnish....Since I wasn't to thrilled with their dessert earlier this afternoon I decided not to have any.
 
Afterwards i returned to my motel for the evening and had some more Julekaka  Bread which was waiting for me back in my motel room...
post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/09/15 21:10:32
#52
Nancypalooza
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 21:06:05 (permalink)
That raspberry-rhubarb is a good combination, and I love all the little state parks up this road.  Lovely pictures! 
#53
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 21:55:19 (permalink)
Great report! Lots of good food and lots of work reporting it. All of those  pies and wild rice soup...nice :)
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BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 22:02:24 (permalink)
wanderingjew
 
Several days earlier Davydd mentioned that Buddyroadhouse had been there recently and it had changed. Apparently renovations had been done and the place was not as good as it used to be. I sent Buddy a pm before going and he indicated that the  renovations changed the atmosphere of the place and that it now looked more like a sports bar versus a northwoods cabin. Also there are items that are no longer on the menu but the Walleye is still good.
Just as long as the wild rice soup and Walleye are on the menu- that's all I care about.

Anyway, I may not be the most observant person in the world, but it appeared to me when I walked in the northwoods cabin atmosphere still appeared intact...







There used to be a faux log cabin effect painted on the walls and everything was little bit grittier, giving the place more of a "Roadfood" atmosphere.  Those white arches and the brighter lighting are all new.  Generally, it has a more sanitized (versus "sanitary) look that I found jarring.  Maybe that influenced my opinion of the food which I thought was not up to previous visits.
 
BTW, this is an excellent report.  The only thing missing, IMO, are the vital statistics; addresses, telephone numbers, website links, etc.  Otherwise, exceptional stuff.  Thanks very much!
 
Buddy
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Davydd
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/15 23:38:00 (permalink)
We came off the Sawbill Trail Tuesday morning and I was intent on stopping once again at the Lemon Wolf Cafe in Beaver Bay but too found it closed. I am glad we stopped at the Coho Cafe in Tofte, MN instead to get coffee coming off the trail and staying for breakfast. Coho Cafe has on premise pies, cakes and pastries. It was another gem. We will also be going back to Northern Lights.
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wanderingjew
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/16 08:11:46 (permalink)
Nancy,
 
I wish I had more time to spend up on the North Shore. The following  day I spent all day in Grand Marais. It would have been great to have a couple of extra days to check out the gunflint trail, the parks and points north of Grand Marais.
 
Buddy
I was expecting the   "Cabin Atmosphere" to have been completely erased. I was expecting the place to look more like a "TGI Fridays" however it  still evoked a lakeshore cabin feel and it still felt "roadfoody" to me. In fact every place I visited did with the exception of two places which were actually my two biggest disappointments of the trip (Thankfully they weren't full meals- just snacks)  I had asked the waitress if management or ownership had changed recently and she replied it hadn't changed in a long time, I believe her exact words were "years". Either way the food was just as I remembered.
 
Regarding hours/links/addresses, I'm technically challenged and really am not that internet savvy (all intentional), other than roadfood I spend virtually no time on the internet, don't even own a laptop (and have no desire to) and only set up a facebook account so I don't inadvertently get left out of the loop on invites to parties/get togethers with friends locally.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/09/16 08:44:57
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mr chips
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/16 09:45:57 (permalink)
Pickled herring at a salad bar sounds wonderful. Northern Minnesota and environs seem to have been a major topic on the fora this past week and it has been a real pleasure reading about the area and its wonderful food and seeing pictures of the area beauty. I was in the region once in 1978 and my memories are of the spectacular bridge between Superior and Duluth, the huge freighters, and visiting Lake Itasca, walking across the Mississippi there and having my picture taken in the middle of the river. Thanks for illuminating this wonderful area, Nancy, Dale and Davy .
post edited by mr chips - 2010/09/16 10:13:09
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/16 11:56:45 (permalink)
Almost every salad bar I have been to in my life has had pickled herring on it.
 
In Iowa.
 
Not just a Minnesota thing.  :)
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wanderingjew
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Re:Heartlanding Through the Breadbasket 2010/09/16 12:12:50 (permalink)
Inthewater

Almost every salad bar I have been to in my life has had pickled herring on it.

In Iowa.

Not just a Minnesota thing.  :)


It could be a Northern Midwest thing.
For the record I've been to two salad bars in Iowa neither had pickled herring.. The first time at the very much missed White Way in Durant back in 1998, there was no pickled herring. The 2nd o
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