Amber – Home of the Softest Pichi-Pichi

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It was a regular after Mass Sunday when we decided to check-out the new restaurant that opened right beside (or below) PureGold Jr in Evacom.  I’ve read how people rave about the restaurant’s Pichi-Pichi and so we decided to dine in Amber “Golden Cup” Restaurant and I’m darn glad we did!

Location

The restaurant is located at the ground floor level (or 1st floor, whichever you prefer) of PureGold Jr. that’s right outside Villanueva Village in Parañaque.  It’s very easy to spot with all the bright signs and eye-catching contrast of the Yellow and Red color them of the restaurant.

Amber The Wandering Boots 02

About the Restaurant

A curious note about the name of the restaurant.  This branch is called Amber Golden Cup Restaurant is one of the restaurants in a chain of restaurants named after kitchen utensils which started out with Amber “Golden Plate” in Makati.  I read from somewhere in the internet (sometime ago), that the owner would like to complete all the utensils so that means having that much number of branches in the future.  I wish them luck and I really hope they would do just that because once we tasted that Pichi-Pichi of theirs, there’s just no turning back.  Needless to say, they were really good!  But we’re not talking about that just yet.  ^_^

The restaurant was divided into 2 – a dine-in section (with air-con – supposedly), and a take-out section (with fresh outside breeze ^_^).  Immediately, once we entered the take-out section and saw that there  were chairs, people seated and waiting, a long queue, and really fast working staff, I knew that we were going to leave the restaurant happy.  That’s a sign of a good or really good restaurant, when people are falling in line even if they know order number 2086 was being called and their number would be 2098.

Amber The Wandering Boots 04

Heres the take-out and order section. The glass wall to the right is what separates them from PureGold Jr. The glass wall to the left is the dine-in area.

Amber The Wandering Boots 03

The dine-in area from outside. It was really small but because people eat really fast (the menu is composed of noodle dishes and snack items), so we didnt have any problem finding our table. Also, it wasnt really that cold inside so there would really be no need for people to stay too long after theyve eaten.

Amber The Wandering Boots 11

Dine-in area from inside. Its a view to the busy Sucat Road. And yes, theres free water! So if youre on a tight budget, or simply want to allot more peso for the Pichi-Pichi, just drink water. ^_^

Amber The Wandering Boots 12

Another view with Mario caught red handed, trying to make sure our lottery ticket is safe and sound... ^_^ In a way, I think we won a different kind of lottery that day... Yep yep! more about this later in the post.... ^_^

The way to order is to line-up in the take-out section (even if you want to dine-in), when it’s your turn, they take your order and you tell them that you’ll be eating your order inside.  Pay-up, wait for your change, get your order slip or receipt (I forgot which one they gave us), then proceed to the dine-in area and wait for your food to be served.  If you decide to have the food to-go, then you stay outside, wait for your number (on the slip) to be called, and that’s it!

Menu and What We Ordered

Here’s their menu…  You can click on the image to take a look at the larger version.

We ordered Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, 12pcs order of Pichi-Pichi with Fresh Niyog, and single order of Bihon Guisado.

Spaghetti P60 The Wandering Boots Rating 3 SMALL

This was Mario’s order and we both love spaghetti without discrimination of where it came from, what time of the day we eat it, how it was cooked, and how often we’re going to eat it.  ^_^  This was definitely something that reminds me of the spaghetti from our old office cafeteria.  It was salty enough to be a viand, but I didn’t mind that at all (yes, again, I love salty food).  The thing we love most is that they were very generous with the sauce and it was already mixed in everything.  There were lots of ground beef too, so you really know that you get your money’s worth of spaghetti.

Amber The Wandering Boots 09

It was weird, and my first time, seeing the hotdog sliced like that and just dumped on top of the spaghetti. ^_^ When I cook spaghetti, I really love to put a lot of hotdog so this scared me a bit. I thought there would be not enough meat in the dish.

Amber The Wandering Boots 08

Saucy.. very... ^_^ Cant find a strand of spaghetti noodle thats not coated with sauce!

