Nolboo Budae Jjigae 놀부 SEOUL – Popular Army Stew Chain Store In Korea

[Seoul] Nolboo Budae Jjigae 놀부 or 樂伯部隊鍋 has become one of the most popular restaurants to try out Army Stew in Korea for a variety of reasons.

This is a chain store so it is found almost everywhere, some of the restaurants open till late, and they are generally tourist-friend with English menus available.

Not many may know that “Budae Jjigae” is created after the Korean War, using the surplus foods left over from the US army bases. Therefore the name “Army Stew” as “Budae” means “milltary camp” and Jjigae refers to “stew”.

It is common to find processed food such as spam, ham, hot dogs, and canned baked beans within the stew pot – which can already sound quite bizarre if you haven’t tried it before.

The current style of Budae Jjigae stew was created by the combination of Korean traditional sauces and these American ingredients.

For a Budae Jjigae specialty restaurant, Nolboo does offer quite a variety which includes addition of cheese, sweet and sour pork, pork cutlet, beef, and beef tripe.

The basic stew cost 23,000 Won for 2 persons, 32,500 Won for 3 persons, and 40,500 Won for 4 persons. (That’s SGD26,50, SGD37.50, and SGD46.70 respectively.)

There are some stores around which offer buffet concept, such as the Sinchon branch.

The stew contains various ingredients such as sausages, ham, noodles and rice cake in a spicy soup. In additional, the ham used is said not to contain any preservatives, artificial ingredients and colourings.

Note that the noodles added (at least for my pot) was udon, so you got to top up for ramyeon noodles.

Would I say this is the best Budae Jjigae in Seoul?

Maybe not. But it is at least predictably dependable. Since most restaurants use more or less the same ingredients, then what really differentiates would be the spicy base.

Some restaurants have a particular characteristic, say more spicy, tangy, or cheesy, while Nolboo threads on the safe side.

The base was tasty though I wished it was richer with a spicier kick.

The stew starts from a more diluted version and supposedly gets thicker after the baked beans and spicy paste blend with the soup. But it still remained rather soupy at the end of the meal.

Oh yes, do not come here expecting super friendly service. It is as straight forward as it gets, order, they serve, you eat.

Every diner has to order a portion (even if someone does not intend to eat), and while they allow top-up of ingredients at a cost, try to minimise your ‘special orders’.

Various branches including 39 Myeongdong 8na-gil, Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel: +82 2 757 5510
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)

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Ya Lor – Famous Sean Kee Duck Rice from Geylang Opens Eatery At Tanjong Pagar

Great to see more local hawkers expanding and opening up eateries, in a way making their food more accessible to a different target group.

Sean Kee Duck Rice from Geylang Lorong 35 (sharing the same coffeeshop space as Sin Huat Eating House) has opened a eatery called Ya Lor at the air-conditioned basement 2 of Guoco Tower (previously better known as Tanjong Pagar Centre).

But do not confuse the “Ya Lor” with “YaLoh” Herbal Roast Duck at Golden Mile Food Centre.

Prices are kept quite affordable considering this is prime CBD area, serving up items such as Braised Duck Rice ($5.90), Braised Drumstick Duck Rice ($8.90), Braised Duck Noodles and Kway Teow ($5.90) and Braised Duck Porridge ($5.90).

Just a dollar or two more than Duck Rice sold in most food centres.

On a side note, I love it that they serve it in those red plates that add more character, rather than another generic-looking utensil.

The basic Braised Duck Rice ($5.90) contains a plate of duck rice with duck meat, bean sprouts, braised peanuts; though you can top-up with items such as bean sprouts, more peanuts, braised eggs, beancurd, and chilli fishcake.

If you like your rice with a lot of lor aka dark braised sauce, then you would probably enjoy this Ya Lor’s take which is slightly on the sweetish side and sufficiently coats up most of the grains.

