Showing posts with label Rhode Island. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rhode Island. Show all posts

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fine Dining Southern Rhode Island Style

In recent posts, I described a trip to Rhode Island where I was introduced to a community of talented chefs who are making the state a go-to place for anyone who enjoys good food. I knew I would find good restaurants in Providence. What surprised me was the number of accomplished chefs working in the resort towns in the southern half of the state.

Newport is Rhode Island's best known tourist destination. Located on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, the city is home to Cliff Walk and the world-famous mansions built at the end of the 19th century with their distinctive architecture and opulent details. Its sheltered harbor and many beaches make Newport a destination for anyone who enjoys sailing and water sports. The city is family-friendly as well, with dozens of affordable restaurants on Broadway and Bowen's Wharf in the harbor.

One Bellevue (One Bellevue Avenue, Newport, 401/847-3300) is located on Historic Hill, overlooking the harbor.

Chef Kevin Theile's menu changes with the seasons and emphasizes local produce and seafood. For him, "Local is a big deal. When people travel to New England, they're looking for seasonal New England seafood." So it's no surprise that most of the seafood on his menu is caught in nearby waters, including Maine lobsters, sole, shrimp, bay scallops, tuna, crab, clams, and oysters. As he proudly says, "Right off the docks, right out of the water," right onto your plate.

Chef Theile tells a story about a recent gastronome's tour of New York he took with his sous and banquet chefs. Most memorable, he said, was a meal at Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca. An "awesome experience," he said, because they feasted on ingredients they love but could never serve at One Bellevue: head cheese, pigs' feet, lamb brains, rabbit, and goat. "Newport," he said, "is a tourist town, not a culinary scene and people want familiar food."

That was a refrain I heard frequently on my tour of the state. Rhode Island is a tourist destination and tourists enjoy food that doesn't challenge their culinary boundaries, but that doesn't stop chefs from occasionally pushing the envelope.

With his starters, Chef Theile hews closely to expectations with a seasonal menu. When I visited he featured fall ingredients: seared bay scallops with apple wood smoked bacon, crab cakes, autumn vegetable and roasted squash risotto with crispy Granny Smiths and Swiss chard, roasted butternut squash soup, New England clam chowder, caramelized Vidalia onion soup with Crispy bread and melted Gruyere cheese, warm spinach salad, classic Caesar salad, local oysters, and a shrimp cocktail. Eating any of these first courses and you know you're in Southern New England and you're happy.

The comfort food entrees follow familiar paths. The grilled Flat Iron steak with sour cream-chive potato pancakes, citrus glazed half chicken with pancetta whipped potatoes, or blackened pork tenderloin with barbecue pulled pork will satisfy all the meat-and-potato diners who want their food well-prepared and mouth-watering.

But for those who want some cross-cultural surprises, he offers Southern New England ingredients treated with a French and an Asian flair: grilled lobster accompanied with cipolini whipped potatoes and ginger sesame harciot vert, chili rubbed tuna with wasabi potatoes, apple and Swiss chard salad, and grilled shrimp and bay scallop pad Thai.

Located at the end of Cliff Walk and looking every bit like one of the nearby Newport Mansions, the Chanler Hotel (117 Memorial Boulevard, Newport, 401/847-2244) has 20 guest rooms furnished distinctively with European designs. No two rooms look alike. Meticulously detailed, all the rooms are luxurious, even the eccentrically appointed Gothic room with its dungeon-like design.

Taking up most of the ground floor, the Spiced Pear looks like the dining room of an exquisitely appointed Mediterranean villa. From its vantage point on the cliff, the restaurant has a sweeping view of the brilliantly blue water below. In the colder months, the dining room occupies a cozy room facing the open kitchen. In summer, diners can also sit outside in the covered patio and enjoy the cool breezes off Rhode Island Sound.

Executive Chef Kyle Ketchum describes his menu as "contemporary New England cuisine". If you love lobster, start with the lobster bisque, then go on to the delicately flavored butter poached Maine lobster, served with sweet creamed corn, English peas, and mushrooms. A chilled seafood plate has oysters sharing the plate with a shrimp cocktail. In the summer, local produce is featured in dishes like the heirloom tomatoes in a panzanella salad that includes tiny cubes of hearts of palm along with cucumber pearls and Fourme d'Ambert blue cheese.

