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Tag Archive | "Steven McHugh"

Esquire Sings the Praises of Cured at the Pearl


Esquire’s Josh Ozersky gets it.

Cured chef Steven McHugh

Cured chef Steven McHugh

Last year, the magazine’s food writer heralded the Granary ‘Cue and Brew as the future of barbecue. This week, he named Cured as one of the best new restaurants in America.

“An ancient building, gutted out, and filled with all the products of a skilled chef’s imaginings; the place is named for its hams but it’s the whole hogs and other roasted meats that soar the highest,” he writes of the restaurant at 306 Pearl Parkway.

“It took me by surprise,” chef and owner Steven McHugh said of the writeup. “It’s great how many people saw it and are congratulating us.”

There’s been a lot of love for San Antonio’s dining scene in the national press, and not just from Esquire. In the past week, Food & Wine singled out three places in town for having some of the best dishes in the state of Texas. Earlier this year, Bon Appétit cited Hot Joy as the sixth best new restaurant in America, while Cured was among its top 50.

Ozersky’s love for Texas dining extends to his pick of Austin’s Paul Qui, owner of the eponymous Qui, as Chef of the Year.

 

 

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Bakery Lorraine Relocates and Other Pearl Notes


Bakery Lorraine has relocated to the Pearl Brewery.

Bakery Lorraine and the French macarons have moved to the Pearl.

Bakery Lorraine and the French macarons have moved to the Pearl.

The bakery, which has been hailed as one of the best in the nation, is known for its French macarons (not macaroons) as well as its pain au chocolate, sticky buns, scones and sandwiches.

Look for the bakery nestled in among the restaurants, coffee shop and other food lovers’ favorites in the Pearl compound. It’s open for breakfast and lunch.

For more information, call (210) 862-5582.

Here’s some more Pearl news:

It’s time for Latin Flavors

The annual Latin Flavors, America’s Kitchens conference has returned to the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America.

This annual gathering of chefs and food professionals from throughout the Americas is generally a lot of shop talk and recipe sharing, with demonstrations of dishes indigenous to countries such as Peru, Argentina, Brazil and the Caribbean islands as well as the various regions of Mexico.

This symposium is an invite-only event, but this year, there are several dinners open to the public. One is at Nao on Thursday evening, featuring chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. The others are on Friday at Arcade Midtown Kitchen, Boiler House Texas Grill, Casa Hernan and Sandbar. For more information on the dinners, click here.

Cured Pink BeerOktoberBreast: Booze for Boobs

If you can’t get to Munich for the famous Oktoberfest, head to Cured at the Pearl, owned by cancer survivor and chef Steve McHugh.

In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, he’s serving up a special beer made by Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling. The pink-hued brew, Lucky Ol’ Sun Golden Belgian-Style Ale, may seem light, but it’s said to be full-bodied while boasting great flavor.

Every day during October, beer lovers can get a mug of Lucky Ol’ Sun pink beer on its own for $9 with $1 from every rosy ale sold going directly to Susan G. Komen. Pair it with the Charcuterie [“Charc”] Board starting at $18 for a total of $2 going to Komen, Cured’s charity of choice the entire quarter.

Looking forward to Southerleigh

Those who attended Sunday’s KLRN Fine Wine and Cuisine Tasting got a fine preview of Southerleigh, Jeff Balfour’s restaurant, which will be in the forthcoming Hotel Emma.

The chef served up crab claws in a lively dressing alongside a Dortmunder beer and a honey mead that are being brewed in-house. Yes, they worked up our appetite for more. But we’ll have to wait a little while longer.

Word is that the restaurant with its coastal cuisine could open in December, if all goes according to schedule. That may seem like a long way off, but it’s really not, as we’re in October already.

 

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‘Do It Before It’s Too Late,’ McHugh Tells CIA Grads


Steven McHugh, who graduated from The Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, N.Y., campus in 1997, provided advice and encouragement to the college’s newest alumni on July 3. McHugh delivered the commencement address at the CIA’s San Antonio campus at the Pearl Brewery complex, which is also home to Cured, his new restaurant, which opened in late 2013.

