Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Oct 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck gaining a good reputation

Food trucks are not really a new trend in larger cities, but because of food blogs and cooking channels spotlighting them, they are picking up a reputation. 

The old stigma of “roach coaches” is being put to the test by people offering good fresh food, cooked on site and served from a clean, small kitchen, says Tara Love, Blue Rapids, who owns and operates Mother Road’s food truck with her husband, Dale.

“Because the customer comes face to face with the cook and sees where and how the food is being prepared, it offers a unique experience,” she said. “There are indeed those trucks out there that aren’t up to certain standards, but I think the trend has moved into a more positive direction.

“Everyone loves good food, so folks will go where they can get it. Once people get used to seeing a truck and know they can get something good to eat there, I think the word roach coach becomes much more endearing than negative.”
The Loves started thinking about operating a food truck as a way to enhance their future motel services without having to make the large investment required to start a restaurant and to get a better idea of the market. 

They are owners of the former Sands Motel in Blue Rapids and are renovating it. 

“We decided that we need to make a living, not a fortune, so we just dove in,” Tara said.   “Hollywood makes operation of a food truck look so easy, but I will tell you that the hours required to operate a food truck are more than in a restaurant on several levels.” Maintenance and cleaning done in restaurants weekly must be done in a food truck constantly, she said.

Mother’s Road’s food truck is a family affair because one person couldn’t do it alone, she said, so Dale and her son, Ethan, share the duties.

“Coming face to face with our customers and seeing them smile when they get our food is worth every minute to us. We love feeding people,” she said.

Word of mouth has been good for business. The pork tenderloin is popular along with a farmhouse stack sandwich. 
Love said she is always trying to find “something yummy” to put on the menu and   take other things off that aren’t as popular, but so far, everyone seems to like the variety.

The Loves cook everything in the trailer, or Traeger, so there is constantly something on the stove or in the oven. This limits the menu, so the Loves will add some winter food items toward the end of the month.  
”I think one of the hardest things we face right now about being mobile is that folks get accustomed to seeing us parked at the motel and are disappointed if we aren’t there,” Tara said. 

The Loves depend on Facebook to notify people when they have an event or if they are closing to do a catering job, but not everyone uses Facebook, so they are putting together a text group list to notify people. 

Their hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday. 

“Our call-in service is working wonders for a lot of our customers,” Tara said. “It is a challenge to get fresh food out the door as fast as some people need it to be, so when they call in their order, they can keep doing what they’re doing until we do what we do to give them hot and good food when they want it.”

The wait time can be 15 to 20 minutes during busy times.

Love grew up in Hallam, Neb., but her folks built Red Bud Acres, a hunting and fishing cabin community near old Cleburne, back in the early 1960s. The family would go there on weekends, and her dad did game counts for the fish and game department, when Tuttle Creek was under construction. 

They moved to Elko, Nev., when she was 15, because of her dad’s severe arthritis, but later her folks moved back to Red Bud, where they stayed until her mom died. 

Dale and Tara dated in high school in Elko, but they went different directions. 

They reunited after 35 years, fell in love and decided to make their life together in Blue Rapids, where she always knew she would retire.

Dale has two children and she has four. Ethan lives with them and attends Valley Heights High School as a freshman. Using a family recipe, he bakes Strawberry Shortcake from scratch for Mother’s Road’s.
Operating the mobile drive-in is a new experience for both Dale and Tara.  Her background is in business and education, and Dale is retired from the Navy and from the U.S. Defense Department. 

“The motel is supposed to be our retirement project,” she said. “We expect it to be. . .someday.’”

Love shared two recipes that have been handed down from her mother and grandmother. 

“They are gone, but they are and always have been my inspiration,” she said. “The name Mother Road’s came from their personalities,” she said. “They were bold women for their time, and were world travelers.”

Love has visited many countries and loves to sample the food.  Her mom was from a French and German heritage. Tara learned to cook Czech food because her father is Czech. 

“My mom made sure she handed down the family recipes to me —  my greatest treasures,” she said.

