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Sabatino's, Strolling Musicians and BBQ [Pictures]

Sabatino's, Strolling Musicians and BBQ [Pictures]
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  • Post #61 - January 3rd, 2008, 8:53 am
    Post #61 - January 3rd, 2008, 8:53 am Post #61 - January 3rd, 2008, 8:53 am
    I walked by about 6:15 on my way to the CTA and the fire was totally out. Hopefully the damage was not too bad.
  • Post #62 - January 3rd, 2008, 4:21 pm
    Post #62 - January 3rd, 2008, 4:21 pm Post #62 - January 3rd, 2008, 4:21 pm
    Anyone have any further details on this? Apparently happened this morning....

    If anything happens to this place, I am moving......
  • Post #63 - January 3rd, 2008, 5:11 pm
    Post #63 - January 3rd, 2008, 5:11 pm Post #63 - January 3rd, 2008, 5:11 pm
    I think Sabatino's should consider themselves lucky that this happened after hours and that no one was injured. While the place undeniably has its charms, I was there with my family a couple of weeks ago and they had the dining room so jammed that people at both the tables next to us needed to get up from their tables in order for 1 person at our table to make his way to the restroom. At the time I thought that it was remarkably dangerous and wondered what would happen if there were a fire or some other emergency. I don't know what the lawful capacity of the place is but it had to have been surpassed on that night.

    When I heard the news this morning, my first thought was of the over-filled dining room of a couple of weeks ago. I was relieved to hear that no one was injured in this fire. But thinking back, had this occurred during peak hours, the result could have been catastrophic. As they work toward reopening, I hope the powers that be at Sabatino's will reconsider their seating scheme and take advantage of an unfortunate lesson that could have been much more costly.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #64 - January 4th, 2008, 11:40 am
    Post #64 - January 4th, 2008, 11:40 am Post #64 - January 4th, 2008, 11:40 am
    There was a fire at Sabatino's on Thursday morning, pre-dawn. If anyone knows Enzo, Angelo, or anyone on staff, please send them my best wishes and hopes that they re-open soon.

    The full story is at http://cbs2chicago.com/local/fire.sabat ... 22313.html

    It sounds like the fire was in the kitchen, but there was fire damage to the roof and extensive smoke and water damage throughout the restaurant.

    CBS posted this picture on the Channel 2 site:
    Image
  • Post #65 - January 22nd, 2008, 7:02 pm
    Post #65 - January 22nd, 2008, 7:02 pm Post #65 - January 22nd, 2008, 7:02 pm
    I called Sabatino's tonight... Apparently the damage was relatively contained, but the insurance has taken a while to get everything squared away. No smoke damage, so the furniture is intact. They're taking this opportunity to revamp the place, however (new bar, new wallpaper). They're shooting for Feb. 1 to reopen.

    Sabatino's rules your mama's foice.
  • Post #66 - February 8th, 2008, 1:26 pm
    Post #66 - February 8th, 2008, 1:26 pm Post #66 - February 8th, 2008, 1:26 pm
    As of yesterday, Sabatino's is open again. Stopped by for takeout last night and it seemed like they had a pretty good crowd.
  • Post #67 - February 8th, 2008, 1:27 pm
    Post #67 - February 8th, 2008, 1:27 pm Post #67 - February 8th, 2008, 1:27 pm
    LTH:

    Just wanted to let you know Sabatino's re-opened for business yesterday (February 7). Mrs. JiLS and wasted no time and enjoyed dinner at Sabatino's last night. Other than service being a little slower than usual and them not having escargot (a fact they offered up before we had to ask :) ), all was well. The only obvious physical change is some redecorating in the bar area, including improved lighting.
    JiLS
  • Post #68 - February 8th, 2008, 2:47 pm
    Post #68 - February 8th, 2008, 2:47 pm Post #68 - February 8th, 2008, 2:47 pm
    "Improved lighting in the bar?"

    "Redecorating?"'