Acknowledging that his guests do not live by seafood alone, chef Ketchum serves beautifully composed plates of American kobe beef with potato gratin, Moroccan glazed Muscovy duck breast with porcini mushrooms and sauteed spinach, kobe beef short ribs, and Berkshire pork with creamy Parmesan polenta.

His vegetarian tasting menu takes advantage of seasonally available local produce and includes a delicious chilled clear tomato gazpacho, chanterelle mushrooms with English peas and gnocchi, and risotto with truffles and sweet corn.

If you'll allow yourself the calories, chef Ketchum will delight your sweet tooth with the eye-pleasing Tahitian vanilla bean souffle or his acrobatic chocolate trio that couples a wedge of chocolate truffle cake, a dark chocolate terrine, and a pistachio and dark chocolate brownie with a Bailey's Irish cream float topped with whipped cream.

Twenty minutes from downtown Newport, the 35 room Castle Hill Inn & Resort (590 Ocean Drive, Newport, 888/466-1355) sits on a hill overlooking Narragansett Bay. The day we drove out to the restaurant, a rain storm pelted Ocean Drive, the solitary road that circles the island. The lobster skiffs that fish the waters had taken refuge in sheltered coves to avoid the storm.

The Inn looked all the more lovely and romantic in the rain.

The restaurant occupies the sun room of the converted mansion. Open on three sides to a view of the water, light poured in even on a rainy day. Chef Jonathan Cambra, like his fellow Rhode Island chefs, emphasizes local seafood and seasonal produce on his menu. The clams in his New England clam chowder and in the saute combining littlenecks with Portuguese sausage and fennel are from local waters, as are the raw Matunuck Farm oysters he tops with a Bloody Mary sorbet and black pepper gelee.

While the menu lists familiar dishes like bacon and eggs, a lobster roll, and a grilled cheese sandwich, chef Cambra prepares them with upgraded ingredients. The bacon is actually pork belly, the lobster roll uses a tarragon dressing instead of plain old mayo, and the grilled cheese is made with a selection of Narragansett Creamery cheeses on Sicilian bread. Even the hash he serves with his eggs isn't your cafe-variety hash. His is made with lobster.

Desserts come in all varieties. From Belgian chocolate tarts to napoleons, hot fudge sundays with homemade ice cream, banana splits, and a refreshing raspberry consomme.


My personal favorite was the artisan cheese tasting, with a well-chosen accompaniment of caramelized nuts, delicious honey, and apricot puree. By the time we finished lunch, the rain had stopped so we could take a walk on the expansive lawn. Looking across the Bay we could make out the mainland where we would be going next.

A trip to Rhode Island should always include a stop on Block Island. Ferries leave frequently from Point Judith and New London. Looking very much like a Norman Rockwell painting, Old Harbor is one of those rare places where time appears to have stopped. There are no high-rises here. Turn of the century four-story hotels like the National dominate the skyline. Walk a few blocks inland to Spring Street and you'll find Victorian houses that have become B&Bs like the Hotel Manisses and the 1661 Inn (Spring Street, Block Island, 401/466-2421).

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that there is only cafe-style food on the island. Among the dozens of local restaurants, Eli's (456 Chapel Street, Block island, 401/466-5230) is deservedly well-reviewed because the food is fresh, reasonably priced, and well-prepared. But the best place to eat on the island, bar none, is in the Hotel Manisses Restaurant (Hotel Manisses, Spring Street, Old Harbor, Block Island, 401/466-2421).

Chef Ross Audino takes local sourcing one step farther than his mainland colleagues. During the summer, 70% of his vegetables and 100% of his herbs come from the large garden behind the restaurant planted by Justin Abrams, the hotel's owner.

Because of the temperate island climate, chef Audino has fresh lettuce well into the fall. That is, he has lettuce until the week after Labor Day when, like clock-work every year, he wakes up to find that the local deer have descended on the garden and eaten what was left of the crop. Justin speculates that after Labor Day when most of the tourists leave, the deer feel its safe to come out of the hills to forage for food.

Not only are the blue fish, striped bass, clams, littlenecks, tuna, mussels, lobster, and swordfish served at the restaurant fished from local waters, but because Block Island is a tight-knit community, the chef knows the fishermen personally, like Joe Szabo, an old-timer who fishes for local swordfish.