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Oct 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

YAO Food Truck Delivers Asian Goods

click to enlarge

  • Jessica Elizarraras
  • Spring for the steamed buns

There are two things to love about the YAO food truck. The first being the truck’s actual mobility as it hops along from lunch gig to lunch gig without so much as a pattern. You’ll just as easily find them downtown at Travis Park or Weston Centre as you would places off Loop 410 or Broadway. They’ll come to you, but they’re also easy enough to find around town. The second thing is the food that oozes of freshness and a chef’s balanced palate.

Created by chef Jose Benitez, who’s the culinarian behind Bite Street Bistro food truck and Red – A Bite Street Bistro Deli, YAO delivers a melee of Asian bites at reasonable prices. A recent visit to Travis Park featured a varied menu of entrees that includes miso-glazed udon noodles with chicken, jalapeño cilantro fried rice with hoisin-glazed hog shanks, braised pork belly steamed buns, pork pot stickers, Szechuan beef, egg rolls and kimchi fries with prices ranging from $6 to $9.25.

My lunch partner and I each ordered two items—maybe we were enticed by all the descriptors, or maybe the menu really is that appealing. I can’t decide. My order of braised pork belly steamed buns offered a twist on the ordinary as slices of pork belly were pan-fried and topped with fresh daikon radish slaw and jalapeños. The pillowy buns, three to an order, were sweet and held their own against the hefty feeling. I’d definitely order these again. The egg rolls, five to an order and rather large for $6, were crisp and savory, maybe the best I’ve had in quite some time.

Then there was the matter of the Szechuan beef that was mildly hot and could have used a hit (or seven) of Sriracha, but was still plenty flavorful. A sucker for anything kimchi, I ordered the kimchi fries hoping to find a mound of the spicy fermented cabbage … but alas I did not. What I did find was a batch of home fries, marinated short ribs, spicy mayo, green onions and loads of jalapeños. Great flavors, but this über decadent dish is likely best when shared and after a few strong cocktails. I’m not saying it’s drunk food, but I wouldn’t push these fries away then either.

We happened to order our meals just as a pair downtown business dudes ordered theirs, so the wait was longer than expected, but not entirely awful. Do yourself a favor and follow this truck to satiate that noodle craving.

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Oct 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

Medford shuts down popular Fred’s Franks food truck

Set up with his food truck in the Hyatt Place Hotel parking lot, Carl Galasso invited employees at Medford City Hall to cross the street and try one of his hot dogs for free.

They turned it down, Galasso said. They looked at it as being bribery or something. Its a shame.

Every Thursday from early June through October, Galasso parked his Freds Franks food truck at the Medford Farmers Market, serving up the quarter-pound all-beef hot dogs that won him a following in Wakefield.

Galasso said he was a hit in Medford, drawing regulars from Wakefield and luring new customers with signatures like the shnurble a hot dog and chourico served on a bed of homemade sweet cabbage and mayonnaise, topped with homemade sirachababa sauce.

I mean, I can buy hot dogs in the supermarket and go home and cook them, but its not the same as his, said Bob Mondello, a Medford resident who discovered Freds Franks during the market.

When the market ended earlier this month, Galasso hoped to keep his business in Medford, his hometown, after running into problems in Wakefield.

Hyatt Place Manager Andrew Wardwell, a fan of Freds Franks, invited Galasso to set up in the hotels parking lot.

But Galasso was soon shut down by city officials, who said he would need to apply for the same common victuallers license required by restaurants, as the city does not have a separate license for food truck vendors.

The day he was shut down, Galasso said Wardwell wrote him a letter of intent that diagramed the parking spaces where Galasso would set up his truck.

Galasso also met with fire officials and learned he needed to upgrade his fire extinguisher, which he did.

But Galasso eventually gave up trying to sell the city on his merits. Other than the special permit that allows Galasso to set up his truck during the farmers market, the city does not distinguish mobile food vendors from brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Galasso hauled his truck back to Wakefield, deciding he would wait until spring to seek approval from the Medford City Council for a common victuallers license, a process he knows could take a while.

