Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC

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pnwchef
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2013/06/22 01:17:14 (permalink)

Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC

We started our trip with a two night private room train ride from Pasco Wa, to Chicago. The meals are included, I would rate the meals on Amtrack to be like a meal at Denny's. Not exactly Roodfood, so we can call this Trackfood. The best part was breakfast, breakfast is hard to screw up, thank God. these are a few pictures of the train food we had on the trip, a few pictures of Mollie enjoying the beginning of her cross country 12 state adventure.
 






This was a Chicken dish with onion gravy and mashed potatoes

I think I showed a few pictures without Mollie being in them, how the heck did that happen..Mollie at dinner

you could see by Mollies face, she hates dessert.

The burger plate wasn't bad

this is Mahi Mahi

French toast and sausage, not bad, like I said Breakfast is a shoe in.

Mollies Chicken strips..she liked them

 
I just wanted to show you what the food looks like traveling by Amtrack train. Our cabin was fine, the bathrooms were down the hall, the shower was well stocked with towels, and everything you would need. The train went through Montana, the park service has people come on the train to talk about the history and what you will see along the way. When you book a room on the train, the train sleeper car has coffee and juice offered all day. They had a wine and cheese hour one afternoon. Sleeping on a train is like trying to sleep on a camel while he is running through the desert. The second night is better because your so tired you could sleep standing up if you have to. This is the fun of train travel, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger...............See you all in Chicago, Mollie is looking forward to some Chicago Pizza and some shopping.
 
post edited by pnwchef - 2013/06/24 13:18:17
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    leethebard
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 06:35:27 (permalink)
    Looks like a nice start of a grand adventure...that amtrack food looks ok,,,oh if airlines could do that!!! Looking forward to the sites!
    #2
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 07:30:43 (permalink)
    I have always sorta wanted to do that trip.  I had a friend that did the entire trip.  He got a bit bored at the end but did indicate that the food was somewhat better than he expected.  I guess it is sorta pricey but one heck of an adventure.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #3
    tcrouzer
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 08:46:50 (permalink)
    Yay! Another trip with Mollie! Where is the little seal?
     
    Teresa
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    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 08:56:06 (permalink)
    Wow!  Does that bring back one of the fondest memories of my youth.  In 1956 my mother and two grandmothers took me to the newly-opened Disneyland.  (I am the only child of only children and was a tad spoiled; some say I still am). 
     
    From Pittsburgh we took the PRR to Chicago and switched to the AT& SF Super Chief bound for LA.  (Then 8, I was overwhelmed by the size of Union Station in Chicago; what massive columns)!  Getting there on those trains was indeed "half the fun".  And I do recall the Super Chief's "famous" French Toast.  I wonder if AMTRACK also got the recipe.
     
    One of the many things I remember was the difficulty in making a long-distance call from LA to Pgh.  You had to "make an appointment"!  Later I was told that the call cost $30!  (In 1956 a new Cadillac Fleetwood cost $5,500!).
     
    Enough geezing.
     
    Molly, you are one lucky girl! 
    Enjoy this trip; you will remember it forever.
     
    This is one Trip Report I will "tune in" every day. 
     
    Thanks, pnwchef
    #5
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 16:58:01 (permalink)
     
    tcrouzer..I showed your post to Mollie, she smiled. Mollie had a line of small stuffed dogs lining her top bunk in the cabin.
     
    Sundancer7...this train is about 2000 miles, it's not bad, lots to see, we didn't get bored. It's justa  slower method of travel that takes some time to get used to. The first day was nice going through Montana, lots to see. I would not do this trip again, I would do the Canadian one that goes between Vancouver and Toronto. That was the trip we took last year, The food is great, the people and service are nice.
     