Bihon Guisado P50 The Wandering Boots Rating 3 SMALL

This was my order and it was normal bihon guisado for me, which is good in a way because it felt like I was eating a home-cooked dish.

Amber The Wandering Boots 10

Pichi-Pichi with Fresh Niyog P48 The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

THIS IS THE BEST!  I mean, I wish we ordered more!  We couldn’t get enough of this and we knew we would be coming back for more!  These were the softest, most balanced (in terms of sweetness), and most value for money pichi-pichi we ever had!  Usually I would order for more niyog, but these little delicious babies are screaming white with niyog so I’m very happy that there was no need to ask for extra.  Each of the pichi-pichi was the perfect bite-size and although they were really sticky, it wasn’t hard pulling them off of each other.  It was a fun snack!

Amber The Wandering Boots 07

Pichi-Pichi take-out box... but we couldnt wait so we ate them there and then. ^_^

Amber The Wandering Boots 06

Yummy!!! Yummy like the word was invented for these little precious. Sweet but not too sweet, texture was smooth, sticky, yet not chewy, the color was reminiscent of kutsinta, which probably added to my fascination about them because I love love love kutsinta. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe them, really sticky, super soft, sweet, bite-sized, rounded kutsinta?

Amber The Wandering Boots 05

The box has all the branches and contact information.

Overall

The Pichi-Pichi was the highlight of the day to the point where we even forgot about the bihon and spaghetti we ordered!  I would love to try Pichi-Pichi with cheese and their other variations, but I can’t imagine any other combination that could top the fresh niyog experience, then again, I may be wrong.

Amber The Wandering Boots 13

Look what we found among the bills they gave us as change. ^_^ UST 400 years!

Contact Information:

Website:  http://www.amber.com.ph

TAKE NOTE:  It’s best to ask how much the delivery charge is (if you want to have your ordered delivered).  We tried to have our 40pcs pichi-pichi delivered before and they said that the charge would be P100.

Amber Golden Plate (Makati City):  884-8888 / 884-2222 / 845-0964 / 843-8722 / 886-1313

Amber Golden Spoon (Muntinlupa City):  862-0000 / 862-0017 / 862-022 / 862-8008 / 862-1924

Amber Golden Pot (Mandaluyong City):  533-1111

Amber Golden Bowl (Quezon City):  372-2222

Amber Golden Cup (Paranaque City):  829-9999


Empanada Mas – A Must Empanada Experience!

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We received another GC from our friends at Quick Delivery.  We decided to go snack time and I think we absolutely had fun with the yummy choice of getting Empanada Mas empanadas!


About the Quick Delivery Experience
I ordered around 2PM (or rather texted them my order) and after a few minutes, they called me back to confirm the order.  Yes, texting them is the way to go if you don’t have a landline and you don’t want to spend your own phone credits by calling them on your cellphone.  Going back to the call, I said that I was going to pay via Gift Certificate, I’m not sure if the person who handled my call was a new guy, but he had to confirm from his supervisor (I’m not sure what he needed to confirm).  Anyway, he got my GC code and all was well (estimated delivery time is 60-90minutes).

Around 3PM, QD called me again saying one of my orders (Ham & Cheese Jalapeno Empanada) was not available, so I just replaced that with another order.  Then, around 3:20 (it’s been more than 60 minutes since my order), QD called me up again to say the Fritas was not available, so I replaced it yet again with another order.  Around 20 minutes later (order was coming from BF Homes and we’re at Moonwalk Paranaque), thank goodness the restaurant was near our place or else it would probably take another hour if it came from a different city.

All in all, it was a little bit frustrating by the time I got the 3nd call about the 2nd order that’s not available (you’re still able to follow the story so far? ^_^).  In my past experience, I would know during my first call (or at least on the 2nd call) which items are not available and which ones are.  This time, they were a bit less organized than the other experiences.  And by far, this is the longest time we’ve had to wait for our order, compared to our first few QD experiences even though the restaurants those times were located even farther than Empanada Mas.  Well, in anycase, better late than never?  At least the empanadas were warm when we received them.

About Empanada Mas

I love how they kept their menu simple and focused on their specialty, empanadas.  They had all the right combinations and no misses.  Their prices are also very affordable and their options make sure that there’s something for everybody.

