EMILIANO & JAEHEE
emiliano@lacasapark.com  917 406 2854
jaehee@lacasapark.com  917 373 1548
Take the C train to Clinton Washington | Map

IMG_2757Chow down with Hun, Yoon, Gael and Emi. Cheap and Cheerful Night eating at Gwang Jang Market!

I am sure you all like Korean BBQ. And Me too! But there is so much more beyond BBQ in Korean food and the most fun part is that you can enjoy all sort of eateries in different price, ambiance and based on seasonal specialties. It’s already mouth watering brain storming where to go for tonight or for tomorrow’s lunch. At the night market? All vegetarian Ssam place? North Korean cold noodle soup, Nang Myun? or Freshest Sashimi at the fish market! The possibilities are truly endless and you will need months and months to taste all these wonderfully cultural food that Korea can offer.

My dear cousin Yoon and her husband Hun are maybe the 2 best eatery guide you can ask for ! We have been eating the most delicious food around Seoul and having the best time catching up!  Soju became our new favorite drink and now that Emi had tasted real deal of Korean food in Seoul, I better Up my Korean cooking skill back in New York…!

Now, are you ready for some Korean food?  Then let’s start!!!

IMG_2752First, we are checking the water out at the market.  There are so many banquets of all market and street food vendors.  Market food usually means Noodles, Korean blood sausage, Jun ( pan fried anything that’s dipped in the egg wash), Ttuck boki ( rice cake cooked in chili paste), Oden soup ( fish cake soup), Sashimi and much more!  This runs good half mile long on a long isle between the shops.

IMG_2793Thanks for the big smile!  These little fingerling Korean maki ( Gim Bap) are so good that it has a nick name ” Drug Maki”. So addictive. Carrots, crunch sweet and sour Pickled Radish root, Spinach and touch of wasabi paste. Delicious!

IMG_2744It’s a crab season in Korea and Crabs are everywhere!  These are Soy Crab. Soaked in a tub of soy sauce. These are cleaned and raw.

IMG_2746Chili paste version. Spicy and sweet.

IMG_2764Down and low in local way. Eating is one thing but most of all, the talking and being together in such atmosphere is the key here. Keeping the company over just good simple food.

IMG_2705Sample station.

IMG_2704So much memories with my Ttuck boki. It’s Korean way of comfort food.

IMG_2700Perfection of Dumplings!

IMG_2748Serious set of All kinds.

IMG_2755Post Soju and lots of food face.  We hit already 2 banquets!

IMG_2761Sashimi Section!

IMG_2767Korean Style Sashimi. Cooked and uncooked are mixed. Cooked Octopus, Shell fish and raw salmon and flounder.

IMG_2787Next we are at the BEST Mung bean pancake house.

IMG_2790Yummmm! Yoon and Hun say this is IT!

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IMG_2783Cheap and Deep!  Crispy around the edges with hearty and satisfying fillings. Delicious! Gael just loves loves loves!

IMG_2784Pickled sweet Onions in Soy and Kimch on the side!

IMG_2983It’s very first time my dad and Gael are meeting in person. We had the best 3 days doing little things as a family visiting local markets, garden and a Korean folk flea market.  It makes me feel so happy to see my dad and Gael walking hand in hand. We are going for dinner!!

IMG_2999One area in the west side of Seoul is called ” Mapo” and here we are with dad hitting the most typical Mapo style BBQ place!  I really liked overall vibe in this particular area. There were many little places in sort of 70′s style in such Korean way.

IMG_3008Coals are in!

IMG_3006First, a waitress comes and spread some slightly cooked kimchi on the rim of grill.  I am curious as it is my first time to see this.

IMG_3014Ah ha! the Egg wash goes over the Kimchi! It makes steamed egg from the heat!  Grill’s busy with chopsticks!

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IMG_3016Eggs are all gone and Dad takes charge in Grilling!  We ordered 2 kinds of meat. Pork with simple sea salt and Sirloin slices marinated in typical Gal bi dressing ( soy based). They melt in your mouth. Tender and Delicious!

IMG_3009Dad pouring Soju for Emi. You receive it with 2 hands especially when you are younger than the person pouring. It’s our way to pay Respect. A beautiful tradition.

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IMG_3013Serious grilling here.

IMG_3017Gael learned how to sharpen Scissors from dad. The first tip from grandpa!

IMG_3020The second tip from Granpa. Now you pour with 2 hands to dad. Another beautiful tradition. I love this moment.

IMG_30033 generations together. Love you dad!

IMG_3141Now we are back with Yoon and Hun in Norayngjin Fish market.  We are going to buy our own ingredients and have one of restaurants on the second floor at the market cook for us! It’s a typical way to have your fish and seafood at the market. Isn’t it a brilliant idea?!!!

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IMG_3108The market.

IMG_3118Calling it all!  Avalon, Conch, Cockle, Clam and …and …and!

IMG_3122King Crabs!

IMG_3125Bass. They are big and totally fresh. I mean they are in the water swimming up to the point you purchase it!

IMG_3130Popular wild caught flounder! Great for Sashimi!

IMG_3139You pick one and pay for it . They Sashimi for you right there on a plate to go.

IMG_3110They look like from Mars.

IMG_3146This is Hun and Yoon’s only spot to go to have their freshest seafood purchased cooked. It’s a small and clean place with lovely owner lady. She’s holding our Korean ” Flower” crabs, mixed Shell fish and a whole Bass! You pay the restaurant to prepare the seafood you bought however you wish. Steam, soup, fry, Sashimi… It’s a still excellent deal as the fish itself is way cheaper here at the market than any shops in the city. And also you are eating them at the best quality. I mean how fresher can it be?