Steven McHugh addresses the CIA graduation.

Steven McHugh addresses the CIA graduation.

“You have shown you are committed,” McHugh told recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts. “What’s important is to take what you have learned and build on it.”

Cured is a sustainable, seasonal restaurant chosen by San Antonio Current as Best New Restaurant for 2014 and one of Eater National’s Restaurants to Watch.

For 10 years, McHugh worked for fellow CIA alumnus John Besh, ’92, first in New Orleans, then at Besh’s first San Antonio restaurant, before setting out on his own. He continues to “pay it forward” by hiring many young CIA graduates at Cured.

The Walworth, Wisconsin, native advised the graduating class to get involved in the community, as he and Besh did following Hurricane Katrina, serving hundreds of meals to relief workers in New Orleans. His final piece of advice was to “do it before it’s too late.”

McHugh was just 34 when he was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago. After completing chemotherapy, he said it was time to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant.

In fact, Cured refers to both McHugh’s triumph over cancer and the house-made meats served at the restaurant.

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Six Chefs Gather for Nao-USA Today Dinner


Six of San Antonio’s chefs will be appearing together in a dinner March 13 that’s being sponsored by Nao Restaurant and USA Today.

Geronimo Lopez

Geronimo Lopez

The chefs include:

  • Geronimo Lopez: Nao Restaurant
  • Alain Dubernard: Nao Restaurant
  • Johnny Hernandez: La Gloria
  • Andrew Weissman: Il Sogno
  • Steve McHugh: Cured
  • Michael Sohocki: Restaurant Gwendolyn

The event will be at Nao in the Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway. It begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and chefs demonstrations, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Johnny Hernandez

Johnny Hernandez

The meal will include a six-course dinner with wine pairings, live entertainment and chef commentary of the dishes. The price is  $100 per person plus tax and 17 percent tip.

For pre-paid reservations, call 210-554-6484.

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2012 Was a Year of Eating Well


The Pearl has become a food lover’s center for festivals as well as restaurants.

Bliss is aptly named.

As we approach the end of 2012, it’s time to look back on the many great flavors that we sampled. The list is lengthy, thanks to a decided upturn in culinary offerings across the city, both on the dining scene and for the food lover in general.

One of the biggest food stories of the year was the continued growth of the Pearl Brewery, which saw the opening of three praise-worthy eateries and a trendy bar. It also was the location of an increasing number of food festivals, meaning thousands from all over the city were showing up on a regular basis for cooking demonstrations at the Saturday farmers market, for paella, burgers and barbecue or tamales, and for the restaurants, all in the quest of good food.

A glimpse into the kitchen at the Granary.

The list of new restaurants includes the Granary ‘Cue and Brew, which restored beer making to the premises. Artisan barbecue, fine brews and an irresistible condiment known as ‘cue butter all made this a welcome addition. The Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden delivers on the belief that quality grilled meat is prerequisite in the Lone Star State, and the massive setting, covering two stories, is epic enough to complement chef James Moore’s ranch-style fare.

The most intriguing addition, though, is NAO, the Culinary Institute of America’s full-service restaurant, which has provided San Antonio with its broadest and most authentic taste of South and Central American cuisines to date. These exciting flavors, from seafood stews and roasted meats to an inviting cocktail program, have somehow not been able to secure a foothold before in a city that values its Tex-Mex above all; yet in just a few months, NAO has developed a local following, and its client base should grow as word continues to get out to the rest of the country that the school has a campus and a destination restaurant here. When the visiting chef series returns, with culinary stars from countries as diverse as Brazil, Peru and Argentina, you’d be wise to make your reservations as soon as possible.

The CIA’s flagship restaurant in San Antonio.

NAO is also built on the concept of small plates, which has also not been widely popular in San Antonio. Yet Bite in the Southtown area and a revitalized Nosh on Austin Highway are joining in the effort to break that mold.