What We Ordered

Everything fit in 2 boxes.  At first I thought it would have been better if they gave us a code which ones which.  We had to cut into the big ones to find out which one is pork, chicken, etc.  Until this day (although there were color coded dots on each empanada) we’re not sure which one was chicken and which one was pork (yes, we all tried to unravel the mystery to no avail).  With the Empanaditas, it was easy to figure out, but we made it into such a game and it was really fun.  It was like, the old fish bowl lucky draw thing.  Close your eyes, get one, and bite!  The surprise is finding out the flavor after you bite!  And again, there’s really no danger in doing that because every one of them was delicious, no matter the flavor.  But for those who would like to know, we’re very sure that the green dot for the small ones means cream cheese.  The green dot for the empanada, means spinach.  Here are the photos, enjoy!

The Empanadas The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL (available in boxes of 6 or 12 and you can put assorted flavors in a box)


Chicken P27.00 (The original, generations-old recipe. Lightly seasoned strips of chicken breast, potatoes, green peas and raisins.)
Pork P27.00 (The original, generations-old recipe. Lightly seasoned ground pork, potatoes and raisins.)
Chorizo P30.00

Upto this day, as I said, we’re not sure which one is pork and which one is chicken (maybe you can help us out with this).  But we have a fairly good idea which ones are the chorizo filled empanada (I hope we’re right).  The only thing we had going with chorizo is that it should be a little bit spicier than the other 2.  It didn’t really matter because we weren’t allergic to anything and also, all of them were soooooooo yummy!  So I’ll just present the photos for those 3 together.

Spinach with Cream Cheese P30.00 (Fresh spinach leaves flavored with a seasoned cream cheese dressing.)

Ah, yes, unmistakably green and flavorful.  Remember that I wasn’t a big spinach fan until the Va Bene experience, so now I’ve just loved spinach and everything “spinachy”.  This really blew me and my mom away!  Instant favorite for us veggie lovers and I really didn’t expect spinach to be used as empanada filling.  Combining the green goodness with cream cheese was genius!

The Empanaditas The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL (Available in boxes of 6 or 12 and can be assorted falvors)

Cheddar Cheese ( Box of 30 pieces  P190.00,  Box of 60 pieces P380.00,  Dozen  P76.00,  Half Dozen  P38.00, Per Piece  P7.00)

Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Box of 30 pcs.  P190.00,  Box of 60 pcs. P380.00,  Dozen  P76.00,  Half Dozen  P38.00, Per Piece  P7.00)

Cream Cheese & Chives (Box of 30 pcs.  P200.00,  Box of 60 pcs. P400.00,  Dozen  P80.00,  Half Dozen  P40.00, Per piece  P8.00) A creamy blend of cream cheese, garlic and chives.

Peanut Butter Fudge (Box of 30 pcs.  P200.00,  Box of 60 pcs. P400.00,  Dozen  P80.00,  Half Dozen  P40.00, Per Piece  P8.00) This classic combination of creamy peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate will remind you of a favorite childhood candy.

Here are the photos!  Enjoy! (because we certainly did!)

Cheddar Cheese

Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Peanut Butter Fudge

I wasn't able to take a photo of Cream Cheese but that was what my brother was looking for (and has found) in this photo. It has a green dot and it was his favorite out of the bunch.

Overall

I would definitely order from Empanada Mas again! And again! And again!  I wish next time the Jalapeno is available because I would really want to try that.  Their empanada bread was sweet, yet not overwhelming the flavors inside, it wasn’t too thick and too thin, it was perfect.  The filling inside is really worth every peso.  Again, I would definitely order Empanada Mas especially the empenaditas and bring them to one of our family adventures.  I’d put them in a container and have everyone just draw which one they want to eat without choosing, so that every bite is a surprise!  Oh what fun!