    This truly scares me, as that semi-shabbly bar is one of my faves of all time as is.....please tell me it's not too dramatic....
  • Post #69 - February 8th, 2008, 3:20 pm
    Post #69 - February 8th, 2008, 3:20 pm Post #69 - February 8th, 2008, 3:20 pm
    ParkLaBrea wrote:"Improved lighting in the bar?"

    "Redecorating?"'

    This truly scares me, as that semi-shabbly bar is one of my faves of all time as is.....please tell me it's not too dramatic....


    They added halogen ceiling-mounted fixtures, focused downward on the areas around the perimeter of the space. They also added a glass display case on the front wall, and I think they removed one or two of the dining booths in the bar area, but don't quote me on that. They also put up new wallcoverings. Minor changes, all that spruce the place up a bit without changing it's basic character appreciably.
    JiLS
  • Post #70 - February 8th, 2008, 5:52 pm
    Post #70 - February 8th, 2008, 5:52 pm Post #70 - February 8th, 2008, 5:52 pm
    I'm happy to hear they're open. I have reservations there on Valentine's Day.

    Sabatino's FTW!!!1
  • Post #71 - April 20th, 2008, 9:35 am
    Post #71 - April 20th, 2008, 9:35 am Post #71 - April 20th, 2008, 9:35 am
    Made my first trip to Sabatino's on a recent Lobster Night (Wednesday). It was nice to see a good crowd on hand.
    I found the food uneven, but as with so many places, I got the impression that if you order selectively, you can do very well here.
    The meal started with a high point. Pizza bread hit the table hot and perfectly cooked--the cheese was melted just the right amount. For something served in such large volumes, this was impressive. The regular bread was also good. It reminded me of my favorite, D'Amatos, but the waiter said they buy the dough from a bakery in River Grove and bake it in their own ovens.
    The stracciatella did not impress me as much. I appreciated the generous quantity of spinach, but the chicken stock was weak in flavor. First piece of advice--order the dressing on the side for your side salad.
    I went with the lobster, and I was a bit disappointed that the tail was cooked to the equivalent of well-done for shellfish. I'm sure this is probably the way the regulars here prefer it, but I found it too dried out. Second piece of advice--specify how you want your lobster cooked. The mostaccioli I had as a side had a rather pedestrian red sauce.
    My friend had a pasta special. The linguine arrived perfectly al dente as requested, and the mushrooms were superb--I can see why they are a strength of this place. But the brown sauce was gloppy and uninspired. A slightly thickened veal stock would have been a much better sauce for this dish, allowing the flavor of the mushrooms to shine through.
    The profiteroles had one of the very best hot fudge sauces I have ever come across. The vanilla ice cream was good; too bad the pastry was a day or two old or this would have been one of my all-time best desserts.
    Our waiter was friendly, but he seemed to be going through the motions most of the time. For example, after our entrees arrived, he asked, "How is everything, good?" as if that was the only possible answer. I felt a bit sorry for the violin player, who seemed tired and was having trouble sustaining his performance. The guitar player did his best to lend support.
    The next time I go, I will pay closer attention to the ordering advice in this thread, as much of it rang true when I re-read it after my visit.
  • Post #72 - September 21st, 2008, 1:34 pm
    Post #72 - September 21st, 2008, 1:34 pm Post #72 - September 21st, 2008, 1:34 pm
    I decided to splurge last night and try the Lobster Al Diavola for the first time. Described as "chunks of lobster sauteed in butter and cooked in zesty marinara, served over linguine." This was fantastic. At $31.95, far more than I usually spend here, I felt it was a good value. The chunks of lobster were large, plentiful and perfectly tender. The sauce had just enough spicy "kick" to it without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the lobster. Linguine was cooked to a nice toothsome al dente. Only negative was that now I'm going to want this every time I'm there. :wink:
    Another first for us last night was their Warm Apple Tart with Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream. Husband and I split one and I thought it was a very nice rendition - thin crust, lots of apples, not too sweet.
    All in all, combined with top-notch service, it was quite a decadent and enjoyable evening.
  • Post #73 - October 11th, 2008, 6:55 am
    Post #73 - October 11th, 2008, 6:55 am Post #73 - October 11th, 2008, 6:55 am
    Any updates on the Lobster Special? Also, does anyone know where I could find a current menu?