The summertime dining room extends outside into a spacious brick lined patio that looks out on the herb garden at the back of the building. When the weather cools, diners happily stay inside, starting off with a drink at the bar and one of the appetizers: Maryland style crab cakes, tuna tartare with delicious cubes of extra firm fried tofu and ginger mayo on top of a wakame seaweed salad, grilled scallops with ratatouille, fried cod cheeks, and freshly shucked Moonstone oysters.

Chef Audino also puts the local seafood to excellent use in his entrees: gnocchi with lobster meat, pan roasted bass & local littlenecks, striped bass with spinach-shallot foam, and grilled swordfish with lobster mashed potatoes (yes, that's lobster-mashed potatoes and they are delicious).

The menu accommodates vegetarians with a grilled garlic, marinated tofu with house-made mozzarella. A beet salad configured into a tower of savory deliciousness, includes toasted almonds, sweetened mascarpone, and a reduced balsamic vinegar.

For meat-eaters, the menu is a lot of fun. A smoked beef brisket sandwich with crispy onion rings and a large plate of barbecued St. Louis ribs on a bed of jalapeno & cheddar spoon bread from the bistro menu are delicious. The ribs are full of flavor and, literally, finger-lickin' good because they are brined, dry rubbed, slow braised and then finished in high heat so the moist, nicely fatty meat gets a thin crust on top. The addition of a demi-glaze on the grilled Hereford filet mignon on the main menu creates a similar melt-in-your-mouth salty-sweetness and can be ordered either with mashed potatoes or the French fries which are fried with garlic cloves and rosemary leaves.

Desserts range from an apple crumble with an excellent nougat ice cream, carrot cake, Bailey's chocolate mousse flavored with Bailey's and whipped cream, a seven layer chocolate cake with mocha ganache, and a lemon cake with strawberry sauce. All of which were good, but I think that if I were going to leave room for anything, it would be for a couple more of the St. Louis ribs and a handful of those French fries.

Before you leave Rhode Island, you should make one more stop before you go home: the coastal city of Bristol.

Located on the eastern side of Narragansett Bay, mid-way between Providence and Newport, Bristol has small town charms, New England style. The small craft harbor is encircled by a bike and walking path. The small town shops remind you of a time before-we-had-malls.

Walking toward the harbor on State Street, you might pass by Persimmon (31 State Street, Bristol, 401/254-7474) without noticing the intimate, tastefully decorated dining room inside.

Opened in 2005 by chef Champe Speidel and his wife Lisa, Persimmon has gained a large following among tourists and locals, including chefs throughout the state. Working with local purveyors, like all Rhode Island fine dining chefs, chef Speidel's kitchen turns out exquisite plates of extraordinarily delicious food.

His attention to detail would rival any upscale restaurant in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Reading widely in his hundreds of cookbooks, chef Speidel looks for techniques and flavor combinations that he believes will engage his customers. He explained that it is "really easy to get complacent in a small restaurant, but you have to push yourself, always try to do more."

The seasons energize his cooking.

Even though much of Bristol's business is summer tourism, the town is a bedroom community of commuters who work in Providence and Newport. Which means a year-round clientele supports his restaurant.

Challenging himself, he prints a new menu every day, featuring what's fresh and local. Keeping his menu in sync with the changing seasons means his customers look forward to the new ways he'll prepare ingredients with a short season, like asparagus, black bass, and tautog. For his loyal customers he balances favorites like the crispy skin Long Island duck breast with new dishes so he'll encourage them to come back several times a week.

When Champe and Lisa opened Persimmon, their goal was to create a small, cozy restaurant that emphasized high quality food and good but informal service.

Champe calls his menu "modern," but he could have as easily called it global, because he borrows freely from world cuisine and American traditional food. Highly skilled, his cooking is witty.


Eight years ago, Lisa took Champe to his first clambake on the beach. He loved the experience of a wood fire, freshly cooked clams, corn, lobster, potatoes, and chorizo. Wanting to recreate the experience back at the restaurant, he created the mini clambake, one of his most popular appetizer.