I just thought I could get in there the next four to six weeks and then file [for a license] in December for the next year, Galasso said. But I didnt even know what I needed to do.

Im just an average citizen trying to live the American dream, he added. And so much resistance. Im from Medford. If they ever tried one of the hot dogs

SEPARATE LICENSE

As early as 2011, the Medford Farmers Market Board of Directors requested permission from the city to allow mobile food vendors at the market.

Through either the Medford City Council or the citys Health Department, the market has received special permits allowing such trucks to set up temporarily.

But unlike cities such as Boston and Somerville, Medford has not established a separate license for mobile vendors.

City Clerk Ed Finn said mobile food vendors in Medford fall under the states hawker and peddler license, which requires local approval for food sales.

Mobile food vendors are permitted in the city, but cannot set up in any one location for an extended period of time the same issue Galasso ran into in Wakefield, which now requires vendors to move locations every two hours.

In March 2012, the council discussed the idea of creating a new license pertaining to mobile food vendors. But in the end, it decided not to act, with members voicing concerns that food trucks would take away business from nearby brick-and-mortar restaurants.

I wouldnt make any exceptions for any mobile truck because youd be making a special privilege for that type of business, said City Councilor Robert Penta said in a recent interview.

City Council Vice President Rick Caraviello said that while he thinks Galasso will keep his business in Wakefield, the city could revisit the idea of creating a separate license.

Theres no reason why they shouldnt make it a little easier, Caraviello said. I think it warrants a look at again if theres interest in it.

City Councilor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said she agrees, as the councils previous discussion took place more than two years ago.

I would say I want to hear the discussion, she said. I want to hear the pros and cons again.

Penta, however, said the timing is not right.

[Business owners] are just trying to survive right now the people who are following the rules in the city, he said. I think there are probably more important issues to look at in the city.

LEAVING HOME

As Galassos customers contest, Freds Franks is no regular hot-dog cart operation and hes no ordinary vendor.

In addition to hot dogs, Galasso sells kielbasa, linguica, andouille, bratwurst and burgers. The meats are cooked on a Kamado-style grill that burns at 500 to 600 degrees and is opened with a rope pulley system.

Once finished, the sausages are delivered by Galasso, who might be happier than anyone with a pair of tongs in his hand.

Galasso once tracked down a man who was upset that Galassos truck was taking up a row of parking spaces to give the man a free hot dog.

The man said it was the best hot dog hed ever had.

A hot dog can change a persons life if its delivered the right away, Galasso said. You capture the moment where a little boy, like 10 years old, says, I have no money on me, and my parents dont give me anything. And I said, You know what brother? Because I like you, Im going to give you a hot dog.

On days when he had leftover buns, Galasso offered them to the Hyatts cleaning service staff.

When the opportunity came up for him to set up in Medford, I offered him the opportunity to set up in our parking lot, Wardwell said. I think it would be great.

After the sausages quickly won him over, Mondello returned to Freds Franks every Thursday throughout the summer. Mondello said hes pulling for Galasso to be able to set up in Medford.

Hes got a great personality. Hes nice to people, Mondello said. He just wants to produce a good product. Hes very conscientious about it. Hes never late. All the good things.

Galasso was asked to set up his truck at the citys Harvest Your Energy Festival last weekend, and he did. He wishes he could continue selling in Medford during the week.

But after meeting with city officials from several departments and asking the city to make an exception to no avail Galasso chose to wait until next year to see if he can find a more permanent home in his hometown.

Its a shame because I was invited to Medford and everything was fine, Galasso said. The people who suffer are the customers. It wouldve given the town a nice homey feel.

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Oct 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

San Francisco’s ‘Bar Car’ serves booze food-truck style



DSC 0464

Bar Car operates a full liquor bar, as well as wine and a self-serve beer tap pouring local brews like 21st Amendment, Lagunitas IPA, Speakeasy Prohibition Ale, Magnolia Kalifornia Kolsch and specialty cocktails.