IMG_3148Sashimi Bass.

IMG_3153Steamed Flower Crab. They are plump, juicy and Sweet! The best!!  And of course Soju to accompany.

IMG_3152Mixed steamed Shell Fish.

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IMG_3156The owner will make this sort of fried rice with crab meat and crab juice and sesame oil. Yum!!

IMG_3199After dinner cigarettes. Hun and Emi. After dinner, we are on the 2nd round of fun at Korean karaoke and late night snack at Hong Dae!!

IMG_3191Digesting.

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IMG_4959Happy!

IMG_4427For another fun dinner, here me and Yoon patiently waiting for our table at “ Bong San Jip”  It’s my second time with Yoon and all of us!

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IMG_2637Yay! It’s about to Start!

IMG_2641Thinly sliced beef brisket is maybe one of my favorite thing now! This old school ” Bong San Jip” restaurant only serves 1 menu. Not many sides like other places. Just Beef brisket to grill. But the secret is in this Killer Soy dipping sauce with lots of fresh chopped scallions and sweet green chili peppers. And one pot miso soup again with beef brisket in! You just to have to be here!

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IMG_2648The miso is here!

IMG_2647Cabbage, Tofu, brisket, chili and miso.

Honestly I must say “Fooding till Drop” may the main highlight of this trip. Family get together is absolutely the most precious thing but experiencing all these amazing food in Korea has been One cultural shock even to myself as a Korean.

Like Emi Says, ” Korean Kicks Butt!”

LOvE FoOD, LOvE EaT, LOvE SeOuL!!!

IMG_2209Typical Summer Dinner on the first night in Korea, Gael and Halmoney (: Grandma)

Actually the flight to Seoul from NY wasn’t too bad. 14 hours on Asiana Economy was much better than what we all expected. Foot rests and private monitors with quite impressive amount and selection of films and hearty meals ( We are talking about Bibimbop served in ceramic bowl and Hot Soup here!).

It’s humid and rainy in Korea right now and Paju where my Mom lives isn’t an exception but sitting out in the garden listening to water running from the mountain and all those birds and insects that cries out their own Summer nights of  Korea brings me right back to where I come from.

I am Home.

IMG_2211Happy with a big dinner table in front. Humble and yummy. Waiting for dad. Pyung Sang is a typical low sitting wooden deck in Korea that is much adorned in Hot Summer time in effort to bring typical floor sitting culture to fresh and breezy outdoor.  You take shoes off and sit on the Pyung Sang for anything you wish. Taking nap to eat meals, drink teas, all those water melons you can chow down, cleaning veggies, neighbor’s visit and late night stories…. Ah Nostalgia!

IMG_2227A morning at Mother’s house is full of excitement! Ducks are chatting up and You will need to do some Breakfast Harvest in Mom’s amazing veggie garden!

IMG_2230For our Salad. Mom and Gael walked to the small river by the house for picking these delicate and sweet edible flowers.

IMG_2233Front garden Back garden. We are in the back of the house now.  Emi picking tomatoes!

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IMG_2247Chemical free All Organic Breakfast from Mom’s.  So beautiful!

IMG_2248Gael and Mom picking cucumbers.

IMG_2250Mom’s Awesome Fiery Chilis!!

IMG_2251Mom bragged about her sweet and juicy water melons. Her 5th growing now.

IMG_2256100 % Mom grown and supplied. It’s impressive and delicious!

IMG_2260After breakfast walking, We meet up neighbor’s 7 pups!  Gael’s dying!

IMG_2272We are starting our first day nice and slowly by visiting ” Bogwangsa” , a 1000 years old beautiful temple in mom’s area.

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IMG_2275Kim-Chi!

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IMG_2288Monk’s Stay.

IMG_2290The Main Temple. I absolutely love perfectly washed out exteriors. So beautiful.

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IMG_2345It’s really lush here.

IMG_2340Water from the mountain.

IMG_2348Jang-Dock. Terracotta pots contain Temple made Soy sauce, Miso paste and all.  Always love the scene.

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Me at Home with Emi and Gael. Meeting Families and Nourishing My Heart and Soul by eating Amazing Food, My culture and again realizing Undeniable my Root in this land.

I am Happy and I am in Love.

IMG_9789Sequoia National Park, Gael standing tall under a fallen Sequoia tree root.

Day 7. Here we are at Sequoia National Park. “Sequoia” means ” Big” in Native American language.  When I was growing up in Seoul, South Korea, I would hear some people traveled to America came back and bragging about how “Big” everything is in America. The road, people, land, river…  And Now, here I am standing in front of one of fallen Sequoias, I myself experience the moment of the truth that the bragging I heard is real!

The park is located in Southern Sierra Nevada, CA. Not only it is vast spanning 404063 acres but also it encompasses a vertical relief of nearly 13000 feet ( 4000m) of height, the park reaches the highest point in the contiguous 48 United states, Mount Whitney, at 14505 feet above the sea level!  So the park makes the perfect home for World Largest Trees, Sequoia.

IMG_1204Ahhh it’s a beautiful day! The ride leaving from Palm Springs to Sequoia was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! Coming out of such hot and deserted surrounding to have experiencing all different layers and progress of changes of vegetation along the elevation and temperature is a wild experience. Something that you just can’t feel or even imagine reading such information through a text book. Here we are at near the town underneath the park.