Southtown continued to attract diners from across the city, as Mark Bliss returned with a new restaurant, the aptly named Bliss. The warmth of the place, the impressive setting and the comfort of the food, especially when enjoyed at the chef’s table in the kitchen, all help place it among the city’s best.

Johnny Hernandez opened two distinct venues in the Southtown area, if not Southtown proper. They include the Frutería at the Steel House Lofts, where you can get everything from market-fresh fruit for breakfast to an impressive array of, you got it, small plates for dinner, and Casa Hernán, an airy catering facility and brunch spot in his own home.

Another welcome addition to the Southtown scene was the Alamo Street Eat Bar, a food truck park that featured crazy good burgers from Cullum’s Attaboy, the Peacemaker combination of pork belly and fried oysters from Where Y’At and the DUK Truck’s duck confit tacos. Add Zum Sushi, The Institute of Chili, Wheelie Gourmet and a few other visitors, as well as a great beer lineup, and you’ve got some wonderful fresh treats. And what do food trucks provide but small plates, albeit from different plates, giving you the feel of being on a tapas trail?

An “Eat Street” crew films at the Point Park & Eats.

Another food truck park that opened up north in Leon Springs was the Point Park & Eat, which also offers a great beer selection and a wide array of foods from a lineup that has changed in the months that it’s been open. The culinary confections come from trucks such as Skinny Cat, Gourmet on the Fly, Blazin’ Burgers and Say-She-Ate.

Television continued to discover may of these culinary gems. Say-She-Ate was one of four food trucks filmed for the TV series, “Eat Street.” The others include Rickshaw Stop, Tapa Tapa and Society Bakery. Meanwhile, PBS celebrity chef Ming Tsai came to town to film segments of “Simply Ming” with Diana Barrios Treviño from Los Barrios, Elizabeth Johnson of the CIA, John Besh of Lüke (visiting from New Orleans) and Johnny Hernandez at La Gloria.

Sustenio, with Stephan Pyles’ blessing and David Gilbert’s gifts, made people realize the Eilan Hotel Resort and Spa off I-10 was not just a pretty façade. Its menu, with much of the dishes derived from local meats and produce, features an exciting array of ceviches that captured the freshness of the sea and a number of dishes using South Texas Heritage Pork products.

The $13 Burger at Knife & Fork.

The gastropub movement continued with the opening of Knife & Fork in the Stone Oak area. An outgrowth of the Bistro Six food truck, it offered a $13 Burger worth every cent, an extensive cocktail program and a laid-back atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the bistronomy craze — a hybrid of “bistro” and “gastronomy” — could be found in Laurent’s Modern Cuisine on McCullough Avenue. Next door to the still-vibrant and dependable Bistro Vatel, it proved that a segment of San Antonio does love its French food.

For those who enjoy a meal every now and then at home, the number of gourmet groceries grew, thanks to the addition of Trader Joe’s in the Quarry Extension and a second Whole Foods on Blanco Road, north of Loop 1604. The food warehouse Gaucho Gourmet expanded its hours to the public to six days a week, while Groomer’s Seafood reeled in even more seafood lovers, especially when lobsters hit a mouthwatering low of $5.95 apiece.

Classic cocktails have made a comeback.

San Antonio lifted it spirits high during the year. Distilled spirits, that is. Mixed drinks, both shaken and stirred, got a huge boost from the first annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference. But it didn’t stop there. The Blue Box in the Pearl and the downtown Brooklynite joined the likes of Bar 1919 in the Blue Star Complex and the bar at NAO as havens for hand-crafted classic cocktails. A rye sour shaken with traditional egg white, a real martini made with gin and a pisco sour bright with freshly squeezed citrus were all incentives that made exploring these nightspots fun.

Expect beer’s popularity to soar in the new year. Beyond the excellent brews at the Granary, we await Alamo Beer’s ambitious plans for a downtown complex that will feature a restaurant as well as a brewing facility as well as the launch of Branchline Brewery.