    MetroplexJim.. Jim, you are so right, Mollie has flown 1000's of miles and doesn't remember any of the flights. Mollie will remember these trains forever.........
    #6
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 18:27:27 (permalink)
    We pulled into Union Station about a 1/2 hour late, Mollie was ready for shopping, Papa was ready for a real bed that didn't move along the rails at 60 MPH. The gals went shopping,then came back ready for a Chicago style pizza. We went over to Giordano's, Mollie had to have just cheese, so I ordered it with half sausage.
     

    This is a fun pizza, different than we get in the PNW, good quality cheese and sausage, fine by me.
     

    Mollie can't believe she likes it.
     

    The next day we took a walk to the Navy pier, lots going on around there, but not my kind of place to eat. We took a cab up the road to Portillo's, imho this chain does a great job, they are fast and good. they also offer a big menu with lots of choices and ordering areas.
    This is the Italian Beef with sweet peppers dipped.
     

    My wife had a Chicken pasta dish

    these are some Chicage dogs there were building on the service line
     

    a few pics inside the restaurant
     


    I twisted Mollie's arm to share a piece of Chocolate cake with frozen custard
     

     
    Chicago was a fun stop, we are flying out in the morning, see yah in the Big Apple................Thanks Chicago, you treated us well.
    #7
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 19:49:12 (permalink)
    All Right!
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    leethebard
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/22 19:51:39 (permalink)
    ohhh,that custard looks so creamy......
    #9
    love2bake
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 01:50:59 (permalink)
    What a wonderful itinerary this is with gorgeous scenery you could enjoy without driving, and getting to try some of the best loved specialties of the cities where you stopped.  What a treat!
     
    That frozen custard looked fabulous--had no idea Portillo's would have that.  So I just looked up the menu for the SoCal Portillo's, and bummer--they don't offer it there. 
     
    Thanks for sharing this terrific report--I'm so looking forward to more!
    #10
    ann peeples
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 07:28:17 (permalink)
    Mollie is growing up fast! Fun to see her a year or two later from your last trip report. Oh, and a fun trip to read so far!
    #11
    agnesrob
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 08:41:29 (permalink)
    I can't believe how much Molly has grown. Thanks for taking the time to post your report.
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    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 10:48:40 (permalink)
     
    agnesrob, ann peeples, Your right, Mollie is becoming a young lady faster than I would like. Thanks for the kind words.
     
    love2bake, I looked at that chocolate cake, looked at the girl behind the counter and asked her, if I was your family how would you serve me the cake. She said, with two scoops of ice cream of course..........my kind of family..............The Frozen custard was great. the chocolate cake was better than I would have ever thought. You can see I got three spoons, needless to say, it was gone in no time. I liked Portillo's, it may be a chain,but, it's a chain done right. The restaurant was run like a well oiled machine, you didn't get the feeling of a Chain operation, you got the feel of a quality, caring, restaurant. I would love to have a portillo's in my home town..........
    #13
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 11:45:34 (permalink)
    We left Chicago with happy hearts and a great one day stop over from a 2000 mile train ride. We got into LaGuardia airport late afternoon for a late lunch early dinner at Peter Lugers Steak House in Brooklyn. We hopped a cab, the cab drivers never know where anything is any more so I called PL for their address. I knew the cab driver was getting close when I saw the Brooklyn Bridge coming close. I knew we were in trouble when we were going over the brooklyn bridge. I told the cab driver to knock off the meter, it's a long bridge going back and forth. Needless to say, he said $35, I said lets do the new math, he got $25.........
       Peter Lugers, rolling in with our luggage, the manager said pile it against that wall, lets get you a table. The waiter we had last year was going on break, when I saw him he told the manager he would take our table. He is a great guy, good waiter and fun to talk with. I love the feel of Peter lugers, it's a time gone by, waiters with long white aprons, a real Brooklyn feel. We ordered a Caesar salad, the Porter house steak Medium Rare, a slice of Bacon, and fries. Peter Lugers has the feel like" I have to have a beer with this meal" that's want I have. The bread comes piled high in a basket, this bread is always a welcome site, my wife loves the Salt sticks, they call them Swords, the basket is one of the best you can get.
     