    Thanks
  • Post #74 - October 11th, 2008, 10:41 am
    Post #74 - October 11th, 2008, 10:41 am Post #74 - October 11th, 2008, 10:41 am
    Mak7185 wrote:Any updates on the Lobster Special? Also, does anyone know where I could find a current menu?

    Thanks

    Sabatino's menu, via MenuPages.com (don't know how current it is).

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #75 - October 11th, 2008, 11:12 am
    Post #75 - October 11th, 2008, 11:12 am Post #75 - October 11th, 2008, 11:12 am
    That menu looks to be just about identical to what we saw last night. A fantastic meal, as always.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #76 - October 11th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    Post #76 - October 11th, 2008, 12:53 pm Post #76 - October 11th, 2008, 12:53 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Mak7185 wrote:Any updates on the Lobster Special? Also, does anyone know where I could find a current menu?

    Thanks

    Sabatino's menu, via MenuPages.com (don't know how current it is).

    =R=


    Thanks! I think we may have to try it out next week when we're in town! Is it still only $19.95, how big is the tail?
  • Post #77 - July 2nd, 2009, 11:02 am
    Post #77 - July 2nd, 2009, 11:02 am Post #77 - July 2nd, 2009, 11:02 am
    Mr. cm2772 and I went to Sabatino's for the first time last, in celebration of our 10th year wedding anniversary. I love this place and the hubs couldn't have been happier.

    We were seated immediately (7pm reservations) and the pizza bread and warm bread loaf and our water glasses were filled. Mr. cm2772 ordered a gimlet and stated that this was one of the better/properly made gilmets that he has had. We ordered oysters rockefeller, both had the stracciatella, "comes with" salads, and I ordered the veal saltimbocca while hubs went whole hog/rather baby cow and ordered the veal chop.

    Everything was perfect with the exception of the oysters rockefeller, which was okay at best. That and that we didn't order anything "flaming"--oh well next time.

    The veal saltimbocca was light, delicate, but the sauce was rich and silky. The veal chop (extra thick) was out of this world. Our waitress recommended medium and she was spot-on. Broiled to perfection and simply served..it didn't require any additional seasoning or relish. We ended the meal with coffees, tiramisu and brandy ice. We wrapped up the tiramisu and shared the brandy ice. We simply couldn't eat two desserts after all of this, although we tried.

    Add to this a few glasses of wine, and we walked out content, pleased, raving about the place and planning when we were coming back and who we would bring with us (probably my parents)...and spent only $100.

    Thanks for posting about, recommending and renewing this GNR. We loved it.

    Next time we stated we are going old-school and getting the steak diane and bananas foster.
  • Post #78 - March 20th, 2010, 11:56 am
    Post #78 - March 20th, 2010, 11:56 am Post #78 - March 20th, 2010, 11:56 am
    Made my first trip to Sabatino's last night. It will not be my last.

    The evening was filled with laughter and the place was packed. Paula, our server,was efficient and gregarious.

    The eggplant parm was fantastic. I still wish I could get someone to put it on toasted garlic bread & give it to me with a side of crisp fries the way they do it at Sal's Pizzeria down in Williamsburg, VA, but perhaps I will save such a request for my next visit.

    One thing I wish I knew before, they have free valet parking so slow down once you see the sign for Sabatino's.

    A great evening was shared with a fellow LTH'er and some food loving friends.

    I have no qualms about going back to Sabatino's to eat again and would definitely do so on a weekend. The joint was jumping but I never felt rushed during our meal.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #79 - May 19th, 2010, 10:34 pm
    Post #79 - May 19th, 2010, 10:34 pm Post #79 - May 19th, 2010, 10:34 pm
    I'm going to have to try to get there real soon after reading all this.
  • Post #80 - September 15th, 2010, 1:09 pm
    Post #80 - September 15th, 2010, 1:09 pm Post #80 - September 15th, 2010, 1:09 pm
    This past Saturday we were discussing where to have a last-minute dinner (i.e. no reservations) and I mentioned Sabatino's, because my sister had never been. We jumped on it, and jumped in the car to make the trek up there.