The rice is cooked to the soggier side, which I really didn’t mind. Overall, more zhong kou wei or rich.

As for the duck meat, they were chopped up into thin slices and I wished for chunkier pieces, though there were considered tender and flavourful.

The soup seemed to have some salted vegetables added to whet that appetite.

Ya Lor is done in partnership with the owners behind nasi lemak chain Crave, so we should possible see more to come. Hope they can keep the quality and pricing consistent.

Ya Lor
Guoco Tower #B2-32, 1 Wallich Street, Singapore 078881 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)

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McDonald's Corporation

McDonald's humble beginning started as a small burger joint in San Bernardino, California ran by two brothers Dick and Mac McDonald and ends up to be one of the world's leading food service retailers. McDonald's Corporation has over 32,000 restaurants serving more than 60 million people in 118 countries every day largely due to the McDonald brothers' vision of starting a franchising program from their small restaurant. It all started in 1954 when the brothers met 52 year old Roy Kroc multi-mixer salesmen, who later became their first franchising agent. When Ray Kroc received a large order of eight multi-mixers to be delivered to the McDonald brother's restaurant, he was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation. The McDonald brothers produced a small menu focusing on just a few items – hamburgers, fries, and beverages – which allowed them to concentrate on the quality at every step. In 1955 Roy Kroc told his vision of creating McDonald's restaurants nationwide to the brothers and founded the McDonald's Corporation. By 1958, McDonald's had sold its 100 millionth burger and 1960 Kroc bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald's name from the brothers. Kroc's distinctive philosophy to build a restaurant system that would be famous for food of consistently high quality and uniform method of preparation. He wanted the serve the same tasting burgers, buns, fries and beverages from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida. Kroc's vision and drive is one of the reasons why McDonald's is the world's leading fast food retailer it is today.

McDonald's supplier relationship has been very successful and strong for many years due mutual trust have in each other. Some of McDonald's long-term suppliers are Gavina Gourmet Coffee who has been with McDonald's for 25 years – Lopez Foods, beef supplier 30 years – Keystone Foods, chicken McNuggets, 40 years and 100 Circle Farms, potatoes, 35 years. The reason these suppliers have been with McDonald's so long is because they maintain the strict requirements of quality and food safety. McDonald's suppliers meet or exceed USDA standards and commit to be environmental friendly companies. Because Ray Croc (founder) managed to create the most integrated, efficient and innovative supply system in the food service industry is why McDonald's is so successful today.

In the down fall of US and other global economies, McDonald's has proven to be recession proof year after year. Here are some of the reasons why McDonald's continues to grow while other companies continue tighten up their belts. One of the reasons is that McDonald listens to their customer's wants and needs. The way McDonald's listens is providing their customers alternative to high-end restaurants by offering dollar value meals. Even though the cost of food and utilities are higher McDonald's still keeps their menu prices low and have more late night hours for their customers benefit. For those health conscious customers, McDonald's provides a large selection of healthy choices to include: 11 types of salads, 11 types of wraps, and 4 real fruit smoothies. For the diehard coffee drinker customers, McDonald's offer 19 types of hot and cold coffee drinks in the McCafe section of their menu. McDonald's McCafe beats their competitors Starbucks in price and convenience. The main reasons why McDonald's is succession over their competitors; McDonald has more restaurants all over the world-having more variety of menu items that adapt to whatever country or culture they are in.

Source by Yvonne L Corda

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Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap – Comforting, Peppery Thai-Style Kway Chap At Holland Village For Only $5

Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap is a popular eatery offering authentic street-style Thai fare and a less-commonly seen Thai version of Teochew dish Kway Chap (or Kuay Jab).

If you are a frequent visitor to the famed Yaowarat Street at Chinatown Bangkok, then this dish should be a familiar one.

Well, you do not have to go all the way to Bangkok to experience this dish now, as you can find it at Holland Village and Upper Serangoon.