    We started off with a Caesar salad.
     

     
    The steak for two fits the three of us just fine. The steak has a nice crust on the outside, it melts in your mouth, full of flavor. This is what we have been waiting for. Thank you Peter Lugers for doing it right for so many years. Thanks also for taking good care of my family while we were there. Great people with great customer service.
     

     
    The Steak cut fries are fresh cut and always great.
     

     
    I ordered a slice of bacon, my wife looked at me like I was nuts, I get this look a lot. I cut into the bacon and said, oh yah, it's as good as it looks. She looked at me and rolled her eyes, I get this a lot also. She asked for a bite, I cut her a piece, she said, WOW, thats good. I rolled my eyes, she gets this a lot............
     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 12:24:16 (permalink)
    The bacon looked almost as good as the steak.  I enjoyed your thread and post.
     
    Paul E. Smith
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    easydoesit
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 12:56:44 (permalink)
    What would you call the 'doneness' level of that great looking steak?  Medium well?  It looks perfect to me.
     
    Get that Mollie girl on the stage in high school.  Hollywood could be in her future.  She has personality oozing from every pore.
     
    #16
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 13:50:34 (permalink)
    Peter Luger's is so delightfully "old school":  no dim lighting, no white over black linen covers, no leather, no chandeliers, no Tuxedos, no piano  -- just "the real deal", some of the best food the Capital of the World (as the soon-to-be-Sainted JP II once called it, and who am I to argue) has to offer.  What a definitive institution!
     
    I'm still drooling over the bread and Caesar salad. 
     
    Haven't gotten to the bacon and steak yet.
     
    Wonderful, truly!
     
    BTW:  are they still cash/ Luger's card only or do they now at least accept debit cards?
    #17
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 16:17:42 (permalink)
     
    Sundancer7: If the bacon gets any thicker it could be a steak.
     
    easydoesit: It was Medium Rare, it doesn't look that way in the picture, but it was in real life.
     
    MetroplexJim: Jim, it's all cash or Peter Lugers Credit card. I have a feeling it always will be. Peter Lugers is Brooklyn, all the way. Peter Lugers is the kind of place, if you walk in with a good attitude, you will leave with a better one. If you come with a ****y attitude, you just may be thrown out on your as_..............
    #18
    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/23 16:38:19 (permalink)
    OH
    MY
    GAWD
     
    It's been way too many years since I ate at PL.usually on someone else's entertainment account................but that BACON!.  I had forgotten!  Caling up my daughter for a return trip to NYC since she lives just across the East River
    #19
    chefbuba
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/24 00:07:25 (permalink)
    Looks like a lot of fun there Bill!
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    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/24 09:04:33 (permalink)
    Last year we stayed up on 53rd & 6th, this area was fine, but, it didn't feel like New York. I love the hustle and bustle of this city, it has an energy that just makes you feel alive.
      We stayed on 43rd between 6th and 7th, at the Casablanca Hotel. This is my new favorite Hotel in NYC.
     
     
     
    The Hotel is steps from Times Square, and yet quiet as a Church. Everyone at this Hotel goes the extra yard to make sure you enjoy your stay. Here are a few stock pictures of the Hotel. They have a daily European Continental Breakfast, Coffee, Tea and cookies all day, a Wine and Cheese buffet in the evening. I don't normally do a review of a Hotel, but, this hotel did a fine job making our stay pleasurable. Thanks Casablanca staff for taking good care of my family, we will see you again.
     
    The evening Wine and Cheese Buffet
     

     
    The Breakfast Buffet and seating area
     


     
    The outside Courtyard..

     
    This is our Suite.
     

     
    Did I tell you Mollie was with us, This is my girl in the court yard of the Hotel, just before her walk over to see The Lion King.
     