    The place was packed so we hung out in the bar for a couple martinis (next to the glass display case with their GNR featured prominently inside next to the pictures of Enzo and Angelo :wink: ). The piano player was gearing up and the crowd was lively.

    When we were seated (three walk-ins waiting only half an hour on Saturday night prime-time, not bad, not bad at all), we gorged ourselves on fried calamari, the pizza bread--nice and smooshy--salad (creamy garlic), stracciatella, a New York strip which was temped perfectly and was one of the better restaurant steaks I've had in a while, spaghetti, pasta con frutte del mare with lovely big pieces of lobster, vitello alla Toscana, and tiramisu (couldn't imagine eating one of the larger flambeed desserts at this point, we were stuffed). A throwaway bottle of Barbera, limoncello, and some suprisingly good espresso rounded things out.

    Every time I go I fall back in love with the service staff, the diversity of the crowd in the dining room, the obvious overcapacity (there are about twice as many tables as there should be, but who's counting), the value, the wandering minstrels, the food, and the general Chicago-ness of the place. And then I go home and suffer from indigestion. Wish I went more often.
  • Post #81 - September 15th, 2010, 5:39 pm
    Post #81 - September 15th, 2010, 5:39 pm Post #81 - September 15th, 2010, 5:39 pm
    NeroW wrote:...pasta con frutte del mare with lovely big pieces of lobster...

    That's what I had the last time I was there, and I thought it was one of the better versions of the dish that I've had in my life.
  • Post #82 - September 16th, 2010, 3:01 pm
    Post #82 - September 16th, 2010, 3:01 pm Post #82 - September 16th, 2010, 3:01 pm
    I was asked by friends to help find them a place to host a party for their 60th wedding anniversary, so I started researching LTH threads. They did their 40th at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, but the price of a private room had jumped significantly in the intervening years, so on with the search. I love Sabatino's, but I didn't realize they host private parties, thanks to an LTH thread I saw they did and gave them a call. They came in at an amazing price compared to the three thousand dollar minimum quote I was getting for a Saturday evening at most other places. Enzo was helpful, party booked for under budget with a private space. Thanks LTH!
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #83 - September 27th, 2010, 1:13 pm
    Post #83 - September 27th, 2010, 1:13 pm Post #83 - September 27th, 2010, 1:13 pm
    I think whoever said that Sabatino's quality control sometimes goes offtrack on the weekends is right.

    Hadn't been to this old gem for a few years, but tried it again with a party of 5 last Friday night because of logistics/traffic. The waiter was in a fine humor, and the meal started well with the hot bread & the complimentary pizza bread. Also was served a very nice Lipizzano Chianti. The stracciatella was not as brothy as Bruna's but still decent. Problem was that the wife ordered chicken cacciatore, and apparently that takes longer than the other dishes, because the waiter came out after awhile and said that our dinners were waiting for the cacciatore to be done. My ears perked up when I heard that, 'cause it was precisely the time the waitstaff was bringing multiple dinners to other tables. I suspected either the cacciatore order had gotten lost, dropped, or simply the cook time was figured wrong.

    At that point, I knew we were scroogied, and I was right. Wife's dinner came to the table piping hot, but my red snapper was lukewarm & daughter's risotto looked positively glutenous, with no steam emanating from the plate, evidence of a heat lamp if ever there was one. Friends' filet & lasagna, respectively, seemed OK but I was not about to cause a fuss if everybody else was happy. I was hesitant to send back the fish because although all it needed was a couple minutes in the saute pan, I was afraid they'd microwave it. In hindsight, I should've done exactly that & specified 'no nukes'.