Annie Sciacca
Reporter- San Francisco Business Times

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There’s a food truck serving bugs, a food truck for dogs, and now, there’s one serving booze.

Bar Car, a 1965 Airstream trailer-turned-mobile bar is making its debut in the Bay Area. While it won’t be parked on the street as some of the area’s many food trucks are, the Bar Car’s catering liquor license will allow it to pour at any sort of private event such as weddings, corporate events and birthday parties.

The booze-centric truck is the brainchild of restaurant and bar entrepreneur Greg Medow, who helped launch and support several Area restaurant and bar ventures including Indigo Restaurant and Crimson Lounge, Cyrus, Foreign Cinema, Mission Bowling Club, Pizzeria Delfina and Flanahan’s.

About three years ago, noticing the popularity of the Bay Area’s food truck trend, Medow wanted to try something a little different. The mobile bar idea struck, but he wanted a different aesthetic than the typical food truck.

“Standard food trucks are boxy and big, often with different color schemes, but that didn’t fly with me,” Medow said. “I didn’t think it would be good to have a mobile bar that looked like a food truck, and then I stumbled across a 1965 Airstream shell in upstate New York.”

After a three-year renovation, the truck is not just up to code, but stylish, with a pop-out mahogany bar, Medow said. It looks vintage, but with a high-polish finish and futuristic feel, making it appealing and adaptable to different settings for events.

Bar Car operates a full liquor bar, as well as wine and a self-serve beer tap pouring local brews like 21st Amendment, Lagunitas IPA, Speakeasy Prohibition Ale, Magnolia Kalifornia Kolsch and specialty cocktails.

Annie covers hospitality food.



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Oct 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

Ramble with the Lady: Food truck & sounds in the dark

Mulling things on my morning ramble with Lady, our family’s mutt pup.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And hello, Tyler Florence, and once again Charles Demuth.

Dark enough, even at 6:30 a.m., that my ears were the most important sensory agent.

As we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, a sandpiper called and flew around the west side of the north old clay pit.

It was too dark to see it.

But their call is distinctive.

In the distance, Canada geese honked and raised a racket on the lake to the west.

I swear a red-winged blackbird trilled on the north end of the north pit as we neared the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits.

A muskrat, at least I am pretty sure it was a muskrat, splashed off from the north bank of the south pit.

A train tooted far to the south at one of the rural crossings. And headed our way as we neared leaving the wildness of the town pond and coming back to town.

A vivid light from the pole light by the grain elevator cut through the room between cars on the side rail. 

Hello, Charles Demuth.

There was a string of the cars waiting for the corn and beans pouring in from a steady stream of trucks all week.

Downtown, the food truck was back and loading up at the downtown restaurant, which has been closed for more than a year I think.

Hello, Tyler Florence.

The owner had moved to another town to cook his food he loaded in his food truck several years ago and the new owners of the restaurant did not last long.

The owner and his daughter were loading up the truck, which services primarily migrant field workers in nearby nurseries and truck farms. I got to talking with him and he is opening up the restaurant as a restaurant on Fridays and Saturdays next month.

He said it will have Mexican food, fried chicken, pizza and hamburgers, that sort of thing.

That made my morning.

I had expected to hear some shooting as dawn neared with waterfowl seasons opened today, but none were heard.

Light before dawn had only slit into the night darkness a bit by the time we reached home.

But the second boy’s stacks of newspapers were already here to be delivered. I will have the joy of rousting him early.

 

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Oct 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Pau Hana Market is Like a Micro Food Truck Rally in Waikīkī

You can get a cold ramen salad, churros and a massive chicken cutlet plate in one location.






 

The thing about food trucks is that we don’t always know where to find them. And that’s both the thrill of the roaming restaurant and the frustration for its fans. So some food-truck operators have decided that the best solution is to park a truck in the same spot all the time, or even better: Park a bunch of trucks in the same spot all the time and make it a destination. Done. 

