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Red Apron, Neighborhood Restaurant Group's Butcher and Charcuterie in Several Area Locations


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I just finished an awesome sandwich of Red Apron's (Nathan Anda) pastrami.This salty, fatty, spicy beef is the best pastrami I have tasted outside of New York City. It is sold in chunks that approximate 6 ounces for $6 at the Dupont Farmers Market (and probably elsewhere). Sliced and heated, with the fat freely flowing - its great stuff. Also a shout out to the Pain de Campagne bread from Crest Hill (Upper Crust) bakery in Silver Spring on which the marbly meat was placed (with some Batampte Jewish deli mustard). This bread, which is par baked and sold at the local Whole Foods markets, is my favorite local bread and is especially superb for grilled cheese sandwiches.

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Yes, I thought that too when the Red Apron sales person told me a rotisserie chicken costs $18.00 last weekend.

Well, I always questioned how a rotisserie chicken in a grocery store can cost less than what I can buy it for uncooked (or something close to that). I think I'd pay more if for no other reason than to feel like I'm getting some sort of a service. Is Red Apron open now?

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Well, I always questioned how a rotisserie chicken in a grocery store can cost less than what I can buy it for uncooked (or something close to that). I think I'd pay more if for no other reason than to feel like I'm getting some sort of a service. Is Red Apron open now?

Red Apron is open now and the few times I've been to Mom's next door, it looks like good volume going thru the doors.

Interesting. I actually think the opposite. If I'm buying a chicken from a grocery store, I would expect to pay more. At a 'takeout place' I would expect to pay a little less since the volume of buying would get them better prices.

My expectation may be incorrect to make in the first place but perhaps it is a result of confusion on the purpose of these kind of hybrid places. Is it really a butcher, fast food place or a restaurant?

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My sincere apologies, I posted at work and I've noticed lately the IT gremlins have gotten better at screwing with my participation in forums. What I intended to say was that last Friday I picked up lunch for a friend and myself at Red Apron.

Our choices were from the hot sandwich selection; the Meatball and Muffaletta, which we split back at her house. Both were delicious. I knew I was not getting a Central Grocery muffaletta, but I really liked it anyway, it was the tenderest Ciabatta style bun I've ever had, usually when I get those they are tough as a shoe.

The Meatball was delish, very messy, like a debris po-boy but...meatballs, and well seasoned ones at that. While waiting for my 'wiches, I gazed lovingly at the butcher case. The gent behind it asked if he could help me, and I told him I was just picking up lunch, but I would be back! Everyone who works there was really nice, and I look forward to exploring it further.

It reminds me a bit of a German butcher store in my hometown, called "Schneller's" ("The Wurst Place in Town"). I went there with mom when very young, and Bob Schneller would throw me a slice of baloney. My parents later changed their shopping habits to supermarkets, but I returned to Schneller's later in life when I was discovering good food, and fondly remember their smoked chicken breasts, liverwurst with mushrooms, teawursts and levercase (especially when still hot from the oven!!) Sadly, my hometown butcher closed after decades of business, but Red Apron strikes me as a modern version of that.

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Our choices were from the hot sandwich selection; the Meatball and Muffaletta, which we split back at her house. Both were delicious. I knew I was not getting a Central Grocery muffaletta, but I really liked it anyway, it was the tenderest Ciabatta style bun I've ever had, usually when I get those they are tough as a shoe.

My expectation may be incorrect to make in the first place but perhaps it is a result of confusion on the purpose of these kind of hybrid places. Is it really a butcher, fast food place or a restaurant?

Interesting. I just assumed it'd be a butcher with raw/cured/cooked meats to purchase by the pound, not a take-out joint, too. Surprisingly, Mosaic's Facebook page hasn't publicized Red Apron's opening like it has (almost to a fault) the other storefronts.

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Lunch here today w/ a friend-I got the muffuletta & a Victory saison (too hoppy for lunch for me) & a meatball sub for her. I love it when you're comfortable enough around friends to share, we cut off pieces of sandwich to swap. I liked them both, maybe slightly preferred her meatball, only because I've decided that I think I prefer a muffuletta that's not heated (the only mufs I have to compare it to are the one from Cochon Butcher in NO, which is also heated, & my homemade concoction of Italian meats & olive salad on a baguette).

Attractive shop, everyone was uniformly nice, asking how we liked our food, & gave me a bag for the remains of the sandwich, my friend's verdict, 'yuppy sandwich shop' (do people still use the term yuppy?), I liked it, but wanted more cold sandwich choices (thought about getting the turkey, but was hesitant on the mostarda), thought about, but didn't pickup a bottle of Bittermens grapefruit bitters, & would return, if I were over in that area again....