    All in all, that snafu--alleged but not confirmed--was a demerit for Sabatino's. And believe me, I've had some GREAT meals there when they haven't been so crowded. Next time for me will no doubt be during the week, however.
  • Post #84 - February 23rd, 2011, 11:31 pm
    Post #84 - February 23rd, 2011, 11:31 pm Post #84 - February 23rd, 2011, 11:31 pm
    Made my first trip to Sabatino's tonight night and it was a delightful experience. It was my birthday and when thinking about all the places I want to try in this town, this rose to the top -- plus I wanted a nice comfort experience and Sabatino's fit that to a t. Plus my charming dining companion is an ex-city dweller who wanted a shot of Chi. Sabatino's delivers on both food and Chi in big portions.

    Great crusty bread and delicious pizza bread delivered to the table. I could just eat that pizza bread for my meal and be happy but it's seldom that I'm confronted with a menu that is so tempting. It was really hard to decide what to order but I decided to go with decadence. I started with an appetizer of artichoke bottoms and lobster meat surrounded by a nice mornay sauce. I wanted, very much, to lick the plate at the table. I am a lady, however...so I didn't. :lol: The lobster was really well cooked -- juicy and tender and luscious and the artichokes were nice and tender as well. Great appetizer. Very birthday-esque. My main was the lasagna and it was a very nice version--with lots of layers of delightful pasta and meat. My companion had a pasta with a cream tomato sauce with excellent sausage bits and peas. It was very well seasoned and yummy. Since it was a birthday, we went whole hog on the dessert -- flaming baked alaska -- which, spectacle though it was, it was just delicious. Cake, good vanilla ice cream and light fluffy meringue, covered by a rich tasty hot fudge. Decadent and worth it.

    Good service on a busy night (there were at least 5 birthdays last night -- i felt surrounded by fellow pisceans) and such a charming, old-world place. I will be back at the drop of a hat. I loved it.
  • Post #85 - June 23rd, 2011, 5:24 pm
    Post #85 - June 23rd, 2011, 5:24 pm Post #85 - June 23rd, 2011, 5:24 pm
    Love the love.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/ ... 7171.story
  • Post #86 - September 16th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Post #86 - September 16th, 2011, 2:01 pm Post #86 - September 16th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Ronna and I made our first visit to Sabatino's last night and we enjoyed everything but the food. We had high hopes because the joint was certainly charming in an old-school, red sauce, hasn't-changed-in-100-years kind of way. Service was quirkily enthusiastic and competent, and the strolling musicians were fun. Unfortunately, at its best, the food was tired, boring, and carelessly prepared and presented.

    We had:
    Bread and Pizza Bread - This double whammy of free starters was good. Both breads were served hot and fresh, and the pizza bread had a nice, garlicky kick. In hindsight, I should have had pizza bread for dinner.

    Minestrone Soup - This had nice flavor, but seemed to suffer from being held for way too long. It had thickened to the point where it was more a Minestrone stew than a soup, and the pasta and veggies within were just mush. Still, I ate it.

    Salad - Nice that the entrees all come with soup and salad, but this salad was all wrong. I'm glad they washed the lettuce, but they left it soggy and wet. The "blue cheese dressing" turned out to be watery ranch with cheap, crumbled blue cheese on top. Even if I forgive the shitty tomatoes, which is hard, this salad was terrible and I couldn't finish it.

    Shrimp DeJonghe - My first experience with this classic Chicago dish, and I kinda liked it. The shrimp were fresh, and the tangy, garlicky bread crumb sauce was tasty. But the way that the handful of sauce-topped lumps of shrimp were just strewn about on a way-too-big plate made for a very ugly dish.

    Veal Parmigiana - The veal, sauce, and cheese in this dish were all bland. There was no mistaking the fact that the veal was cooked, cooled, reheated, and cooled again. It was served at room temperature and the cheese had re-solidified. Though it was plenty of food, it barely covered the giant, oval plate on which it was served. What a mess. I ate it anyway. The simple side of spaghetti with meat sauce was hot and flavorful, and tied with the pizza bread as the best thing I tasted all night.