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IMG_9708Here we are at Gateway, about 6 miles to the Park Entrance. We are going to have a nice dinner before a big day to the Park next day.

IMG_9710Looking over a small brook, we are seated at terrace. It’s lovely here.

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IMG_9717Tasting Gateway’s own vino. The town’s main income source is Farming. There are ton of Orange farms to Tree nuts and Wineries.

IMG_9726It’s getting dark and we are having a good time… I see my Brother in Gael’s smile. Love you both!

IMG_1210It’s a beautiful day! we are up early and ready to hit the park.

IMG_9734Next morning. Loving the Visitor’s guide! We are So excited to go in. We are about to have a Life Time experience!

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IMG_9847They are enormous but we were told we have not seen anything yet!

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IMG_9822We stop to look out and take moments. Clear air and clear mind.

IMG_9831Here we are hiking up on Moro Rock, a gigantic granite dome located just off the Generals highway near Giant Forest. There’s a 1/3 mile staircase from the ground level that ascends more than 300 feet to the summit. The reward is spectacular views of the western half of Sequoia National Park. It’s leg shaking walk up but it’s definitely worth it!

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IMG_9837Planet Earth is Magnificent.

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IMG_9858Here we are in front of  “The World Largest Tree”, General Sherman!

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IMG_9857Studying the tree.

IMG_9853The Tree’s diameter is 36.5 feet. Our brownstone home back in Brooklyn is 17 feet wide. So this tree is about twice big as our home. That’s impressive!

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IMG_9796You will see a few of these Sequoia tree Tunnels at the park. This one is quite popular as you get to climb up and cars can pass under. It’s so much fun!

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IMG_9767We all got to hug lots of trees including the world largest one. We inhaled and exhaled cleanest air and opened our eyes to what’s out there. There are such powerful lessons when you see yourself in this world. This beautiful world.

IMG_9692After 2 days of amazing experience of Sequoia trees, now we are on the road again to hit the south tip of San Francisco to explore much beloved California Highway 1 and Big Sur! We are talking about 8 hours of drive!

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IMG_1234Here we are Finally Hitting Highway 1!!!

IMG_1283We stopped countless times to sock up these amazing views. So grand and So beautiful!  Here we are at the point of Big Sur!

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IMG_1284Here we are for our Easter Lunch at Sierra Mar on Big Sur.  I just got on line while we were on the road and made a quick reservation. They are known for the most amazing view of the ocean!

IMG_1286Beautiful estate with sculptor garden and high end guest houses. It’s an amazing place. Sierra Mar restaurant is part of Post Ranch Inn.

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IMG_0029Wow, we didn’t know what we were getting into. This place is absolutely beautiful overlooking never ending horizon of pacific ocean and open layout with natural light and subtle and tasteful decor.

IMG_0031A private dinning rom is also very lovely.

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IMG_0005The way this restaurant is built overlooking the ocean is breathtaking! You feel like you are up in the air floating sort of.

IMG_9979The Lunch Menu. Lunch is a really nice way to experience Sierra Mar restaurant. You will be sitting in natural light setting, which enables you to gaze out to the ocean and it is quite a good deal to have beautiful full course meal including dessert at $40 per person. We are also doing wine tasting today. It is Easter!  Loving the Wood Sheet menu and the name of Chef is represented.

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IMG_9991Gael with his pretty appetizer. Mmmmmm Happy!

IMG_9993House cured goose prosciutto with wild huckleberries, acorn bread ( crunch flat), creme fresh and touch of arugula.

IMG_9994Emi and my choice of Appetizer. Dungeness crab meat salad. They are plump and juicy. They are Soooo Goood!!!

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IMG_0021YuuummM!  This is my main dish! It’s so pretty to look at. Amazing green off dark purple on white back ground. I had to stare at it for a while and eat slowly. Braised Sonoma Lamb. Fried Black wild rice and green peas.

IMG_0023Emi’s choice was Local Sand Dabs in cockle broth with braised fennel. Delicious!

IMG_0019Gael’s dish. Ione Mountain Ranch Wagyu steak with crispy Pork Belly. So tender!

IMG_1295On a little break waiting for dessert. Gael’s out on the deck. Wonder what Gael has on his mind looking out to this big ocean. It’s always a priceless moment to see you provide such experience to your child.

IMG_0013The view of the restaurant from the deck.

IMG_0012Guest Homes around.

IMG_0026The sorbet was so delicious. Light and delicious! Hibiscus flower sorbet and Mayer lemon meringue.

IMG_0027A cheese plate. Loving the plate itself.

IMG_1564Cheese! before we leave this wonderful lunch!

IMG_1565Love you guys!

IMG_0041Mr. Post, the owner and founder of the Post Ranch Inn.

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IMG_0053Heading back to LA, we can’t believe what we are seeing here. Thousands of Elephant Seals!!

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IMG_0060They are Fabulous!

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The trip is almost coming to an end. But we are very present Now to be there for every moment. Living at fullest. That’s who we are even if it means wiping the front shield of a car. There is no Someday. Why not Now?  Being in right at this second fills up whatever it is to be Whole.

Do something Now! Live Every Second!

LOvE being in the NOW!

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Jaehee’s  Hit List for Milan. London. Paris

Giorgio Armani

10Corsocomo

Boscolco Milan

Armani Hotel

Cavalli E Nastri

WOK Store

U barba restaurant

Museo Del Novecento

Teatro Alla Scala

Shoreditch, London

Hotel Boundary

Boat House stay

Tate Museum

Liberty

Portobello market

LL-NC

Lahore Kebab House

Brockley Market

Regent Canal

Ace Hotel Shoreditch

Merci

Air BnB Paris

Les Enfants Rouges

Bon Marche

Les Arts Decoratifs

Hidden Hotel

Hotel du Nord


IMG_8077Our very first pickle collection!