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I got carded at the Merrifield Mosaic location for my six pack of ale! *happy youthful dance*

Other than the ego boost, service was friendly and helpful in a store empty of patrons scared away by morning rain. A few shaved ounces of Finocchiona ($20/lb) did not last the drive home---tasty, but needed a punch of more fennel and spice before wowing on it's own. I'm searing two beef shanks now (can't remember the price), creating a stew, cheating with Red Apron's beef suet ($5) and stock ($6) for maximum flavor boost. We'll see if the smoked Maldon salt ($6) can further work magic.

(note to future self)

(grocery shopping during rain)

(is the stuff peace is made of)

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Red Apron made a fan out of me today. The chick pea and chorizo salad is wonderful, and would be a worthy appetizer or side at any number of good restaurants. The barbecued pork rillette is addictive, and I say this after consuming nearly half a pound of it....also bought the parmesan sausages for the grill but haven't cooked them yet....

Loving this place....!

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As a note, they stop serving at Mosaic at 8:00 pm, 7:00 pm on Sunday.  Hubby and I were running an errand to Target and I wanted to go to Red Apron, so we went to the Target at Mosaic, but didn't catch it in time, 8:10 pm.  I guess since Mosaic is new places have limited hours, but to stop serving at 8:00 pm on a Friday night just seemed odd to me. I hope they expand the hours, if Mosaic wants to be a destination people need to be able to go out there in the evening and not have everything closed up.  

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We've been very impressed by the sandwiches and Nate's fries (cooked in aged beef fat) on offer at the Mosaic District location.  The only other sandwich joint (so excluding fine dining establishments that charge a much higher price) that is comparable would be SunDeVich.  They're also selling an excellent bolognese sauce that has the rich taste of a good restaurant bolognese sauce. 

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2013 Best Burgers per Burger Days Website.

Need to try the Red Apron version.

To me the distinguishing feature of the Red Apron burger is the grind.  Very coarse, almost (but not quite) better described as chopped rather than ground.  The flavor is good, but the 5oz patty feels just a bit small for the volume of bread and toppings that accompanies it.  I'm nitpicking for the most part, though.  It's a good burger.  And their fries, apparently cooked in beef fat, are remarkably flavorful.

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We ate there after a fairly long break a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, we went for the turkey sandwich for my white-meat-poultry-vore wife, but it was off the menu. Instead, the only non-beef or pork item was a chicken salad sandwich which used white and dark meat. The helpful counter guy said it wasn't much dark, but oh, was he wrong!! I enjoyed the muffaletta I ordered. I doubt if we'll be going back together unless they add some other options. It's too bad; I like the idea of Red Apron more than the execution and price, I have to say. For two sandwiches, two bags of chips and two drinks (bottles of tea and root beer) the total was $25!!

As an aside, I tried the meatball sandwich because of the hype and did not like it at all! I thought the texture was off-putting and the flavor was not was I expected for a meatball sandwich.

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We ate there after a fairly long break a couple of days ago. Unfortunately, we went for the turkey sandwich for my white-meat-poultry-vore wife, but it was off the menu. Instead, the only non-beef or pork item was a chicken salad sandwich which used white and dark meat. The helpful counter guy said it wasn't much dark, but oh, was he wrong!! I enjoyed the muffaletta I ordered. I doubt if we'll be going back together unless they add some other options. It's too bad; I like the idea of Red Apron more than the execution and price, I have to say. For two sandwiches, two bags of chips and two drinks (bottles of tea and root beer) the total was $25!!

As an aside, I tried the meatball sandwich because of the hype and did not like it at all! I thought the texture was off-putting and the flavor was not was I expected for a meatball sandwich.

I don't want to sound combative, but why go to a butcher for a white meat chicken sandwich?

I think I've had all the options at the Union Market location, and I'd have to go with the Italian beef, or maybe the meatball as my favorite.  The only one I didn't care for was the cotecchino "burger."  Waaay to heavy for me.

Lately I find myself going just to get more of the chickpea salad.

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It's too bad; I like the idea of Red Apron more than the execution and price, I have to say. For two sandwiches, two bags of chips and two drinks (bottles of tea and root beer) the total was $25!!