     
    The Lion King is a Mass production I wanted to see this production on Broadway. We had great seats, center stage Orchestra section, midway up. Mollie loved it, she smiled the whole time there. This is a Musical to see when your in New York, I would not put it a head of some others, but, it should be on your list. Most of the Musicals that tour the country do a fine job, some should be seen on Broadway, The Lion King is one of them.
     
    We walked down the 10 blocks to the Empire State Building.

     
     

    Main Deck + Top Deck Express

    86th Fl and 102nd Floor, no waiting  Buy Tickets  All Visitors $64.50 Skip all the lines on the way to both observation decks and get there faster.
     
    I'm not a cheap skate, but, I could buy a steak for two and a few beers at Peter Lugers for this elevator ride. Now I know why King Kong climbed up the side of the building.
     
    Joyce and Mollie went up to the 82nd floor for about $42...... I would have paid $64.50 if King Kong was hanging off the top with Planes trying to knock him off.
     

     
    After all that Monkeying around, we went out for lunch.......I'll be back soon with some pictures............
     
     
     
     
     
    #21
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/24 11:00:09 (permalink)

     
     
    I have always seen Kat's Deli as a Tourist destination deli kind of place. I wasn't all that interested in going when I visited New York last year. After reading Billyboys posts, I saw a different kind of feeling in Billy's pictures and comments. This maybe a Tourist stop, but it is also the Best Deli type Restaurant I have ever been to. Calling this restaurant "just another Deli" would be like calling a Rolls Royce, just another car. This Deli is the real deal, This is the best Pastrami on planet earth. I haven't visited the other planets yet, so I can't say it's the best in all Galaxies. On my journey this trip, I had the Roast Pork in Philly, the Cheese steak in Philly, the Italian Beef in Chicago. These sandwiches/meats/Roasts don't hold a candle to the quality that Katz serves on their Pastrami sandwich. All the other sandwiches in all the other cities, needed some salt to complete the flavor. The Katz's Pastrami is full of flavor, juicy, with a nice amount of pepper rub to seal the deal, every bite melts in your mouth. The pastrami is hand carved, my carve has only worked there for 40 years. The Pastrami is pilled high on rye bread, I ordered the Reuben with mustard ( I never thought a Mayo based 1000 island dressing did anything for a Reuben) but, to each their own.
      I met Alen Dell, the owner of Katz's, and told him how much I enjoyed his Deli and Pastrami. We talked for a bit, he later came over to the table and we talked a bit more. I don't always give big rave reviews of restaurants. I would say, if you only go to one deli in your life time, Make it be Katz's. This is the best of the best, the owner is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Thanks Alen, for the hospitality you showed me and my family during our visit.
     
    The Pastrami Reuben with mustard.
     

     
     Mollie finished the sour pickles before I could talk a picture, Kids, can't live with them, pass the mustard.
     
    Before we stopping at Katz's Deli, we had to try
     

     
    For some
     
     
     
    Billyboy also told me about this place, it's a wonderful stop to try some great crispy, meaty Belgian fries. We tried the Smoked Eggplant Mayo dipping sauce along with the Sweet Mango Chutney Mayo. Joyce liked the Mango one, I liked both, Mollie like that fancy dipping sauce called Ketchup. ....................Thx BillyBoy for all your help and past reports, you made my food choices in New York an easy chore.
     
     
     
    post edited by pnwchef - 2013/06/24 13:22:51
    #22
    lleechef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/24 11:50:17 (permalink)
    What a fantastic trip report!  Makes me want to leave for NYC right now......to Katz's and Pommes Frites!!!
    And yes, Mollie is quite a beautiful young lady.  What a difference since we saw her last year!
    #23
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/24 14:13:23 (permalink)
    Pommes Frites!
     
    The best dip I've ever had with them was sauce Bernaise, a.k.a. "Danish Ketchup". 
     
    I know that mayo on frites is a low country "thing", but I'm surprised that Bernaise was not an offering in The City.
     