When the dish is presented at the table, the plate is covered by a glass dome. As the covering is lifted, a scented cloud of apple wood smoke is released and, for a moment just before you devour the sweetly flavored seafood and broth, you're transported back to a summertime beach where you don't have a care in the world.

One of the dishes I enjoyed the most and would have eagerly asked for seconds, was his "two-minute" ceviche of native razor clams, served with Vietnamese Kalamansi lime, chilies, and mint sauce. Never has a Southern New England clam been so well-served.

His menu includes some exquisitely prepared comfort foods. For those who can afford the fatty indulgence, he serves up a perfectly seared Hudson Valley foie gras with oven roasted figs dressed with a duck reduction and aged balsamic vinegar. For another appetizer, an egg slow cooked at precisely 143.6 degrees for one hour, shares an elegant bowl with sauteed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms flavored with a touch of curry oil.

Armed with an inventive imagination, he carefully shapes the flavor profiles of his dishes. Unlike many chefs who give clams and mussels a featured spotlight, chef Speidel uses shellfish as a flavor garnish, using their uniquely sweet-and-salty profile to enhance the qualities, as he did one night, of line caught Cox's Ledge cod wrapped in apple wood bacon and served in a chowder of razor and littleneck clams.

His Pan Seared South Dartmouth Boneless Pork Loin Chop is sweet and juicy, the meat's flavors all the more enhanced by the accompanying ragout of squash, fennel, turnips, and peaches. While he roasts his Long Island Duck Breast to glazed, crispy perfection, he prefers to cook his organic chicken cuit sous vide, giving the meat a velvety texture that is contrasted by the oven roasted potatoes and onions.

The dessert selections run from the delicate (Yogurt and Vanilla Panna Cotta with native Berries) to the sublime (Rich Chocolate Moussse with Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Feuilletine and Carmel Ice Cream) to the familiar-though-decadent (Warm Peanut and Banana Cake with Banana Ice Cream, Caramel and Chocolate Sauces). All of which are wonderful. But I confess a simple plate of Berkshire Blue Cheese with a wedge of honeycomb dusted with fennel pollen stole my heart that night.

After having so many wonderful meals, and taking everything into account--the simple elegance of the dining room, Champe and Lisa Speidel's friendliness and charm, the execution and distinctive flavor profile of each and every dish--eating at Persimmon was my best experience on a very memorable trip.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lobster Rolls, Clams, Oysters, and Much Much More on the Rhode Island Shore

In the fall I was on assignment to write a profile of Rhode Island. It's been several months since that visit and re-reading the piece I wrote for Peter Greenberg about the food along the shore makes me wish I lived closer to the Ocean State now that the clam shacks are opening again.

Travelers to Southern New England who used to head straight for Boston have learned to stop in Providence at fun, neighborhood hangouts like Thee "Red" Fez (49 Peck Street, Providence, 401/272-1212) and at upscale restaurants like Bacaro (262 South Water Street, Providence, 401/751-3700) with it's encyclopedic menu of regional Italian dishes.

If you've come to the area to enjoy great food, there's more to Rhode Island than just Providence.

Hop in your car and head south.

It's only a short trip to East Greenwich, Wickford, and Matunuck in South County or to Bristol and Newport on Aquidneck Island. If you have a little more time, drive down to Watch Hill on the southern-most tip of the state or go day-tripping out to Block Island and spend the day walking, hiking, biking, and eating.

Everywhere you go, you'll be rewarded with wonderful meals in beautiful settings.

During the summer, stopping at a clam shack when you're at the beach is a guilty pleasure not to be denied. In the coastal towns ringing Narragansett Bay and Block Island Sound, you'll find plenty of opportunities to eat yourself silly.

If you're in Newport, try Flo's Clam Shack across the street from First Beach (4 WaveAvenue, Middletown, 401/847-8141) or better yet head up to Bristol a few miles north and stop at Quito's Seafood Restaurant (411 Thames Street, Bristol, 401/253-4500) where chef Frank Formisano and his mom, Joann, serve up clam strips, fish and chips, fried calamari, lobster rolls, fluffy and light clam cakes, sandwiches with fried fish, clams, shrimp, crab, or scallops, fried oysters, raw clams and oysters, baked clams, casseroles with fish, shrimp, lobster or scallops, French fries, hot dogs, hamburgers, Cole slaw, and clam chowder--red, white, and, because this is Rhode Island, clear as well.