Composed of broad rice noodle sheets with braised meats and veggies, Kway Chap is typically served with a soy sauce-based broth.

Yaowarat Thai’s version, though, has a clear pepper-based soup and curled up rolls of kway.

Late-night munchers will love how they close late – 11pm at Holland Village and 1:30am at Serangoon.

This simple cash-only eatery is filled with metal tables and stools to replicate the roadside eateries in Thailand, but upgraded with air conditioners for dining convenience.

Serving sizes are generous for their low-price points, making this an affordable yet comfortable meal option this side of town. Here are some of Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap signatures:

Signature Thai Kway Chap ($5)
The comforting warmth of this light, peppery broth is reminiscent of bak kut teh but milder, complemented with silky smooth kway uniquely curled up on the edges.

Accompanying the rice noodle sheets are assorted meats like chewy chunks of Thai fish sausage with balanced sweetness and savoury, and well-cleaned pig offal with no gamey taste at all.

This huge bowl also contains pieces of lean meat and topped with crisp-fried pork belly making it extra filling.

All these for $5 is a really good deal.

Thai Mid-Wings ($6, $8, $10)
Need a good-for-sharing side? Order these Thai Mid-Wings, with a crisp exterior and succulent meat tender enough to fall easily off the bone. They were quite juicy but I thought it would do with more marination say fish sauce, to bring out the flavours even more.

You get 11 pieces for the smallest order ($6.00) which can be shared between 2-3 people.

Deep-Fried Thai Pork Belly ($6, $8, $10)
Made with thick cuts of pork belly with that perfect fat-to-meat ratio, this well-seasoned dish is deep-fried to create wonderful layers of flavour and texture.

Compared to what you get in the usual roast shops, I noted that those here are sliced more thinly – great for nibbling I guess.

Biting into the crunchy not-too-oily skin will delight foodies who love all-things fried. Served with a dark sauce that’s both sweet and spicy as a dip, with hints of garlic for a punchy flavour.

Thai Fish Sausage ($6, $8)
Served in coin-like slices, these aromatic red-hued fish sausages are firm to the bite and flavourful.

You can taste the sweet and savoury layers in the meat making them addicting to munch coin after coin.

Fried Large Intestines ($8, $10)
Made from a pig’s large intestine, this plate of Thai delicacies comes in two sizes to accommodate sharing or bigger appetites.

Savour its unique flavour minus the undesirable small as these are well-cleaned and prepared. Enjoyed the crispy outer layer, contrasted with the softer texture within for a good bite.

Thai Stir Fried Cabbage with Fish Sauce ($5)
Add some veggies to your meal with these wok hei immense cabbage shreds, prepared Thai-style by stir-frying with Thai fish sauce.

This light, simple dish is a great palate-cleanser that’s fragrant and flavourful at the same time.

Fried Egg with Salad
Still hungry? Add in this Thai style fried omelette to complement your Kway Chap – cooked till fluffy.

What I enjoyed was the addition of ‘salad’ at the top, with sprinkling of spring onions, crunchy onions and chopped red chillies. The drizzling of of a tangy sauce made this a lot more addictive.

Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap – Holland Village
17A Lor Liput Singapore 277731
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)

Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap – Serangoon
945 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534711
Tel: +65 8822 5637
Opening Hours: 11am – 1:30am (Mon – Sun)

* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Yaowarat Thai Kway Chap.

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17℃, SEOUL – Chocolate Specialty Café With Dark Chocolate Bingsu, Softserve And Bitter Chocolate Drinks, At Mapo-gu

[Seoul] 17℃ refers to the temperature used to preserve chocolate at its finest state, and is also the name of this chocolate-specialty café at Mapo-gu Seoul.

If you crave for all things chocolate, then you probably come to the right place.

This unique and chic café stands presents a wide variety of hand-made chocolates, chocolate bingsu, chocolate cakes, and also chocolate softserve.

You get the drift.