It was rocket salad with goat cheese and roasted bright red beets then. And we have moved on to raw chopped Kale salad with toasted nuts and something. Today, all the chefs are into serving house made pickles at restaurants especially at those hearty farm food sort of places as complimentary side dishes. They all come in these little small jars and it’s fun to dig into those hot feisty Jalapeno to kick our appetite in!  Order another glass of something to wash it down. So, it’s sort of win win situation here for the both parties. The customers and the business owners.

After lovely brunch at ” Sandwich Society” in Fort Greene, Brooklyn having enjoyed so much munching on their home made pickles, We all knew what we wanted to do to spend cold chilly Sunday afternoon.

Make Pickles!

IMG_80412 of main ingredients, Sugar and Vinegar. And of course Sea salt.

IMG_8042A little chef Gael is putting gloves on. We are about to cut some Jalapenos! ( do not rub your eyes!!)

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IMG_8044Jars have been disinfected. These jars are from grandma, Livia!

IMG_8048Crispy and our favorite Kirby Cucumbers. Whole Garlic cloves, Jalapenos!

IMG_8050This is MY pickle juice. We put ourselves into competition to see who’s pickle will come out the best in 2 weeks! This is light soy base with sugar, vinegar, salt and dried chilli peppers. I am boiling this on low heat.

IMG_8052Gael had done a great job!

IMG_8053This is my jar with also whole baby carrots. I am loving such vibrant colors!

IMG_8056Juice is going in. The hot juice is making the camera lens all foggy!

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IMG_8059Gael loves to explore! He will be the first youngest ” Modern Chef”!  Yes, that’s beer he’s adding to his pickle juice. We never stop him on his ideas.

IMG_8061HMmmmm , We are very curious how Gael’s pickle will turn out!

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IMG_8066Gael’s onto his #2 Pickle. Now it’s Blackberries with Jalapenos!

IMG_8068” Mom, it’s important you crush a couple berries, So the taste blends better!” ” Really..?!”

IMG_8069Now I am onto my next one. Red onion. Only the onions with super classic pickle juice. Salt, vinegar and sugar. All boiled and pour right in.

IMG_8073Now here comes the professional!

IMG_8074The baby yellow peppers. He blenched them first and now cleaning all the seeds out.

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IMG_8076Pepper corns, 5 spices, salt, sugar and vinegar for Emi’s peppers.

IMG_8079Emi’s not boiling his pickle juice but doing it in more proper way. He jars it and double boils it!

IMG_8081YUM YUM YUM!

It’s so simple and easy. It was our very first time pickling apart from Gael and I had made Cucumber kimch, which is quite similar yet different as Kimch goes through serious fermentation process which makes end result whole thing bit fizzy.

Try this weekend at home pickling and next time you are at our home, we will open up our pickle jars!

Gael, keep it up with your cooking and creative exploring, Mommy and Dad are so proud of you, You little chef!

IMG_3287Sam Sung Museum of Art,  Leeum Museum, Hannam Dong, Seoul

Our Seoul trip has come to an end and we are doing a few last things on our list.  It has been so wonderful to see  Mom and Dad, Grandma, Aunts and Uncles and Yoon and Hun and whoever came across including countless friendly Seoul citizens ( Here they like to call them Natizen).  This trip, we ate and tasted enough to survive through coming Autumn feeling almost guilty for those who do have not enough to eat… But then knowing not having such access to food that is so deeply cultural in so unique ambiance like in Seoul back in New York, every opportunity felt like it could be the last one that we better maximize all the fun of what really having food means in Korean way.  (Sorry but any K-town in NY does not do the justice at all!!)

All the 2nd and third generation Koreans who live out overseas, Please you must visit Korea and should know where you came from and know and get educated how your home is moving forward and evolving, and what past we love and are attached to preserve. It has been such an eye opening experience for me. My first language is Korean, but Don’t be afraid if you are not fluent in your own language. You will still feel all at your heart and our home will still welcome you no matter what.

I have been noticing Seoul’s quite impressive changes over about 3 years through my short timed business trips. Seoul has definitely opened eyes to good designs and especially for the sense of being in good and quality space, which has made a huge Architectural Re birth all over the city from little cafes to amazing residential homes to hall in the wall small business or impressive standing alone shops and restaurants and galleries… The list goes on and I am especially impressed by Seoul’s effort to create Urban Green Areas for communities by small brooks and major rivers creating bicycle and running lanes that are completely separated from the ones for the cars.

I honestly felt like I could not keep up blogging about so many great things we were doing in Seoul with family but this one would be sort my finale to our first Seoul trip with Emi and Gael together, So here we go, I am putting together a few more moments to share!

IMG_3267You are all familiar with Korean Sam Sung’s technology . Phones, TVs… The list goes on. Leeum is Sam Sung founded Art museum that has impressive permanent collection of International fine art  and Korean porcelains that are dated from 12-14C. And the museum space is to die for. Cutting edge modern architecture that is well surrounded by natural element such as rocks and trees.

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IMG_3232Comme Des Garcons Flag ship, Hannam dong, Seoul

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IMG_3411Doo Ta, Dong De Mun

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IMG_3801Dapsimni Antique Market. The Best Antique market in Seoul!! Smaller scale but it’s enough and it’s a real deal.