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Store Branches:

Makati Supermart, Alabang Town Center — in front of Cashier #4(Mon-Sun 9am-9pm)
Food Park, The Enterprise Center, Ayala Ave. Makati City(Mon-Fri 7:30am-7:30pm)
Ground Floor, The Pergola Mall (Robinson’s Supermarket), Aguirre Ave. BF Homes, Sucat Parañaque(Mon-Sun 10am-10pm)
Fiesta Market (Near Razon’s & Fruitas), Market Market Mall, The Fort, Taguig City(Mon-Sun 10am-10pm)

DELIVERY:

Quick Delivery:  http://www.quickdelivery.ph/

Delivery Hotline: 2121212

Order Online: http://www.quickdelivery.ph

Delivery Call Back: Text your landline number or text <ORDER> to (0918)2121212 and they will call you back.

Order Time:  Open 24 hours

Delivery Time: 10AM to 10:00PM

* GC provided by QD for blogging purposes but the whole article
is 100% the opinion of the writer and was not influenced by the company.

Hanako Express – Great Japanese Neighborhood Restaurant!

There’s no better way to start 2011 food blogging than writing about a restaurant we really enjoyed eating at and it’s just probably less than half a kilometer away both from where we live and from where I work!  My officemates took me to Hanako Express, located in Moonwalk Parañaque, during my 2nd day at work in the new office.  The experience was so good that I knew I had to be back with Mario soon to blog it, and I did, right at that weekend!

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

About the Shop

It had a “neighborhood-cozy” restaurant feel to it and that’s always a plus factor.  Well, one of the reasons it felt so comfortable and pleasant in the shop was probably because it’s right smack in the epicenter of a residential area so we’re practically in a very familiar environment, and right across the street was a church!

Hanako Express_GameBoots

Here's how the outside looks from the inside. I forgot to take a snap the other way around but I'll update this article once we go back there again (which will be soon, I bet).

We were comfortable in our cushioned seats and cushioned back rests, in a clean restaurant, with clean floors and nice white walls that made the small space look bigger than what it actually really is.  One thing missing is music.  There wasn’t anything playing, so we were just listening to the sound of the vehicles passing by the street, or the sound of us (me and Mario) talking to each other.  Not that we don’t love to hear ourselves talk, but a background music would have made been better.

Hanako Express_GameBoots

Mario settled in pretty quickly with that slightly upturned corner of the lips indicating a really subtle smile.. ^_^ (what the...?!) Anyway, he's looking at something on the other side of the room... What could it be? But before that, spot the Hanako Express signage in the background?

Hanako Express_GameBoos

This was what he was looking at, and also what influenced him to order Chahan rice. I like the lights.

Hanako Express_Wandering Boots

Here's a shot from the center to the kitchen area. It's really just your basic restaurant and I think the brand "Hanako Express" is quite new in the industry so I doubt if there are any other branches yet.

About their Menu

Their menu was very thoughtfully put together.  It had a little bit of everything and something for everyone without making the choices too overwhelmingly plenty.  It was also pretty impressive with all the photos of the food so you’re not left guessing what you’re getting, although Mario preferred if the ingredients were also on the menu.  That’s not really a big deal since everything we asked the crew (about the items on the menu), they were able to answer (of course).

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

Here's the front of the menu. You have to admit, photos really play a big part in influencing a buyer, in this case, 2 hungry customers!

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

And here's the backside of the menu.

What We Ordered (with mini-boot rating / 5 is the highest):

Chahan Rice (39php) The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

It was a more affordable version of Yang Chow fried rice and the price was just right.

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

Plain Rice (15php)  The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

It was normal rice (well, what is normal rice anyway..?).  It wasn’t Japanese rice which was what would have been perfect for a Japanese restaurant.  Sorry no picture for this…  I mean, do I really have to post a photo?  Anyway, we ordered it as extra.

Seafood Teppanyaki (139php) 

This was the dish that took the gold medal for us.  It was just a tiny bit saltier than what we would have preferred but that’s so minor and we still give it a perfect boot rating.  It has fish, squid, shrimps, vegetables, and a yummy sauce!  We’ll definitely order this one again!

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

Top view! There's squid! Veggies! Shrimps! and fish (which you can't see from the photo)!

Chicken Teriyaki (89php) The Wandering Boots Rating 5 SMALL

I guess it’s hard to go wrong with a teriyaki dish but I love the fact that the serving was generous.  I had more rice than I can finish alone (good thing Mario was there ^_^) and lots of Chicken Teriyaki toppings to share!