This being Rhode Island, even food at the shore is touched by Italian traditions. At Quito's, the red sauce is homemade from Joann's Sicilian recipe. Littlenecks can be enjoyed raw, steamed with garlic and oil, steamed in a Zuppa sauce (tomatoes and garlic), served over pasta, or in a scampi sauce. One piece of advice, if you're offered a choice of French fries or Cole slaw, go for the slaw. I ordered a double portion, it's that good. Since Quito's is on the bike path, you can take a leisurely walk or bicycle around Bristol Harbor to work off the calories.

Across Narragansett Bay in South County most of the towns hug the coast. Head inland and the area is home to farms, roadside stands, and wildlife refuges. Stay on Route 1 south of Providence and you'll drive through undistinguished towns, but keep your eye out and you'll discover some gems.

East Greenwich has a main street out of a postcard. You half expect to see 1930s Fords and Chevys pulling up in front of the hardware store. The kid friendly Grille on Main (50 Main Street, East Greenwhich, 401/885-2200) is a good place to stop for grilled pizza--now a Rhode Island staple originally popularized by Al Forno in Providence--or the calamari, either crispy or spicy hot with a soy-arrabiata sauce.

Keep driving a half dozen miles south on Route 1 and you'll slip even farther back in time when you take the turn off into historic Old Wickford, a town important during the Colonial-Post Revolutionary period. Contact the wonderfully entertaining Tim Cranston (swamptown@msn.com) and he'll give you a walking tour of the town. You'll hear great stories about lives lost, loves found, and history made.

When you've finished your walk, stop for refreshment at Tavern by the Sea (16 West Main Street, Old Wickford, 401/294-4771), which is actually located on the edge of a picture-perfect pond, complete with white swans and flocks of ducks. Sit outside on the deck with a glass of Ginger Mimosa when it's warm, or, when it's cool, upstairs in the slanted-roof dining room, and feast on bistro food Rhode Island style: stuffed quahogs, mussels in white wine sauce, French onion soup, calamari both ways like the Grille on Main, fat crab cakes that don't skimp on the crab, and excellent Cole slaw. If they're serving slices of Lemon and Berries Mascarpone Cheese Cake, leave room for dessert.

If you want to cook your own seafood, walk over to the retail store at Gardner's Wharf Seafood (170 Main Street, Wickford, 401/295-4600) where they sell the lobsters, oysters, mussels, clams, and fish caught that day.

An insider note: if you're using a GPS to guide your travels, you won't find "Wickford" listed. You'll have to call the town, "North Kingston," even though the locals don't.

The oysters and clams from Rhode Island deserve to be better known. Everyone has eaten bivalves from Long Island, Connecticut and Maine, but if you want a treat, drive west on Route 1/1A past Snug Harbor, then go south on Succotash Road and eat at the Matunuck Oyster Bar (629 Succotash Road, East Matunuck, 401/783-4202).

When owner Perry Raso has time, he'll take you in a skiff for a tour of nearby Potter Pond where he farms the oysters and clams he serves at the restaurant. His oysters and clams are delicious: sweet, briny, and plump. While you're eating a dozen shucked littlenecks on the deck overlooking the estuary or inside the cozy dining room, you can watch the ducks float by as Springsteen plays on the speaker system. The menu offers classic favorites like lobster rolls, boiled or stuffed lobsters, oysters Rockefeller, steamers, cod cakes, fried oysters, a variety of chowders, but there is also a superb dish made with pan-roasted littlenecks and grilled chorizo with white beans and tomatoes. To add turf to all that surf, there are cheeseburgers, grilled ribeye steaks, and baby back ribs in a bourbon bbq sauce with corn bread.

If you're in Watch Hill and it's late in the day, there's a 99% chance you're sitting on the patio of the Olympia Tea Room (74 Bay Street, Watch Hill, 401/348-8211) watching the magic of a sunset.

Locals like to say that Watch Hill has all the comforts and advantages of Newport without the crowds. The Olympia Tea Room exemplifies what's best about Watch Hill. A long bar takes up one side of the room with dark wood dividers cutting across the dining room, creating romantic intimacy for those who like some privacy with their chardonnay and raw oysters.