I'm confused by the complaint about cost.  At Potbelly's, two large sandwiches (which is still less substantial than most of Red Apron's sandwiches), 2 bags of chips, and 2 drinks comes to $20 before tax.  Red Apron uses considerably higher quality ingredients, so $3(?) more than Potbelly for a meal for two seems pretty reasonable to me.

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I don't want to sound combative, but why go to a butcher for a white meat chicken sandwich?

Reasonable question, not combative at all. I'm pretty sure we went because my lovely bride knows I like it and she could eat the turkey sandwich, which was great once and less great the second time she had it.

I'm confused by the complaint about cost.  At Potbelly's, two large sandwiches (which is still less substantial than most of Red Apron's sandwiches), 2 bags of chips, and 2 drinks comes to $20 before tax.  Red Apron uses considerably higher quality ingredients, so $3(?) more than Potbelly for a meal for two seems pretty reasonable to me.

When we go to Potbelly we each get a regular sandwich, 2 chips and 2 fountain drinks and the total is around $18 with tax. I guess we don't get the large sandwich.  Better ingredients at Red Apron, no doubt, but not worth a 40% premium, at least not regularly and for what we order. We tried bringing a couple sandwiches home once (less than 2 miles) but decided that the bread is much better when eaten there.

Sorry if I've hit a nerve. Generally, I like Red Apron - the chef, the idea of the business, the homegrown talent, the beer, the vermouths, the meatstuffs I wouldn't have tried otherwise. I wanted to love the sandwiches and wanted it to be a place my wife and I visited often, it's just not that place for us, unfortunately.

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I certainly don't expect Red Apron to be pleasing for everybody (I think one has to really love red meat and animal based fats to appreciate it) and thanks for explaining!

The meatball in the meatball sandwich is quite different from most meatballs.  It's very soft and I bet it's choked full of animal fats - the texture reminds me of a good Chinese lion head meatball (which is about 50% pork fat).

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Reasonable question, not combative at all. I'm pretty sure we went because my lovely bride knows I like it and she could eat the turkey sandwich, which was great once and less great the second time she had it.

Gotcha.  That's very nice of her.  I asked because as astrid has pointed out, the area where Red Apron shines is in their pork and beef preparations.  They offer a grilled cheese at the UM location, and while I'm sure it's a fine sandwich, I can never quite figure out why I would order it over one of their meatful delights.  (If meatful isn't a word, it should be.)

As I've learned on these very boards, "value" is a tough thing to nail down, and opinions regarding it can vary widely between folks.  As for me, I'd rather split a sandwich, chips and one of the side salads at Red Apron than have my own anything at Potbelly, so I see Red Apron as a good value.

And just because this is the internet, and I feel like we're not doing the internet commenting thing right, F#&k you and your sh*##y opinion.

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I've been eyeing the porchetta in the butcher case, but haven't pulled the trigger.  Today they had a porchetta sandwich as a special, and I jumped on it.  I was so shocked at the presentation that I very nearly sent it back thinking they gave me the wrong sandwich.

My only prior porchetta sandwich experience was from the eponymous porchetta dealer in the East Village in NYC, a sandwich that is filled with warm, roughly chopped chunks of meat with tooth-cracking bits of crunchy skin.  (I dug on this sandwich enough that I even made my own porchetta with a whole belly from Eastern Market shortly after moving to DC just so I could recreate in our new hometown.)  The Red Apron version is served with very thinly sliced, cold pieces of meat, topped with aioli, shredded lettuce, and spicy Calabrian chiles.  A stranger sitting across from me had ordered the same sandwich and seemed put off by the amount of fat in the meat, but hey...it's porchetta after all.  This is certainly a rich sandwich, but I found the acidity of the pickled chiles offset the unctuous fat nicely, and the simple addition of shredded iceberg gave a satisfying crunch.

Given the differences in preparation and construction, it isn't at all useful to compare the sandwiches, though now I'm going to have to buy a bit of RA's porchetta to roast at home.  The sandwich paired nicely with a Ballast Point Dorado, a strongly hoppy-but-not-too-hoppy double IPA.

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A porchetta sandwich in Italy is always thin sliced meat and not chunks.  My favorites are the middle truck at the Siena Maarket and at Bar Orso at the Monteriggioni offramp from the Firenze-Siena Strada.  Order them "senza sale," or without salt, unless you think of salt as a food group and not a seasoning.

Lettuce & aioli are American additions.  I love aioli on my panino.

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The Penn Quarter location (709 D St) is opening on Feb. 26 according to Jessica Sidman.