It also stands out as one of the true chocolatiers in Korea, with carefully maintained temperature to preserve those perfectly-prepared chocolate bonbons from melting or distorting.

Some of its specialty items include Chocolate Bonbon (2,500 Won), Chocolate Ckae (5,5000 Won), Chocolate Macaron (2,500 Won) and Chocolate Softserve Ice Cream (4,000 Won for cup, 4,500 Won for cone).

I was most keen to try their Chocolate Shaved Ice aka Bingsu (16,000 Won) which is available in both original and dark versions.

When it comes to this iconic Korean dessert, I most often order the Injeolmi or fruit-flavoured ones but not chocolate as some may come across tasting rather sweet or artificial.

Not so in this case.

All that fluffy shaved ice that you see is chocolate-flavoured, PLUS you get that extra rich and deep chocolate sauce to pour all over.

A few spoonfuls, and you may end up really in chocolate heaven. Do get some friends to share though, as it can get quite heaty after a while.

If you visit during the hot and sunny summer, do get their Chocolate soft serve ice cream, with creamy, rich texture and melt-in-your-mouth feel.

Another plus point in particular, you can control the level of cacao in your Chocolate Drink (6,000 Won for hot, 6,500 Won for iced) according to your preference, ranging from sweet, bitter sweet, to extra bitter.

Also on the menu is Earl-Grey Chocolate Drink (6,500 Won, 7,000 Won for iced).

Sometimes, they also serve up the seasonal cold brew of Kyoto Uji Matcha (8500 won) with dark chocolate and some more ice cream. Who knew chocolate could taste so good with green tea?

Also try a variety of packaged chocolate products that you can grab and go for later.

17℃ (17도씨)
38, Donggyo-ro 29-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 마포구 동교로 29길 38
Tel: +82 2-337-1706
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)

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* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.

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Alchemist Design Orchard – Hidden Café At A Rooftop Garden In The Heart Of Orchard Road

Despite its central location in the heart of Orchard Road, Design Orchard hasn’t been that in the radar (I admit I haven’t even stepped in, even though I hang out at Orchard Road quite often. You?)

Perhaps it was lacking of a coffee place for better integration.

I think it is quite a good fit that local specialty coffee chain Alchemist has opened a café in The Cocoon Space @ Design Orchard.

Called “Alchemist Design Orchard (DO)”, this is the chain’s fourth outlet, following branches at International Plaza, Hong Leong Building, and a flagship store in Tai Seng. (Okay, they must think I love them A LOT since I actually wrote 4 reviews for them.)

First things first. Perhaps not many people would know where Design Orchard is in the first place. It is right opposite H&M at Orchard Building.

Finding Alchemist DO is also not as straight-forward, due to the design of the building. (Okay, the irony.)

You can walk the steps up to “The Cocoon Space” and it is hidden behind greenery; or take the elevator at the back of the building to Level 3.

Alchemist DO will be to many, the ‘perfect Instagram spot’ with concrete interiors, a swanky terrazzo tile coffee bar along with stainless steel finishing, along with some natural daylight at certain angles.

Their signature espresso beverages are brewed with coffee beans fresh from their roastery, and include the usual Black ($5, $6), White ($5, $6), Mocha ($5.50, $7), Pourover ($6), and Iced versions ($6 – $7).

The two house-blends available are the more chocolatey Dark Matter (which I personally prefer), and Kotowa which is more fruity.

Pastries are supplied by local micro-bakery Bakehaus, and you can expect Butter Croissant ($3.50), Chocolate Croissant ($4.50), Almond Chocolate ($5), Raisin Custard Swirl ($5), and Passionfruit Danish ($5).

I always thought that the pastries previously available at Alchemist was okay and decent, though nothing to really shout about.

But the Almond Chocolate Croissant ($5) I had was more memorable with its crisp outer layer, fluffy middle and rich chocolaty fillings.