The Pau Hana Market on Beach Walk in Waikīkī is like a micro Eat the Street-style food truck rally that’s there all day, every day. A circle of eight trucks (and one Elvis Presley face-in-the-hole photo board, naturally) surround a few canopied picnic tables, where diners can sit for a bit and eat their choice of food, from ramen to roasted chicken to churros.

 

 

The best reason to seek out the food truck hui is for the Kamitoku Ramen truck, which makes its broth from beef bones instead of using the pork-based soup that we’re used to. 

The beef broth is lighter than its porky cousin, but is still full of rich, deep flavor. At Kamitoku, they top their bowls with slices of charred beef brisket, which gives it a beautiful smoky flavor. With the silky soft-boiled egg, it’s a pretty perfect bite. The Beefy Cold is a cold ramen salad that’s like the best somen salad you’ve ever had.

The Lani’s Loco Moco truck, an offshoot of Uncle Bo’s in Kaimukī, makes a good—and massive—chicken cutlet plate. The chicken itself is delicious, so we can overlook the violation of the first rule of loco-moco making: Don’t use powdered brown gravy. Rule No. 2 (for any meal made in Hawai‘i, not just mocos) is good rice. There’s no excuse for overcooked, mushy rice, which is part of the reason why we suggest skipping the Five Star Shrimp truck. Save your shrimp appetite for the North Shore, where the garlic butter shrimp is guaranteed to be better at any truck you choose than at this one in Waikīkī.

We opted to take most of our Pau Hana Market meals to go, so we could fill up on churros from the Chuloa truck, where the churros are fried to order. We were hoping for tender, crisp fritters, but were let down when they arrived undercooked and tough, but we’ll try again and hope for better results because we love a good churro (that isn’t from Costco). 

The times we visited the truck stop, it was hit or miss with which trucks were open and which ones were inexplicably closed, but that’s sort of the nature of the mobile eatery. We’re just stoked to know we can always get cold ramen salad.

Pau Hana Market, 234 Beach Walk in Waikīkī (next to Henry’s Place), plate lunches and ramen from $6.75 to $14.95, pauhanwaikiki.com, 286-8900.

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Oct 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Romson’s offers restaurant-quality cuisine at a food truck price

Name of Business: Romson’s Kebab

Location: 35 W. Canal Drive

Hours: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

Type of Business: Food truck

Contact: 620-6672

History of Business: For almost a year the Romson’s Kebab food truck has been parked near the intersection of Golden State Boulevard and Canal Drive offering locals a unique twist on cook to order cuisine.

Unlike most food trucks which afford customers a quick bite to eat in a convenient environment, Romson’s food takes a little longer to cook, but owner Yolih Yonan ensures it’s worth the wait. 

“It’s fresh food and ingredients and that takes time to cook,” said Yonan. “Chicken has to cook properly and we only make it once it’s ordered.”

Offering a variety of Mediterranean plates including chicken thigh, chicken breast, pork, and lula kebabs which is a mixture of tri tip and lamb, each plate comes with grilled tomatoes, fresh chopped onions, and a Serrano pepper. Romson’s also offers gyros meat on hot pita bread with Mediterranean sauce and customers can order sides as well such as tomato skewers and pita bread.

“The plates cost half as much as they are at restaurants,” said Yonan.

Romson’s Kebab can sometimes be found on the go as well, having recently posted up at Boomers in Modesto for a high school graduation as well as a catering event in Denair. A large amount of customers also often call ahead to place orders for pick up.

While the food truck has been a success in the past year Yonan hopes to eventually establish a restaurant which she operated back home in Iran before coming to the states.

“It’s been good so far but we’d like to hopefully have a restaurant eventually,” said Yonan.

Business Specialty: House special kebab plate with customer’s choice of three types of kebab.

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Oct 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Test Coming to Evansville

Food trucks are now in Owensboro, and starting next week, they’ll be in downtown Evansville temporarily. It’s part of a two-month trial program that could lead to the city allowing these diners on wheels in some parts of Evansville.