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

Karaage (85php) The Wandering Boots Rating 3 SMALL

I ordered this because I loved Tokyo Tokyo’s Chicken Karaage and I wanted to compare the 2.  The Hanako Express version was a little bland for me.  It wasn’t as tasteful as what I imagined or thought it would be looking at the photo and the actual dish.  It was served with a sauce but I forgot to ask what it was.

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots


Miso (30php)  The Wandering Boots Rating 4 SMALL

Another normal dish so normal rating.  ^_^

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

***  The boot rating system is something new that I’m going to start this year.  I will rate each dish from 1-5 boots where 5 is the highest so that you’d know right away which ones I recommend.

Overall

We loved the place for 3 major things:  the proximity to where we live and they offer delivery!; the reasonable prices; and for offering some of the tastiest dishes in their category of restaurants!  We’ll definitely be back, again… and again… and again!

Hanako Express_The Wandering Boots

He posed for this thumbs-up photo before we even started eating! I guess it's because the place just gave us a wonderful first impression that we knew we'd be enjoying the food experience!

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Hanako Express

Location: In front of Holy Eucharist Parish Church / Moonwalk Village, Phase 1, Parañaque City

Delivery (Moonwalk, Betterliving and Multinational villages only – for now): 828-0254 / 384-5825

Scramble-licious – School Street-food goes to the Mall

I’ve heard about it from friends, scramble being sold in malls, but have never really seen one for myself until one grocery Sunday when we saw a colorful new foodcart near the parking lot access of SM Sucat.  Scramble-licious, the cart said, and that’s the only thing I needed to see to convince me to fall in the long line.  For those who don’t know, scramble is a Philippine street food popular among kids because it’s largely sold just outside school gates and they’re also very cheap.  It’s shaved or crushed flavored pink ice (not a smoothie) with chocolate syrup and powdered milk!  Doesn’t sound much with the description, but it’s really a treat that’s really addicting and helps fight off the heat on a hot day!

Scramble Philippnies

If you're in the mall, keep your eyes peeled for a pink and fun cart that says Scramble! Clean cart with really eye catching design too!

About the Price and the Food

Price, cheap – Scramble, YUM!

I have the pictures that will say it all…   ^_^

Scramble Philippines

What did I say? Really cheap but good cold snacking nonetheless... ^_^ Indeed, Scramble is back!

Scramble Philippines

You want toppings? You want more toppings? ^_^ You can choose from chocolate sprinkles, candy sprinkles, rice crispies, marshmallows and nips (my personal favorite). Or maybe more chocolate syrup or double dose of milk!

Scramble Philippnes

Toppings cost 3php each. I prefer nips and additional chocolate syrup or nips and more milk. ^_^

Scramble Philippines Street food

Here's my order, medium with nips and additional chocolate syrup.

Scramble Philippines Street food

And here's Mario's order, large with rice crispies and additional chocolate syrup.

Scramble Philippines Street food

And here's Mario after patiently waiting in line to get our first servings of scramble after almost 2 decades of missing it!

Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things – BF Stopover

Mario and I had some business in BF back in… April (late post again, sorry) and we needed a place to stay for an hour or so, while we waited for our VHS-to-DVD conversion to be finished.  By the way, if anyone knows a trusted conversion place less than 300php for DVD please let me know.  Anyway, after driving down Aguirre Street in BF Parañaque, we finally found a place that fits our criteria for the day, which are; indoor air conditioned restaurant, light food, clean, spacious and not too busy.  The winner, Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things!

About the Location

The exact address is 231, Aguirre St. BF Homes Parañaque.  It’s not really easy to spot but I guess it’s not also hard to find.  The whole street is littered with food places or other shops but it’s still very residential so you’ll find yourself skipping a house or two then spotting a restaurant or a business place of some sort, then a couple more houses, then another restaurant.  The store itself is small yet inside it’s really spacious-looking, maybe because of the white walls and the grayish floor which makes the room look bigger.  I estimate around 24-30 people can fit comfortably inside with the tables and chairs set up well apart from each other and 20 more seats outside.  They feature old New York photos, in black and white, which made the place feel a little homey and diner type.