Like many restaurants in Rhode Island, the Olympia Tea Room prides itself on supporting local food purveyors. The oysters, clams, scallops, scrod, haddock, sausages, and as much of the produce as the season permits are locally sourced. The menu offers a good assortment of familiar comfort food: ravioli with sage butter, veal stroganoff, grilled lamb chops, spinach salad, Caesar salad, oysters and clams on the half shell, fish and chips, pork chops, steak frite, lamb shank, roast chicken with a mustard glaze, and pasta about any way you'd want--with fresh vegetables, lobster, bolognese, panchetta, sausages and meatballs, or clams. Once you've had your fill of all that good food, take the time to sit outside again for a cup of coffee and enjoy the cool evening breeze coming off Little Narragansett Bay.

If you're on your way to Block Island or you're taking a leisurelydrive on scenic Route 1A, you can stop at Champlin's (256 Great island Road, 401/783-3152) in Point Judith. Head upstairs over the fish market, order your food, and find a good spot on the deck overlooking the harbor where the fishing boats and the Block Island ferries dock. The lobster roll is first rate, as are the fries and clam chowder.

For those with a little more time to spare, Block Island is a short ferry ride from Point Judith. Sparsely populated, with more than 50% of the island set aside as nature preserves, Block Island is a rare treat, a place to slow down and enjoy some quiet time reading, talking, walking, eating or just sitting and taking in the magnificent views. The communities that surround Old and New Harbor have hotels, bed and breakfast inns, and restaurants that cater to both locals and tourists from the mainland.

Overlooking New Harbor, The Oar (221 Jobs Hill Road, New Harbor, Block Island, 401/466-8820) has a bar famous for, yes, you guessed it, autographed oars that cover the walls and ceilings. The restaurant has an open air dining room facing the pleasure craft tied up to the docks. Relaxing with an ice cold beer or glass of wine, watching the sea gulls pass by overhead, it's easy to fool yourself that you're in a tropical paradise but then the waitress brings you your lobster roll with fries and Cole slaw and you know for sure you're in Rhode Island.

In the next post, I'll have news about the upscale dining opportunities on Block Island and in Newport and Bristol on Aquidneck Island.

For more about Rhode Island, please go to:


Friday, December 18, 2009

A Travel Gallery of Rhode Island

Ever been to Rhode Island? Know where it is? You've probably heard it's the smallest state in the union and that a lot of rich people built fancy mansions in Newport.

I lived there many years ago, so I know that Rhode Island is in Southern New England, a couple of hours north of New York on I-95. Wedged between Connecticut and Massachusetts, it's easily reachable by car, Amtrak, ferry, or bus.

Called the Ocean State because it has hundreds of miles of coastline, Providence is the largest city and state capital, home to Trinity Repertory Theater, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).

All that I knew, but what I learned on a recent trip is that the state has become an amazing place to eat.

There's great fast-food, Providence-style--cabinets, New York style hot dogs, pizza strips, spinach pies, coffee milk--and fun summer shore food--stuffies, steamers, chowda, lobster rolls, raw oysters & clams--and there's a remarkable community of talented chefs turning out sophisticated fine dining, the likes of which you'd expect in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

In the summer, roadside stands are everywhere, filled with fresh corn, tomatoes, squash, peaches, and plums. In the fall, the stands have pyramids of pumpkins, baskets of local apples, and jugs of freshly squeezed apple cider.

When I lived in Rhode Island, I stayed close to Providence. On this trip, I wandered around the state, spending time in Newport, Block Island, Little Compton, Bristol, and South County.

I discovered what the locals know. There are hundreds of bike paths, walking trails, public parks, and nature preserves that make the state a paradise for those who enjoy connecting with nature. Block Island, a few miles off the southern tip of the state, is a refuge from city life, a place to ride around on your bike, stop for a lobster roll at a waterside restaurant, take a nap, read a book, and walk on the grass topped beaches.

I put together a travel gallery of Rhode Island for the New York Daily News web site. Later this month the profiles of the restaurants I visited on the trip will post on Peter Greenberg's web site.


For more about Rhode Island, please go to:



I had a great trip and expect to be back. In the meantime, I have a lot of photographs to help me remember what a great time I had.


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