What else can we expect? The Pearl will continue to expand with the openings of Jesse Perez’s Arcade Midtown Kitchen and an as-yet-unnamed venture from Steven McHugh as well as the move of Green Vegetarian Cuisine, all of which will add to the draw of the campus. Culinaria has announced plans for a community garden center offering food and agricultural education for the city. Andrew Weissman is taking over the former Liberty Bar site on Josephine Street.

With these strides forward on so many fronts, the city’s culinary scene should continue to offer some enticing new flavors for anyone with a healthy appetite.

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Try It. It’s Good for You. And It Tastes Great.


Chef John Brand and his son, Malachi, prepare amaranth-crusted avocado.

Fall announced its arrival Sunday with temperatures dropping to the 50s and a definite nip in the air.

Mela offers two types of Indian chicken.

Yet that didn’t stop hundreds of people from reaching the Pearl Brewery Sunday on bike, on foot and in their cars for the first Feastivál, a tribute to healthy eating that Culinaria presented with H-E-B.

While they sipped wine and sampled healthy snacks from area restaurants and food purveyors, they listened to Dan Evans, a country singer who lost 136 pounds on TV’s “The Biggest Loser” and worked up some warmth doing a few zumba steps. Cooking demonstrations and wine seminars were on the menu as well.

Some of the snacks included a lemon seafood salad from chef Jeffrey Balfour at Citrus in the Hotel Valencia, amaranth-crusted avocado from chef John Brand of Las Canarias and Ostra, chicken tikka and tandoori chicken from Mela, black beans and brown rice from EZ’s, and guacamole with mango salsa on a jicama base from Paloma Blanca. Mike Behrend’s Green Vegetarian Cuisine offered a mixed plate with a pea, baby lima, edamame and carrot salad tossed with a touch of truffle oil.

Citrus’ Jeffrey Balfour presents a lemony seafood salad.

Jesse Perez, whose Arcade is opening at the Pearl later this year, offered a warming cup of butternut squash soup with feta. Steven McHugh, whose restaurant at the Pearl will opening the spring, offered roasted beets with blood orange over an avocado-ricotta spread. The two bros., Jason and Jake Dady, were on hand with smoked turkey from their Two Bros. BBQ Market.

A group of students from the Culinary Institute of America lit the fire pit and drew diners with tea-smoked salmon over vegetable couscous.

H-E-B, Zeric’s, Brio Tuscan Grille, and Eoni, which makes Bazookie whole grain and fruit bars, also offered tasty treats.

“It was amazing and healthy,” said Culinaria CEO Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, adding that both sponsoring organizations were pleased with the turnout and the fact that word is getting out that healthful food can taste great.

A group of students from the CIA dishes up tea-smoked salmon at the fire pit.

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A Grand Tasting with Room to Spare


Chef Jesse Perez talks with patrons at the Grand Tasting.

Culinaria’s Grand Tasting, sponsored by Ambhar Tequila Saturday night, was a grand mix of glitz and glamor, side-by-side with  a casual ambience that gave the event more the feeling of a gathering of friends. Where last year’s event was something of a noisy mob scene, this year’s audience was scaled down, with plenty of space to mingle, taste and talk.

The food, while small in scale in terms of portion size offered diversity as well as a great variety of flavors, from tenderest breaded calamari with a sweet and sour sauce from Citrus to Jesse Perez’s scrumptious albondiga on an unexpected base of creamy white bean hummus; from molecular sorcery to whole-grain cookies. Within a few steps you could down a tiny, open-faced meatloaf slider from the JW Marriott, then sip a watermelon-based gazpacho with seafood from 20nine.

Culinaria CEO Suzanne Taranto Etheredge (left) and Jenny Niemann enjoy the Grand Tasting.

While strolling through the grotto area under the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, we found plenty of treats to love, including the strips of tender beef in a cognac cream sauce, served on a rich spoonful of mashed potatoes from Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse. The restaurant also offered dessert right at the next table — three delicious varieties of hand-rolled chocolate truffles — chile, tangerine and walnut.