IMG_3341I got a small set. SO excited! Korean traditional bronze wear.

IMG_3342Traditional pillows.

IMG_3446Traditional wooden flat spools for yarns and threads.

IMG_3349Wooden stamps to make motives on rice cakes and traditional cookies. So pretty.

IMG_3431Wedding costumes. For her on the left and him on the right.

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IMG_3869With Yoon and Hun, Just about to have Jeuk Suk Ttuck boki at Hongdae. Jeuck Suk means right away. You cook up your ttuk boki on the table! Ahh nostalgia! This came out when I was on Junior years.  And So great ! We LOvE dOTs!

IMG_3878Gael already digging into picked Raddish. Oh boy, He Can really EAT. Best imobu, Hun!

IMG_3879All ready to go!

IMG_3886Busy cooking!!

IMG_3872Woooo, can’t wait! excuse my shiny forehead…!

IMG_3897Busy Hongdae street, Saturday Afternoon.

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IMG_3912A land Outlet in Hongdae. Cool space.

IMG_3916aA Design Museum , Hong Dae. Impressive collection of International mid century furniture and industrial interior design is here. And of course, an Amazing Coffee Shop.

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IMG_3927The Cafe.

IMG_2806Night stroll along Chung gye chun, One of the most visible Urban planning through out the city Seoul is doing. You will see these parks that are made along the small rivers everywhere.  This Chung gye chun maybe more special one as this river was once turned into build-able land and back again as a aprk. Impressive.

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IMG_3949Now Grilled Eel Dinner with Mom, Yoon and Hun, Heyri.  Ahhh, it hurts me that you can’t taste it!

IMG_3948This is thickened Soy ( different from teriyaki) version and thinly sliced Jin seng chips on top. OMG.

IMG_3943What a beauty! Sea salt Eel. On the side, simply sliced potatoes, Ginko, fried eel bone chips.

IMG_3640Myung Ga Ram, Paju.  The last big meal with whole family.

IMG_3642Suk mo, ( little aunt), Gang hun, my cousin little brother.

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IMG_518511 family members today! Yoon on the camera. Little cousin sis, Yujin and my little uncle, Jerim.

IMG_5203My Grandma, the 84 year old Beauty, God bless her and protect her. I just wish her to be healthy to have longer and happy life.

IMG_5207_2Another Grand meal and family. . Ahh it’s coming to an end…

IMG_5219Gang hun and Gael. Can you believe Gang Hun is Gael’s uncle?!! They are only 2 1/2 years apart!

IMG_5230About to kim chi all together!

IMG_3860Gwanghamun Square!

IMG_3849Sanmotungi Cafe, Buam dong.  Seoul is such a lush city. So many little mountains and lots of trees everywhere.

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Emi, only with You would be this much fun!!!

So Much More to Come for Many Many Years!

VivA FaMily!!!  VivA KOreA!!!

IMG_2374 Happy Aunt and Gael at Heyri, Aunt’s Studio. It’s almost surreal for me to see Aunt and Gael together!

After another hearty breakfast at Mom’s, We are headed to Aunt’s and Uncle’s in Heyri for the first time for Emi and Gael! Aunt and Uncle have not met Gael yet, So we are very excite!

The door opens up, Uncle and Aunt come out in bare feet much welcoming. I see aunt’s eyes get teary with happiness and emotion to see Emi and Gael. Ahhh it’s so good to be here. I get all teary too. Uncle’s the same way. I have never seen him so happy and having a good time. Emi and Uncle hit it off right away on mutual interests. Love for Wine and good food.

IMG_2376It’s always good to see Tang and Brandy.

IMG_2377Emi and Uncle. The first time meet. Deep in conversation on Italian Wine and Mushrooms. Ha-Ha!  Uncle had studied to be a Sommelier as a hobby recently.

IMG_2381All of us enjoying Aunt’s Fermented Ume, Apricot and fresh Peppermint drink.  Sweet and refreshing with nice squeeze of Lemon. So Delicious!!!  Ume is much used in our family daily in cooking meals in place of honey and vinegar as after it goes through fermentation, it gets sweet and sour. Think sort of maple syrup like consistency. It’s delicious and it does body good for you. Talking about rich in vitamin C and good for digestion.

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IMG_2435Beautiful and modern Heyri. Click Here for More Pics.  Now we are about to explore!

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IMG_2396The Best Coffee in Heyri Aunt says: Coffee Coffee.  Heyri’s biggest charm is living a Modern and Artistic life in organic and sort of nostalgic way. There are lots of old school details that are re born in most current setting.

IMG_2384In front of the coffee shop, there’s a true nostalgic ‘ TTong PPang’ machine baking Sweet Red bean cake. The real common name is ” gold fish cake” as the old time cake mold was in gold fish shape but here today’s new version is in ” poop” shape. Now you know what ” TTong” means. PPang means ‘ Bread’.  You eat it while it’s hot. Delis!!!

IMG_2387Gael having fun!

IMG_4246Inside of the Coffee shop. The Coffee Bar. Loving the stools made out of part of barrel I believe?  Just following coffee shops in Seoul can be one good way to see Seoul today especially for innovative interior designs.

IMG_2402The family.

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IMG_2407Now we are exploring Artists’ space in the building where the Cafe is. Light fixtures.

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IMG_2409Creative Open Space.

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IMG_2420Now here we are where Aunt regularly works on her Ceramics.  Gael’s abut to experience Ceramic making!

IMG_4277Gael getting ready!