    Papparedelle con Funghi di Bosco - In a night of ugly dishes, this pasta ordered by a friend was by far the ugliest. The brown sauce had formed the unmistakeable two-tone crust of a dish that spent too much time under a heat lamp. Beyond that, it tasted like a mix of beef stock and Campbell's condensed cream of mushroom soup coating pasta cooked so far beyond al dente that it could almost be described as a noodle paste. Inedible.

    Maybe we ordered wrong, or maybe we caught them on a bad night, or maybe I was in a bad mood, or maybe... I just don't know. I feel the need to find an excuse because this was one of those anomalies where I am left to wonder how in the heck a place ever ended up as a GNR.

    --Rich
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #87 - September 16th, 2011, 3:57 pm
    Post #87 - September 16th, 2011, 3:57 pm Post #87 - September 16th, 2011, 3:57 pm
    So much for the collective wisdom of ten years of posts. First mistake was not ordering the stracciatella, then downhill from there. Like teeing off with a putter into the woods and complaining about poor couse design. Or ordering a hot dog at Johnnie's followed by a "blue raspberry" ice at Mario's and wondering what the hype is all about.


    I kid, but that is not an LTH-informed Sabatino's menu. Even so, sounds like an off night. You'll have better luck next time. Would be impossible not to.
  • Post #88 - September 16th, 2011, 4:28 pm
    Post #88 - September 16th, 2011, 4:28 pm Post #88 - September 16th, 2011, 4:28 pm
    You either get Sabatino's or you don't. If you're turning a critical eye toward the salad, then you missed the essence of the place. At Sabatino's, a gratis iceberg-heavy salad drowning in gloppy blue cheese dressing is perfect. A precursor to the perfectly dried, micro-lettuces dressed with a perfect emulsion of sherry-smoked paprika vinaigrette, which are then plumped in the chef's hands on the plate; if this was served at Sabatino's, it would bring a sad tear to my eye. I hope they don't ever change a thing. When Enzo dies, so will Sabatino's, as well as a deep connection to our past.
  • Post #89 - September 16th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Post #89 - September 16th, 2011, 4:37 pm Post #89 - September 16th, 2011, 4:37 pm
    Well said -- though I do think the salad call is always the house Italian with gorganzola crumbles (or if feeling decadent, 1000 Island with crumbles).
  • Post #90 - September 16th, 2011, 4:40 pm
    Post #90 - September 16th, 2011, 4:40 pm Post #90 - September 16th, 2011, 4:40 pm
    I usually avoid posting in this thread, because as a 20-year regular at Sabatino's, I do consider that I might get special treatment. That said, I think that for your group, it unfortunately was an off night. Most every complaint you had seems to speak to an overworked and inattentive staff the night you visited, which is highly unfortunate. To wit:

    1. Soup. Although as JeffB points out, stracciatella is the best of the bunch (and available every night if you know to ask), the minestrone is usually excellent. I have, however, experienced it in the mushy, overwarmed state RAB cites, though rarely.

    2. Salad. Might be a matter of taste, but I always get the blue cheese dressing, and there is a reason I keep ordering it ... namely, because it is such an extravagance of really decent quality blue cheese mounded on like there's no tomorrow. The measly serving you describe, as well as the wet lettuce, again bespeak an overworked and inattentive staff; it's not always like that. (Also, Mrs. JiLS would agree heartily with JeffB's suggestion on salad dressing ... vinaigrette plus blue cheese crumbles, I agree is pretty awesome.)

    3. Pasta. The papperdelle that so disappointed your group actually is one of my standby favorites, and the reason I love it is because -- typically -- it avoids all the negatives you cite. In particular, the pasta itself is always (in my experience) of the highest quality, and I mean in the range of the very best I've had anywhere, at any price. The sauce is also really delicious, if admittedly very brown. In fact, the brown color of the sauce is the only thing I see in common between what you guys got and I'm used to receiving there. The fact that it seemed to have cooled and congealed is inexcusable, but ... not typical.

    Did you try a flaming dessert? =^)

    Seriously, it sounds like maybe you were there on a very off night for what is really one of the finest kitchens in the city. Try going back on a Sunday through Wednesday night, and you will likely have a much better experience.
    JiLS

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