Chef Steven McHugh, of Lüke San Antonio presented a colorful, updated chicken salad, sans mayonnaise, but bursting with flavors from tiny tomatoes, sprouts, mini-croutons and a light, spiky dressing.

Peeler Farms chicken in a salad from Luke San Antonio.

Chicken tinga tostadas from Paloma Blanca and Chile en Nogada from Picante Grill were among the Mexican flavors of the evening, while Jason Dady offered a tequila ice made in a smoky bowl of dry ice.  It was a fun feat of molecular cooking, though his Thai-infused treat of coconut, curry and various spices tasted even better.

Chef Jason Dady swirls some dry ice to cool off his drink.

Flour Power Cafe and Lux were among those offering sweets to finish off the tasting.

Numerous other restaurants and wineries kept patrons happy, while the lines moved quickly, whether they were after food or wine, tequila or beer. An icy glass of Kim Crawford Saugivnon Blanc from New Zealand, a chilled California Chardonnay from  J. Lohr and some Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon with winery founder Gary Hogue himself on hand were some of the wines on hand, while Ambhar offered tastes of silver, reposado and añejo tequilas and explanations to guide you through what makes each special.

And again the weather cooperated with the event, providing a gentle breeze.

Culinaria’s 2012 festival concludes Sunday with Burgers, BBQ and Beer at the Pearl Brewery. Click here for details.

Flour Power Cafe offer tastes of several varieties of cakes

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Beer Week Bubbles with Plenty of Activity


What's on tap for San Antonio Beer Week?

Editor’s note: Instead of a Beer of the Week, we offer news of San Antonio Beer Week, which begins Saturday.

The second annual San Antonio Beer Week gets under way Saturday with plenty of chances for beer lovers to try some new brews as well as an array of tasty pairings with food.

Brewers from Blue Star, the Faust and Freetail will be serving up an SA IPA in honor of the event.

Saturday is also the date that Luke, 125 E. Houston St., is hosting its monthly beer dinner. All of the beers will be from Texas breweries, including Ranger Creek, Real Ale, Alamo, 512, Independence, Franconia and No Label.

Steven McHugh’s menu includes first of the season heirloom tomatoes, crabmeat, basil and balsamic vinegar will be followed by BBQ Texas quail and smoked tasso spoonbread. Pork belly and fried pickles with summer succotash will be served before blackberry buckle and root “beer” float.

Grab icy brew or two during San Antonio Beer Week.

The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $65 a person. For reservations, call (210) 227-5853 or email jsolomon@chefjohnbesh.com.

Ranger Creek’s Rob Landerman is partnering with Cruzan Catering at Bake, Boil and Brew, 1508 Guadalupe St., for a beer dinner at 7 p.m. May 19. The dinner will benefit Open The Taps, a grassroots, non-profit consumer advocacy group for craft beer enthusiasts.

The courses include La Bestia Aimable with sausage ravioli with basil pesto and Pecorino Romano;  Strawberry Milk Stout with Seared Salmon with Strawberry glaze;  SA IPA with Cranberry Goat Cheese Salad with an IPA-Orange Vinaigrette;  Lucky Ol’ Sun with Jalapeño Citrus Chicken with a pineapple salsa;  OPA with Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin Roulade;  and Mesquite Smoked Porter with Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake.  Extras include Ranger Creek .36 Texas Bourbon and Special .36 Bourbon Gelato from Brindles with Bourbon Truffle.

Cost is  $50. Click here for reservations.

Other Beer Week events include the Independence Brewing Brewluminati seventh anniversary and the tapping of their latest Brouwers Dubbel on May 17 and a Sierra Nevada party on May 18, both at the Friendly Spot Ice House, 943  S. Alamo St.

For more information on San Antonio Beer Week, click here.

 

 

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It’s Easy to Eat Well When It’s for a Good Cause


The SA Chef Coalition included Il Sogno sommelier Gabe Howe (front left) and David Gilbert of Sustenio, while the back row features, from right, John Brand, Michael Sohocki, Steven McHugh, Jason Dady, Chad Carey, Andrew Weissman and Jesse Perez.