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IMG_2425After 20 minutes, Gael had made his Noodle bowl and a Tea cup!

IMG_2428Gael putting his Artist’s signature on.  Clay is just too wet for Gael to put his name on. So we are making a tag that can be attached to the bottom and to be baked in a right timing.

IMG_2429Thank you So much Master Choi and Thank you Aunt!  We will be back again!!

IMG_2433Now moving on to a Traditional market next door. It says “From the farmers”.

IMG_4295Mini legume samples and sacks contain them for sale.

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IMG_2439Back home at Aunt’s Studio for power rest. Then we are off for dinner! Some of Aunt’s small work.

IMG_2440Emi on a nap… Zzzzzzz

IMG_2454OK now it’s time for Dinner! This is one of my favorite place to dine!  The place is called  “Old Country Table”.  They serves up typical Korean table that comes with many little side tasting dishes. You get to choose the main dish such as grilled Beef, pork or Pollack. Today we are going for spicy grilled Pollack.

IMG_2453A few different kinds of kim chi, Mountain veggies that are picked, dried, socked and steamed with great seasonings, simple ssam with lettuce and crunch green chili, soy sauce soaked blue crabs, individually prepared amazing miso soups…. It goes on!

IMG_2458Made to order rice is just prepared and served right at the table on  rice cart.

IMG_2459YUUUummmmmm!  Ginko, chestnuts, red beans and rice.  Delicious! So nutty!

IMG_2462Spicy and Sweet Chilli paste Grilled Pollack! Yum Yum Yum

IMG_2455Uncle, Thank You!!! for the great time and all the generous treats!  ( two little legs behind Uncle are Gael’s. He fell on a sleep…)

IMG_2380Aunt and Me. We look alike.

Aunt in Korean is “Imo”.  Which really means “A different Mother” in Korean.  My aunt is a younger sister of my Mom and She is my another mother. Uncle in this case is called ” Imobu”, which means ” A different father”.  I also had lived with Aunt, Uncle and my cousin which actually really is a sister, Yoon hee when I was studying in NY for like a year. So it is very special feeling and love that I have for all of them.

Imo and Imobu, Thank you so much for all your warm hearts and love. We had a wonderful wonderful time!  I can’t speak enough how happy I am that we all got to finally meet and had time together.

For many more years, Cheers to us!

IMG_1615Ben and me at Va Beh’ Brooklyn.

Tuesday, 6:45 pm at Bam for Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love“, Then A dinner. A typical date night to anyone yet we don’t get to do this so often. So I was quite excite to see Ben!

I heard  mixed reviews on this film, but in general I throughly enjoyed the film. A perfect Summer movie. The scenes totally brought me back to my second home, Italy and it got me all missed Emi and Gael who are in Italy for the moment, and it put me in those sexy fun filled summer traveling vibe. Ahhh Beautiful Rome! Then there’s always Woody!

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IMG_1643And after many laughs and roaming around Rome, here we are at a small Italian restaurant in Park Slope, Va Beh’ for little bites.

IMG_1641You can see a grand view of new Sport Arena, Barclays Center Brooklyn from the inside of the restaurant and I have to say, it’s quite interesting. I do think this area is turning out to be way more handsome than what I expected.

IMG_1619The signature detail of the Restaurant will be this white marbled wall at the Bar area. This totally brings me back to Italy. The Current cities. It reminds me of those bigger cities in Italy. Milan, Rome… The owner of the place is from Milan if I am not mistaking.  The most of small appetizers like crostini, panini and cold cuts are all prepared right in front of you at this open bar.

IMG_1617And my favorite detail of the restaurant!

IMG_1618The Built in ever flowing wine fountain!  House wine, chilled Prosecco that is in place of White wine for summer and Aqua Naturale and Frizante. I just Love this Idea! Brilliant!  Va Beh’ also offers a fine list of various Italian wine.

IMG_1635Yes they are for Ben and Me!!

IMG_1616OK. Start with Classic! Crostini al Pat’e di Fegato! Perfetto!

IMG_1632You will enjoy quiet yet right amount of details at the restaurant. Everything seems just about right and cozy.

IMG_1636Busy Cucina.

IMG_1624Paper wrapped Oven roasted Orata. After share of Crostini and delicious Arugola salad, here’s our main. Peeerrrectly cooked juicy Orata was one of the best one I ever had!  Capers, lemon and touch of cherry tomatoes. All boned but head on. My kind!

IMG_1625Grilled Zucchini as Contorno. (side)  Yum Yum Yum.

IMG_1622And homemade Ravioli with Salmon and light tomato sauce. It was one of special dish for the night. I have to say, Orata was the winner!

IMG_1626And… I Bel ragazzi, friendly Va Beh’ staff.

IMG_1650Super airy, fluffy, melt -in-your-mouth Va Beh’s Tiramisu!

IMG_1652Happy belated Birthday Ben!

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IMG_1655We were the last few till the end.  Leaving feeling full and happy…

For little taste of excellent homemade pastas and all other Italian good eats,

Va Beh’  446 Dean Street, Brooklyn 718)678-4200

Ben, happy belated Birthday again and Cheers to our good times, Love you!

IMG_1086Eating Circles, Dots and Squares of Warm, Cool, Crunch and All.  Eating all Senses at Home on Friday Night!

Emi’s bit trying eating on healthier side. Smaller portion. Leaner protein. Only the complex carb. More Raw and more Fiber. Less Alcohol for sure. And it helps in this heat. We both are already feeling much better. Emi’s looking hotter!

