A Dining Review of a(MUSE.) in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

The Art of the Meal: Chef Hari Cameron and crew display culinary artistry at a(MUSE.) in Rehoboth.



Heritage Pork features a crusted Berkshire pork chop with Brussells sprouts, apples, onions, mustard and chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms. Photo by Thom ThompsonAt a Glance

a(MUSE.)
44 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-7107
amuse-rehoboth.com

Prices
starters and small plates $5-$14,
entrées $11-$18, desserts $7

Recommended dishes
Cool Hand Fluke, Day Boat, The Beach

 

 

Chef Hari Cameron approached the table with a warm but weary smile. The evening sun cast a warm glow onto his black-rimmed eyeglasses and tattooed forearm. He spoke softly. “We’re about 45 days into service now,” he said. “I don’t have kids of my own, but I’ve been told that’s the rapid diaper-changing stage.”

The chef had every right to sound slightly delirious. In those 45 days, he’d given himself just three days off. He looked exhausted. Ragged. Sleep deprived. But like a new dad, Cameron also looked profoundly satisfied with his new creation, a(MUSE.), his labor of love on Rehoboth Beach’s colorful Baltimore Avenue.

Chef-owner Hari Cameron helped put Rehoboth’s Nage on the map. Photograph by Thom ThompsonCameron, a native of Georgetown, had spent the previous eight years at Rehoboth’s excellent Nage Restaurant, which provided a foundation for locally driven, progressive-leaning coastal dining. But because of my few prior interactions with the chef, it was clear that his culinary mind was moving at a different speed. He’d speak excitedly about a shipment of earthy heirloom sunchokes, or his new temperature-controlled sous vide cooking bath. Cameron was, of course, the only chef who thought to bring a liquid nitrogen tank to the Rusty Rudder’s Country Chili Cook-Off.

And perhaps the most fun element of his new restaurant is the chance to share in Cameron’s excitement for food, an unbridled dining nerdiness that drips from every absinthe foam and sweet corn emulsion.

The enthusiasm speaks even louder in Cameron’s cooking—his lively, erudite, and often brilliant cooking—and makes a(MUSE.) one of the most inventive and exciting new restaurants in Delaware.

Cameron’s kitchen staff, which also includes his brother Josh, excells at creative transformations of ingredients, which it presents mostly as small plates that range in size from two-bite snacks up to heartier, conventional entrée sizes. The menu organizes dishes from small to large and encourages much exploration and sharing.

Server Cassidy Dobratz sails through the bright, contemporary, cozy dining room.  Photograph by Thom ThompsonNo matter the size, the food at a(MUSE.) acts as a gallery for Cameron’s artistry and imagination, and cleverly titled dishes like Cool Hand Fluke look as though they belong in New York’s  Museum of Modern Art. Fresh flounder crudo, pounded flat, is wrapped around tiny drums of golden and red beets like ocean-scented crepe paper. Interspersed fell dehydrated flakes of potato and candy-striped beets that delivered texture. Bright sprinkles of watercress reclined atop it all.

It isn’t exactly French Impressionism, but Cameron’s knack for expressing color and movement in a single plate of ingredients is uncanny. Consider the vivid red sorrel and foraged purple sage that nested on tender pan-roasted quail. The tuxedo of foliage, bitter and clean-tasting, tamed the perched quail while, beneath it, a crunchy bed of broad beans and a few piquant forkfulls of house-pickled veggies lent textural contrast.

Rare is the opportunity to get amped about tomato soup, but a(MUSE.)’s playful version was like a roadside farmer’s stand in a bowl. Bisected red and yellow cherry tomatoes, green long peppers and smooth almonds bobbed in a rich, soulful serving of peak-season tomato soup. A snappy goat cheese croquette and floating islands of fluffy tomato foam helped create yet another dramatic presentation that burst with color.

The American Classic appetizer—poached shrimp with horseradish, lemon, capers and a surprising sorbet of cocktail sauce.  Photograph by Thom ThompsonCameron, an avid food blogger and student of Nathan Myhrvold’s influential “Modernist Cuisine,” occasionally explores the mysterious corners of molecular gastronomy and its trappings: sous vide machines, freeze dryers, N2O siphons and other culinary gadgetry. But in Cameron’s hands, plates never devolve into the overly cute, complicated or soulless gimmicks that such tampering can render. Instead, the flavors at a(MUSE.) remained clean and luminous.

Perhaps he has Nage and its stalwart devotion to flavorful coastal dining to thank for a(MUSE.)’s approachability. Or perhaps its his Forage Team—which cuts loose on the Delmarva Peninsula for wild edibles like mushrooms and tree nuts—that keeps the gang grounded. Even a(MUSE.)’s more esoteric creations are forged in tradition. Potted Chicken, a rich appetizer, arrived in a glass jar with layers of shredded chicken rillettes, foie gras mousse and face-puckering whiskey gelee that combined on toast points into a rich, salty schmear.

Even more conventional beach fare was re-cast in a(MUSE.) duds. Hulking chunks of Hickman’s prime beef splayed across grilled summer squash, zucchini and peach that hovered over luscious jus to create a cross-stitch of heavy and light elements that oozed lusciousness. Ditto The Yardbird, a beautifully caramelized bone-in organic chicken breast whose salty essence dripped onto wilted rainbow chard and smoked potato nuggets.

Classic flavors and pristine ingredients paraded along the heavier portions of a(MUSE.)’s menu, like seared dayboat scallops, caramelized to a beautiful brown and paired with guanciale bacon and sweet local corn. The brisk crunch of brioche-breaded snapper benefited from a stab into cooling tomatillo salsa and color-speckled heirloom tomatoes.

Earth tones combined through contemporary design elements create a suitable atmosphere for food that is at once earthy, down to earth and stratospherically creative.  Photograph by Ron DubickBut like any good fireworks display, a(MUSE.) knew to save the biggest bangs for last. The restaurant’s small dessert menu packs a major wallop, amplifying the kitchen’s best tendencies ever more.

Heavenly Lavender Fields infused locally grown lavender into dark chocolate ganache, ice cream and housemade marshmallows, each floral bite tempered gently by droplets of local honey. Peaches and Cream presented a study in ripeness and the summer fruit’s inherent sugar content. Just one plate offered variations that were bruléed, sorbeted, balsamic-macerated and rose gelee-enveloped—each slice more sublime than the last.

Then came The Beach, an edible diorama that’s destined to become a restaurant staple. Between the toasted-wheat ice cream dunes, hazelnut praline and cocoa nib sand, salt water taffy pearls, and beach glass made from nitrogen-frozen grapes, lies the best a(MUSE.) has to offer: creativity and vision synthesized through local flavors.

With dishes like these, it’s eminently easy to appreciate the artistry of a(MUSE.). It’s considerably harder to apply the time, mindfulness and devotion necessary to create such works.

On our final visit to a(MUSE.) we noticed a wall that had been papered entirely with pages from a book. When we finally got close enough to it, the wall revealed all there is to know about Rehoboth’s best new restaurant—even the walls have been plastered with “The Joy of Cooking.”


 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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The Station Gallery
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Greenville, DE  19807
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
Website »

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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
Website »

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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

More information

MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »


Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

More information

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