    So, which do you prefer:  Luger's steak fries or pommes frites?
    #24
    leethebard
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/24 14:43:17 (permalink)
    This gets better with each new post...  love New York...and you're doing it right!!!
    #25
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/25 12:50:34 (permalink)
    Jim, I'll take Peter Lugers Steak cut Fries, When they are right out of the fryer, they are had to beat.
     
    We left New York after a great stay, it was just a shot cab ride down to Penn station for our train to Philadelphia. We got into Philly about 1PM, sounds like lunch to me. With all the Foods at the Reading Terminal, Mollie had to have Churches Chicken, it was located at the Mall next to the terminal. After I took care of the gals,  Joe Rogo, my dear friend, recommended the Hilton next to the RT. Great choice, the RT is so close, it may as well be in the hotel. There was wondering why all the gals at the Hotel had a deeper voice than I do, there was a Transsexual convention across the street. I was happy to be Married, I would not want to have to try and pick up a dinner date while this was going on.  I told Mollie, for the next few days, if it looks like a Duck, sounds like a Duck, it may not be a Duck. I went over to the RT to try DiNic's Roast Pork with Sweet peppers.
     
    This would be my sandwich, I asked the guy to smile, as you can see he looks real happy to be there. The people behind me ordered a extra roll with their sand, Sorry, we don't sell just the roll. The people behind him ordered, How hot are the peppers, Real hot the gal says. Can I have the peppers on the side, NO, we don't do that.....DiNic's has Sweet peppers, and real Hot peppers, do you think it would hurt to give the gal a side of hot peppers. The gal was worried that the peppers would be to hot for her sandwich and she wanted to control the heat........Anyway, IMHO, when you start saying NO to everything, it's time to look at your business. OH Yah, I forgot, I asked for mine Dipped, Sorry, we don't do that.............OH Well.........
     
     
    The Sand was fine, I like the sweet peppers, The meat needed some salt.
     

     
    Millers Pretzels, right out of the oven...........What can I say......Great........Most in Philly eat them with mustard, not I, I like them with a sweet glaze dipping sauce, they don't have it there, but, the Cinnabon at the Mall next door has their cups of Cream Cheese glaze dipping sauce. Ok, 4th steeet bakery cookies are good, take a pick, you can't go wrong.
     

     
    The Ice cream at Bassetts, just buy it, dbl scoop of Raspberry Truffle, to die for.................
     
    Breakfast at the Dutch place........The place is packed at 8AM, no seating. We ordered it to go and walked to a seating area fifty feet away. The food came out fast, beats me why everyone thinks they need to sit here and eat. I got my food faster to-go than the people sitting at the counter.
     
    Scrapple, eggs over easy, pancakes......Good breakfast, I liked the scrapple.............
     


     
    One day we stopped over to the Rib place for some ribs, the ribs were good, the sauce they have to dip the ribs, needs some help. We also hooked up the ribs with a piece of Lasagna from one of the Italian food stands.
     

     
    It time to take Mollie over to see the Liberty Bell.............See you all soon.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    post edited by pnwchef - 2013/06/25 15:53:32
    #26
    eat'mandsmile
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/25 15:13:55 (permalink)
    PNW I grew up in Upper Darby....You missed my favorite- John's Roast Pork....Perhaps next time.
    #27
    pnwchef
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/25 15:51:31 (permalink)
    When I stood in line at DiNic's I thought about this classic scene........
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wtfNE4z6a8&feature=player_embedded
    #28
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/25 16:47:37 (permalink)
    Maybe Adam Richman's "crowning" it The Best Sandwich in America gave them an extra dose of Philly attitude.
     
    BTW:  one thing I can always forgive is under-salting. 
     
    Over-salting (an epidemic here in Texas) cannot be "fixed".
    #29
    agnesrob
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    Re:Chicago, NYC, Philly, Washington DC 2013/06/25 21:32:47 (permalink)
    What a wonderful report! Thank you for posting this! I had such a bad day at work and this report made me feel better!!
    #30
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