Then there’s Emi’s long time huge interest in cooking in Art form.  Massimo Bottura, an amazing Artist in cooking in Modena, Italy is Emi’s two hands down go to Artist and I must say Massimo Bottura will change your idea about what food is.

Our current motto of “Eating Less and Better” feels like the perfect time to mimic such cooking and we thought we would have some fun doing it preparing our meals differently! Plating is a big word in this case. It’s definitely a creative process and we are loving it!

There are a lot more to come, but we share our first baby step approach! We are going Japanese tonight.

IMG_1103A table ever changing by Emiliano. Emi likes to explore with surface and our dinner table is one of them. Emi has done this painting about 3 months ago. And I love it!

IMG_1105I call it ” Broken Egg yoke”

IMG_1062This is dish I prepared.  Steamed spinach balls with young yellow Japanese miso, lemon, drop of sesame oil ( tiny drop), drop of Yuzu and touch of cane sugar.  DELICIOUS!!

IMG_1060A closer look. Gael absolutely loved it!  Soft spinach and creamy miso with kick of acidity gets rounded by touch of cane sugar.

IMG_1073Simply home cut Salmon and Tuna Sashimi. F.R.E.S.H

IMG_1069Grilled organic Bunashimeji ( beech mushrooms) with touch of olive oil, Maldon salt and Fresh black pepper. They are ore tender than oyster mushrooms and also naturally bit sweet.

IMG_1074Gael puts down the plates along the line of Emi’s painting.

IMG_1075Plating Tobiko ( Flying fish roe). We got 3 kinds. Tobiko Red, Tobiko Yuzu and Tobiko regular. These little beads of Nature add ton of flavor and sharp colors to your eyes and table.  Our new circle plates are from CB2.

IMG_1076Love the vibrancy of Tobiko. Yellow one is Yuzu one.

IMG_1077They are like Rubies!  I can’t get over with such colors!

IMG_1090This little tiny small baby fresh Wasabi root was whooping $20.00!  (Gael’s personal appetizer dish, we got his permission to use! my my)

IMG_1083Eel on the Broiler! It smells so good!

IMG_1078Fresh Shiso leaves. I love love love them! It is super fragrant in fruity and flowery like. Shiso is in Mint family and it has good bite as well, I love to pair it with grilled meat or sashimi, in the salad…. It’s so lovely!

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IMG_1088Sake is good to go too!

IMG_1087Approaching!

IMG_1089We are doing each own built ” Open Sashimi/sushi” sort of. Here’s my first one!  Its sooo GOOD!!

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IMG_1093Broiled eel, 2 types of Tobiko, fresh wasabi roots, long grain slow cooked brown rice on a Shiso leaf.

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IMG_1100And there’s always good company!

More to come! More to eat!

ViVa Good Food!

Watch our Inspiration, Massimo Bottura.

IMG_0822Ruins of St. Paul’s, in Portuguese: Ruinas de Sao Paulo, Macau

Another trip to Asia working on Spring 13 for Gap right now and for the first time in all these traveling years to HK, I am having real full 2 day weekend without work.  Saturday was relaxing spending much time to work out and sweating out all the toxin out of my system in the steam room then had good laughs over lovely dinner in Central HK catching up with Daniel, Kim and Joey. It’s always good to see friends especially when I am away from Emi and Gael.

Then how about Sunday?  A long ago, I have watched a documentary on Macau, a formal Portuguese colony back in the 16th century and lies between China and Hong Kong bordering Guangdong province. The Portuguese influence still runs through their food and also architecture that makes the city so exotic from anything I knew about China and it always stayed in my head. I thought I would visit Macau one day, and that One day finally came to me in just right timing!

Here come check out my day in Macau.

IMG_0717The day started with bit of rain. It’s super humid for the moment in HK and Macau is just the same. There are 2 main stations where you can catch a ferry depends on which side of HK you are. I am on Kowloon side, so I took the ferry at China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is also walking distance from Inter Continental and Sheraton Hotel in Kowloon side of HK.

IMG_0711The ferry gets quite full but clean and comfortable with good leg room and cushy chairs!  You get your seat assigned. And a good Air Conditioning. Ahhh you so need it with weather like here but you may want to bring a light cardigan as it gets bit chilly.  About 1 1/2 hour ride one way fair from Kowloon to Macau is about HKD 160. By the way, Macau’s own currency is SAR but literally Everyone takes HKD as norm in Macau.

IMG_0706Bring your Passport!! And check if your nationality needs a Visa. Koreans are waived from getting a Visa for up to 30 days. HK$166.00 ( about US $24.00) for one way ride.

IMG_0744My first stop at A-MA temple. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS TEMPLE! This temple was built back in 1488 dedicated to Matsu the Goddess of seafarers and fishermen.

IMG_0746So shrine and peaceful with lots of soft warm colors at the temple. These cone shaped shades are hanging at many little spots at temple holding visitors’ wishes and prays…

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IMG_0752Always love the smell of incense… I feel blessed when it covers me over… especially at temples.

IMG_0754More prays.

IMG_0762A-MA temple is located on the south east tip of Macau peninsula cascading down from a small but good 50 feet high hill right off a main road along the water.  Quite curved up and pointed tips of roof are cute and fun. I love the washed down mints against the brick red together.

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IMG_0764Pressing down my own urge to kneel and pray… I am still looking for a right spot for me. There are plenty of little pockets where you can unleash and get blessed at the temple.

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IMG_0769I am in love with these circular opening gates sort of. Do you think the circle means eternity…?