Here's the view from outside. The all-glass front walls also help in making the place look bigger than what it really is. It also makes for a good people-watching place. You can spend lots of time there, which was what we needed, and nib on good snack food. The whole place is just homey and comfortable to stay in. Maybe because we're seeing houses everywhere so it felt like we were from "just around the neighborhood".

Here's the shop looking outside from the inside. ^_^ As you can see, not enough parking space. There's room for 1 car in the proper space but other cars can just park at either sides of the street. I probably wouldn't mind dining outside if I was with a group and we wanted to be noisy or if you just want to watch literally street life as it unfold on Aguirre.

And since it was a small place, I can give you a tour of the whole store in 2 pictures!

Here's half of the shop. Notice the black and white photos? They're photos taken of New York City from different locations. The board on the top left is where the menu is listed, but you'll still be given your own laminated list once you're seated.

Here's our half (close up), with Mario just chillin' out and asking about their menu. ^_^ Still more photos (and in the background, caught a poster of an election candidate - who won btw).

About their Food

As you would expect, they have wings, burgers, hotdogs and fries, typical American snack food.  Very New York, especially the hotdogs and assortment of dips.  Speaking of dips and sauces, for every Buffalo Wings order, you get to choose the sauce where they have a selection of spicy and non-spicy sauces.  They also have Mexican options like Burrito, Nachos and Quesadilla with your choice of sides/dips.

Prices are ok for how tasty the wings are.  A pitcher of iced tea is also a preferred way to order if you plan on going for one of their hottest wing sauce called “Armageddon” (if you dare).

Here's their wing menu. The Triple Sampler, if I remember it correctly, allows you to order 3 different types of sauces because you normally have just 1 option. And the dots on the signature sauces let you know how spicy the sauce is. 1 dot means mildly spicy and 3 dots you probably start to sweat. And the 2 hottest choices are Nuclear and Armageddon. The delivery number, you can take note of it, but I don't know if they deliver outside BF so you can ask if you would like to try some wings without leaving the house.

They also have burgers and we tried the minis. They have few items on the menu which really tempts me to come back and try the rest and I'd be able to make a complete review!

Their place is called Buffalo's Wings N' Things... Well, here are the "Things" on the menu. Pretty usual selection of your Mexican favorites... We didn't order any of them so I'm not sure if the price is good enough for the taste and serving size.

And this was posted on the wall.. Margarita Slushee Pitcher... ^_^ Nice! We were there on a Sunday and we were due to go to mass after so we did not even attempt to order.. well.. we restrained ourselves is what I wanted to say... ^_^

Here’s what we ordered:


We ordered a pitcher of Iced Tea for 95PHP which when poured out to the glasses really seem to be enough for just 3 servings. Well, that's ok still because for 39PHP per glass, ordering 3 glasses individually would be 117PHP. So the pitcher saves you 18PHP.

We got the Buffalo Cheese Burgers in Minis for 179php. They're as mini as you can get them in burgers. Forgive for not having a size reference but I remember finishing one of these in 2 and 1/2 or 3 bites. I guess if you have a big mouth, 2 mouthfulls are enough to say bye bye to one of the minis.

Maybe we can use the tomato slice as the size reference?

I had to choose, the love of spice and everything hot, or my love Mario who doesn't love spice... The compromise is to order the mildest of them all... Rookie wings! If I remember it correctly, this is the half pound serving which, obviously have 4 pcs of wings.. Well, actually, 2 pcs of wings each broken in 2 parts.

And because we had room for more, we ordered Garlic Parmesan wings. We had the same flavored wings at Hooters and wanted to see whose wing tasted better. The verdict? Hooters wins this hands down, but their wing prices are flying high, so for affordability and good enough taste, Buffalo's Wings N' Things can have the overall award.

Overall

We loved the experience especially that the place is just perfect for people watching, although there aren’t a lot of people passing by to watch, still the shop is clean, cool and perfect for tambay.

Yes, HOT WINGS NOW!

Here are the hours and days when you can visit and try their wings.

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