The founding members of the SA Chef Coalition want what every chef wants: They want people to have a good meal and come back for more.

Braised beef cheeks with garlic, tomatoes and kale.

But they want something more.

They want that meal to showcase the best produce and meats of the immediate region, and they want the food prepared in way that reflects the finest San Antonio has to offer.

To that end, the group of chefs got together for a family-style dinner under the loquat and oak trees that line the patio of Tre Trattoria on Broadway. Guests had to bring their own plates, silverware and wine glasses, while God provided perfect weather. The food, meanwhile, came from farms such as Oak Hills and My Father’s Farm.

The chefs lineup included John Brand of Las Canarias and Ostra, Chad Carey of the Monterrey, Jason Dady of Tre Trattoria and Bin 555 among other ventures, David Gilbert of Sustenio, Steven McHugh of Lüke, San Antonio native Jesse Perez, Michael Sohocki of Restaurant Gwendolyn and Andrew Weissman of Il Sogno and the Sandbar.

The evening began with Rebecca Creek whiskey sours and a series of appetizers that ranged from an array of charcuterie, a little bit of everything from oxtail terrine to calf’s liver sausage, to a carrot purée and grilled spring onions.

Salt and pepper breadsticks.

Two salads, one featuring fresh greens while the other boasted several types of beets, preceded a main course of chicken, braised beef cheeks and numerous side dishes, such as creamy polenta, grits and a farro dish. Dessert features strawberries and whipped cream with a colorful Pop Rocks-influenced topping.

The chefs are planning future events that will include more San Antonio chefs, Dady said.

Each of the dinners will benefit a local charity, with the proceeds from the first dinner going to help the culinary programs at three area high schools, Perez said.

For details on more Chef Coalition events, follow SAChefCoalition on Twitter.

Until then, “get off your asses and get out and eat,” Dady said.

(Photographs by John Griffin and Bonnie Walker.)

Patrons enjoy the perfect weather and a family-style feast of local food.

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Are You Ready for Paella? The Annual Challenge Returns March 11


Jeff Balfour's winning paella from 2011.

Have you ever wanted to taste the cooking of a few of the contestants on “Top Chef”? You’ll get your chance at the third annual Corona Paella Challenge on March 11.

Lindsay Autrey, who made it to the top three this season, will be at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St., for the event, along with Ty-Lor Boring and Keith Rhodes, both of whom were also involved in the season that was partially filmed in San Antonio.

Chef Jeff Balfour of Citrus in the Hotel Valencia, 150 E. Houston St., will be defending his title as champion of the event.

Other chefs making paella for the crowds to sample include Jeff Littlefield of Waterfront Resort, Tim McCarthy of the Mayo Foundation, Jhojans Priego of Villa Rica, cookbook author and Seasons of My Heart Cooking School chef instructor Susana Trilling, Jason Dady of Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria, Steven McHugh of Lüke, who placed second last year, and Jeffrey Axell and David Wirebaugh, both of the Hyatt hotels.

Enormous paella pans cook enough of this Spanish rice dish for 50 people at a time.

The event is hosted by chef Johnny Hernandez of La Gloria at the Pearl, and proceeds will benefit The Culinary Institute of America­, San Antonio, and the Educational Foundation of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the world-renowned culinary campus we have here in San Antonio: The Culinary Institute of America,” Hernandez said. “We are committed to increasing the opportunities for scholarships and funding for young chefs interested in a career in the food industry.”

In addition to an array of outrageous and outrageously good paellas, there will be wines from Spain and a line of craft and imported beers.

San Antonio band Bachaco will perform its blend of reggae, dancehall, and ska mixed with South America’s own Caribbean legacy rhythm of Cumbia.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $50 for adults or $25 for children under age 12. Tickets can be purchased at www.culinariasa.org/wine-festival/main/tickets.php and at Pearl during the event.

 

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