“People love to eat outside,” says Joshua Armstrong, the Downtown Alliance Director for the SW Indiana Chamber.

Everyday we get hungry and, sometimes, we’re hungry for change.

“There’s quite a few options, but after you work here for a few months, it starts to, kind of, be the same places over and over,” says Michael Schade of Evansville. City officials want to introduce another option to downtown’s dining menu: food trucks, starting a test block on 3rd Street four hours a day for two months.

“I think it gives some diversity,” says Rebecca Russell, who lives in Dana Point, California. “It allows people to try out different foods that they wouldn’t necessarily try out that’s available. I think for the people that own the food truck, they have menus they can tweak, depending on the clientele.” Armstrong says they started the program to get city code changed to allow food trucks. Currently, city law prohibits them from parking on public streets.

“When you apply for your permit through the county, you’re given a list of regulations and one of them is you have to park on private property with permission of the property owner or the tenant,” he explains. “So, within that, that automatically excludes all city streets.”

Armstrong adds the site will also bring in contractors working on downtown projects in the future, and get Evansville hungry for more.

“It would be kind of a cool experience just to get to walk up and, you know, maybe get to meet someone new, get some good food,” Schade adds.

City officials say if the program works, an ordinance allowing food trucks to operate on city streets could be introduced after the test program ends.

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Oct 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

NYC Food Truck Lunch: Shrimp Curry From TMT Caribbean Delights

Perry, the founder of New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City street food.

It’s been a while since we’ve been to the Caribbean, but our recent lunch at the TMT Caribbean Delights food truck was like taking a short trip back there for lunch (minus the sand and surf, unfortunately).

The menu at TMT has a few stews, a few curries, and of course, jerk chicken. We ordered the shrimp curry for $10.

Side dishes at TMT can vary from day-to-day, and we had a choice of fresh roti bread or steamed veggies. We wanted the roti, but the person right in front of us got the last one. But that didn’t stop us from having a very enjoyable lunch.

Coming back from the truck, the aroma of curry permeated the subway car for the two stops we had to take back to the office. If anyone in our car was hungry, it must have been torture. Sorry.

One issue with getting shrimp is that servings can be skimpy. Not here. Not only were there 9 decent-sized shrimp, but they took the time to de-vein the shrimp. That’s a time-consuming task that not all vendors have been known to do.

The shrimp were still plump and juicy sitting in the curry sauce. The taste of the curry sauce was not as strong as the smell, but it was undoubtedly a curry sauce, with a number of other herbs and spices that added to the overall taste.

Even though we wanted roti, the steamed veggies were good. There were baby corn, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, string beans, red peppers and onions in our serving. The rice was good too.

You can find TMT Caribbean Delights on Twitter here (although the account does not seem to be updated regularly), and on Facebook here. We know they park at both 47th St between Park Lex and 46th St just east of 6th Ave, among other places. We suggest keeping your eyes peeled for TMT Caribbean Delights if you like Caribbean food.

Next time we want to try TMT’s jerk chicken. It’s been a while since we’ve had jerk chicken, and the Jamaican Dutchy is no longer in business.

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Oct 24, 2014
Kim Rivers

Student wins food truck design contest for Duval Schools

Douglas Anderson sophomore Jillian Cruickshank is ready to see her design hit the streets and the schools.

She won a district-wide contest to design the artwork for the new food trucks for the district, courtesy of Chartwells-Thompson School Dining Services.


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“Eating junk food, it doesn’t help you, so eating fruits and vegetables are better than eating chips or cookies or whatever they used to sell at lunches,” said Jill.

Cruickshank came up with the design and name, “Brainfood.”  She won $500 toward future artistic endeavors.

Assistant superintendent Paul Soares says it’s all to give students healthier options at school.

“In some schools there are kids that are hungry, and the meals they receive at the schools are really important for them,” said Soares.

The “Brainfood” food truck will stop at different high schools each day during lunch on a rotating schedule.


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