IMG_0777HK$30 can get me that little connection to my superior God in Macau. It’s about to be my turn. I found the right spot. It’s at the very top of the hill.

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IMG_0787I pray and think of all those faces including you. Emi, Gael, mom, brother, dad, Yoon, Hun, aunt, uncles, grannies, all of my in-laws, Suzy, Livia, Luciano, especially their health, family at work all around the world, their little worries, issues, happiness and health, all of friends here and fiends there. Ben and Ben’s Mom. Angela’s and Beppe’s. Tania and Tamara far away in England. And good business after all of our hard work. Love among the family and friends…

IMG_0790But most of all I ask for Strength. Not some powerful magic for things being solved by itself or God. I’ll do that. But I can’t ask enough for solid strength, agility and resilience. Just like my running and just like being a mother.

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IMG_0793You can also burn a candle. They come in different sizes but all in Lotus flower shape. By the way there will be Lotus Flower festival in Macau from June 16 for a week.

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IMG_0803Larger than life size incenses!

IMG_0810The main room.  Most colorful and ornately decorated.

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IMG_0733Right outside of temple, Portuguese music and dance is going on, The mosaic tiled flooring reminds me of Rio in Brazil.

IMG_0820 A typical Macau Bakery. Macau got some good thing going on when it gets to food. Delicious Portuguese warm egg tarts and Almond cookies!! Yum! and Crispy pork sandwich on the street!!!

IMG_0815Egg tart! I am getting one. About US$1.00 Cheap and Cheerful!

egg tartThe first bite is warm and flaky. Ssooo good!  Then it gets creamy getting into the custard. Not too eggy. It tastes sort of Cream Brulee in a pastry cup as the surface of custard has that slight crunch and caramelized texture to it. Not too sweet but just right. I really had to stop myself for buying the second. I may search to see if I can find this back in NYC!

IMG_0823In and out of sun, it’s getting really really hot in Macau. You can see the humidity in pictures!  Walking up to the facade of Ruins of St. Paul right near the main square in Old City.

IMG_0825Built back in from 1582-1602, this facade is what is left from the complex of St.Paul’s college and Cathedral of St. Paul. As many other sites in Macau, Ruins of St.Paul is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage site.

IMG_0824Right in front of the site, there were these handsome young men playing Macau’s traditional music.

IMG_0827OK, Check out their awesome instrument in such geometry. I love it. And i like to pay huge respect that they are wearing these heavy boots and all. I am talking about 90 degrees at 90% humidity! Here I am watching them sipping on chilled PocariSweat which is Asian Gatorade. Or I would have fainted already in this heat.  Their song does not have any lyrics. It’s more of this instrumental like low and high sound that they make through the air inside of their head and throat. It’s quite fascinating.

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IMG_0834OK. There is only One street that connects from the main square of Old City to Ruins of St. Paul. You know what that means, that little street gets quite crowded but maybe it was the very best kind of touristy spot I had so far! About 50 feet long walk will give you the best taste of what Macau can offer as far as their savory Jerkies, Fried Pork chop sandwiches and delicious Macau cookies. It’s overwhelming and so much fun!

IMG_0831These are all sort of different meat that is dried and seasoned. They are gooey tender sweet savory and sticky! There are plenty of little shops lined up on this street giving away little samplers. They cut and pack to each order while you wait.

IMG_0832There is High Competition selling these delicious crunch Almond Cookies on this alley. They seemed to be steamed on a steam tray, but amazingly crunch it feels like they are baked. The cookies also called ” Chess Cookie” as they are in a shape of Chinese Chess.  This guy is a sample/sales man.

IMG_0839Before they get on to the steamer. They have this system they can steam, a few trays at a time by stacking them tall.

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IMG_0833This guy got them all!  Jerkies and various cookies. Another sample man.

IMG_0836Sesame cookies.

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IMG_0844There are 33 churches, 44 temples and 100 banks in Macau ( think gambling). This is a small temple off the market.

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IMG_0847I am thinking it’s in lychee family.

IMG_0871I assume this is a kind of plum. It’s me that I don’t speak the language… They told me what it is but I didn’t understand.

IMG_0854This Oh-so-smell-good fried pork in a bun is Everywhere!

IMG_0856One more look at Egg Tarts!

IMG_0853This sign sort of sums up a vibe of Macau to me. It feels like an outskirt of what old HK could have been. It feels old school and quite sweet despite all these crazy Casino business they got going on. There are plenty of little streets and churches and temples and little signs. Lush trees in between old buildings. I like it.

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IMG_0859Getting into the heart of Old city. Apparently all these building are 500-700 years old!  There are plenty of weekend visitors from HK and China.

IMG_0860The main square where the church ST. Joseph is. Check out the tiling! Just like Rio.

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IMG_0863Quite humble interior of Church. Here I was going for the second round of stop and pray.

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IMG_0869One of the most popular ways to get around in Macau.

IMG_0868Bean, Tofu and dessert place.

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IMG_0875Cute Macau moment.

IMG_0876Main downtown with lots and lots of banks.

IMG_0879Heading back to Ferry station. The white and cream building with wild windows are one of many high rise Casino/Hotel buildings.

Two things that I didn’t do this time visit to Macau were 1. Gambling and 2. Proper meal as I am not interested in gambling at all and I actually hate it and I was quite exhausted from the heat so I kept drinking water rather feeling for any food. So I have one good reason to visit Macau one day again. Food!!

But click Here to see where you can eat in Macau and watch Anthony Bourdain’s 2 day visit to Macau!

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