I tried the "southern comfort" tigelle this morning. The tigelle itself is somewhere between an english muffin and a biscuit (a flaky, lardy english muffin?). This one had tasso, (spicy) pimento cheese, and scrambled egg.

I know it sounds tiny, but the difference a real egg makes on a breakfast sandwich can't be overstated. Immediately becomes the best breakfast option around here and worth the steepish (5.50) price.

The pimento cheese was spicy enough where I didn't put hot sauce on it. It was also pleasantly creamy; sometimes pimento cheese gets gritty when heated.

I'm very please this is open around the corner from my office.

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We had two sandwiches at the Penn quarter location for lunch yesterday. The Italian was pre-made, and when I got it I thought it would be sub-par, but it tasted very fresh. In fact, the brine from the picked peppers had some time to penetrate the sandwich. The bread held up and the ratio of bread to other ingredients was good. The meatball, though, was delicious. I loved the green sauce and the baguette was just crunchy enough to create a textural contrast. Quite, quite, nice.

Note that on a not-busy sunday the hot sandwich was verrrrrrrry slow to arrive. Can't imagine how that will play out on a busy weekday.

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Picked up some beef and pork stock and the Union Market location and came away a little disappointed.  Nice unctuous gelatin but not a ton of flavor.

A time-saver though, if used as a base.  Yesterday, I tarted up the pork stock with some bodega-bought pork shreds, a leftover leek and some decrepit carrots (also some sage from the garden) and soon had a pretty stellar pork broth for a bowl of cheeks and casarecce.

So, something to keep in mind without assuming that, on their own, they'll have a transformative effect on your sauces.

Note that the Ris stand in the market offers beef stock as well -- a report when I get a chance to try it.

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Note that on a not-busy sunday the hot sandwich was verrrrrrrry slow to arrive. Can't imagine how that will play out on a busy weekday.

Service, at least at the Union Market location, has always been their Achilles Heel.  When it gets crowded there, it can honestly be a total cluster f*** getting your order (just talking about the retail section.  Service has been great at the bar in my experience).  I've typically found the quality of their offerings to be really high, but I've got to say I was pretty disappointed by the pho terrine I got on my last visit, which was just full of hard, inedible bits (cartilage? bone?) and frankly, bland...wouldn't have guessed it was modeled after pho in a million years if I tasted it blind.

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Service, at least at the Union Market location, has always been their Achilles Heel.  When it gets crowded there, it can honestly be a total cluster f*** getting your order (just talking about the retail section.  Service has been great at the bar in my experience).  I've typically found the quality of their offerings to be really high, but I've got to say I was pretty disappointed by the pho terrine I got on my last visit, which was just full of hard, inedible bits (cartilage? bone?) and frankly, bland...wouldn't have guessed it was modeled after pho in a million years if I tasted it blind.

That's a bummer...I've bought the pho terrine in the past and it certainly was recognizable as pho-inspired.  Sounds like that was a bad batch.  I'm sure if you brought it up with them they would do something to make it right.

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That's a bummer...I've bought the pho terrine in the past and it certainly was recognizable as pho-inspired.  Sounds like that was a bad batch.  I'm sure if you brought it up with them they would do something to make it right.

Agreed, I have had it and was immediately reminded of pho.

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Friend and I were at Union Market yesterday and we stopped in for a late lunch. I, firmly seated in the struggle bus due to a few bad decisions the night before, had the porkstrami sandwich. I really enjoyed the sandwich although it didn't remind me all that much of pastrami, and I felt that the kraut could have been a little more pungent. Overall, a good and filling sandwich that put me on the road to feeling normal. My friend had the burger which was really really good. I will definitely have to order that one time.

We also decided to purchase an insane looking bone in ribeye for dinner ($20/lb). I loved having the whole bone to show off. My friend cooked the steak on the grill later that evening and the meat was very very good. It almost melted in my mouth. Definitely worth the money. We also picked up some of the bourbon fig pork rillette which we enjoyed at The Partisan last week. It was as delicious as I had remembered.

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I don't live or work in Penn Quarter, but if I did I'd be feeling pretty pleased with how the last few months have shaken out.  Red Apron and Menu now give that area two pretty solid options for grab-and-go meals, not to mention coffee and meats/cheeses/pantry.  After trying a couple breakfast sandwiches over the last few weeks I'm not sure I get the hype over the tigelles.  If you'd told me they were just thin english muffins I'm not sure I would have known the wise.  They're fine and crispy, but for all the inches they've been written about in the last month it's really hard to imagine anyone coming back for the bread.

Now the pimento cheese?  I feel the need to massively disclaim this because everyone has a different idea of how pimento cheese should look and taste.  This is not too creamy.  It's a little spicy.  It is smoked.  Those three factors will disqualify it for many traditionalists.  For me, it's the best pimento cheese I've ever had.  I've now started buying tubs of it.

Luganega links I bought were great.  Calabrese links were too lean and a little grainy.  I still find sausage and dried meat to be very hit or miss here. When it's good they are absolutely in the conversation with Stachowski for best in the city.  But they aren't always good, and at their price points the more I shoot and miss the more likely I am to play it safe and stick to the (much more consistent) pates.  Or just a second tub of pimento cheese.

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Now that I've discovered how convenient Union Market is to my commute on days I drive to work and (more dangerous) after weekend trips to the Anacostia waterfront, I've been spending some quality time  with the Apronistes (whose Ramones t-shirt ripoff has been ripped off by Rappahannock Oysters just across the way).

Hit or miss, I have to say. The stocks I've bought there have been disappointing,as I noted upthread, and some merguez were pretty forgettable.

The charcuterie is pretty good, though that stuff is so commonplace now that I'm not sure I'd drive out of the way for it if, say, 3 Little Pigs or Stachowski's were equally convenient.  This, by the way, is a sign that the world is becoming a better place despite Putin, and should not be taken as a complaint.

Having a good deal of fun with the meat, though.  I saw spider steaks there, the first time I'd ever seen them, and snatched up their only two. I'm not saying that they'll replace the onglet as a cult yuppie beef cut, but they were, I don't know, interesting.  Beefy with a slightly aggressive texture.   And I have a dry aged "tomahawk" prime rib roast about four ribs (two removed) thick that I bought because it looked cool.   It's a pretty tempting place to wander by, and you can drink beer while making up your mind what looks enticing that day.

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My boyfriend and I walked to the Red Apron on D St. Sunday morning after I ran the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler. I am so glad this place opens at 9am because not only was I tired and hungry, I was in a sour mood as the race did not go as well as I had hoped. Fortunately, there wasn't a line when we arrive around 9:30am and we were able to order right away. At my boyfriend's urging I ordered to my stomach's content: spiced mocha, buenos dias breakfast sandwich, and a raspberry doughnut.

I probably shouldn't have ordered the mocha and the doughnut since it was way too much sugar for me but both were really good. Thinking back, I didn't get any "spice" in the mocha but it was delicious nonetheless. The raspberry doughnut, which I split with my boyfriend, was really really good. Although I have a huge sweet tooth, I prefer a savory breakfast and don't generally order things like donuts. I'm glad I ordered this though as the dough was on the light side and there was a perfect amount of raspberry jam, the best part of the doughnut. I love a good breakfast sandwich and made quick work out of the buenos dias (chorizo, pickled red onions, egg, and sour cream on a tigelle). The sandwich looked small when it came out and I contemplated asking my boyfriend if he would split a second sandwich with me but it was very filling (I ate this before the doughnut) and I was sated with a singular breakfast sandwich after all.

I left in much better spirits and on the way out, I picked up some very good pate campagne for the road. I couldn't help myself.  B)

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I and my wife and kids went on Saturday.  The food was pretty good. My 1 one year old eat a bit of everything that was put in front of her and liked it. My 3 year old, who is in his very picky eater phase, liked the hot dog and chips (not always the case).

The only issue we had was there was no diet soda.  My wife has a medial issue that prevents here from drinking or eating a lot od sugar.  SHe does not like iced tea so that left the option of water. I think Red Apron my want to rethink this as there are a lot of diabets and others who do not do non diet soda.

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I finally got the Porkstrami sandwich last night at the Union Market location-- typically I get their excellent burger.  It was tasty, but I was a bit surprised at the (smallish) size.  I remember previous Red Apron sandwiches being more "meat bombs" (in a good way).  At a place like this, you are not expecting finesse or tapas portioning.  But I digress.  The sandwich itself was good.  I got kraut on the side, and a few bites in my companion remarked at how good the kraut was, so we loaded it on which added a lot of flavor to the sandwich.  Sometimes you have to trust the chef and go with the sandwich as-conceived...

(Another must-have at Union Market- the fish & chips at District Fishwife.  And anything at Neopol Smokery)

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A friend was hosting her out of town brother and  his wife from Chicago (who I'm also friends with) as they passed through on their way to the Outer Banks last Friday, and she cooked a bavette (flank steak) from Red Apron for dinner that was very good. 

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