Alchemist DO sits right atop the building’s public incubation space, so you can chill-out after some shopping, or enjoy the open view of one of Orchard Road’s most prominent traffic junctions. Nice space, good coffee and bakes.

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* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.

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Eat Rice – Lao Eating Culture

Enjoy Your Meal

Eat Rice

'To eat' correctly translated into Lao actually means gkin khao – to eat rice! Rice was and still is the main staple food in Asia but is consumed less and less thanks to populations' growing affluence. It used to be a huge bowl of rice with only a morsel or two of flavored ingredients (gkin kap khao – to eat with rice) which were prepared extra spicy to last the distance. In other times, when foodstuff was scarce and expensive but rice cheap and plentiful, it was done out of necessity. Today we do it because it is simply a delicious way to enjoy food as the rice tastes so good!

Eat In Style

… means that all the dishes, except for sweets and fresh fruit, are served at the same time and therefore all placed together in the middle of the table. Help yourself to this spread at your leisure instead of being told what to eat when in western style. Furthermore you can combine various dishes' flavors to create new ones. Except for noodles eaten as an inbetween snack, everyday meals are large affairs for the family, friends or community to join together for a feast. Eating is a social event.

A meal should be a delightful mix of opposites, of contradicting and thus complementing tastes in the tradition of 'yin and yang'.

• Flavors salty, sour, bitter, sweet, spicy hot in any combination, or bland

• Ingredients meat, innards, fish, vegetables and herbs, roots, spices

• Cooking grilled, fried, boiled, steamed

• Presentation dry, soup, curry, stew, dip

• Colors contrasting

For a big dinner you may first have a set of appetisers (kong kgaem / gkin len-len) which is then followed by the main dishes before finishing with sweets and fruit.

Unlike in the West, where one should have the courtesy to finish everything offered or else give the host the impression that her cooking was not tasty enough, in Asia not all the food is eaten. Instead, out of necessity for the family, and therefore out of courtesy from the guest, some should be left over. This is then kept under a fly screen on the kitchen table in consideration of whoever may get hungry later or arrive unexpectedly and, not least, for tomorrow's breakfast.

… and for the monks before that. Therefore extra quantities are produced as offerings during their ritual early morning rounds. In typically condescending western jargon this is generally called 'begging' which has led to the misnomer of a monk's 'begging bowl'. In fact, it provides a precious and convenient daily opportunity for the layperson to make merit by giving freely for a good cause, an act of charity. It is called 'giving alms' in proper English from which derives the 'alms bowl'; Now you know it. The laity looks after the bodily needs of the monks which permits them, in return, to fully dedicate their time and life to the spiritual world for the very benefit of the individual and community. Well, at least that's the theory.

… and by lunchtime another plate or two will have appeared to replenish what was finished. This process will go on delightfully and ever self-inventing, sustaining life and punctuating the time of the day.

A festive meal will last for hours, with participants coming and going … and reappearing. They will probably bring back another bottle of Whiskey and more food picked up at the street stall around the corner together with ice cubes sold everywhere in handy one kilo plastic bags.

Inevitably the cubes stick together so these bags are ceremoniously smashed on the table, banged against the wall or hammered with the pestle or Pepsi bottle – all part of the ritual.

Food is generally consumed at room temperature which, usually in the high twenties or low thirties Celsius, is certainly warm enough. Further north and higher up in the mountains this can pose a problem, though, during the winter months. A new trend is becoming noticeable where people like their food including rice and khao nio steaming hot when served. In the past it didn't matter; now it does.

A greeting, even to strangers, when enjoying a meal is inevitably an invitation to gkin khao (eat rice) accompanied by a gesture to sit down and join them instead of the usual sabaidee . And they mean it, join in. It can't get more hospitable than that!

Bite Size

The food described here is eaten with spoon (bouang / chohn) and fork (som) as is mostly the custom today. Therefore vegetables and meat should be cut small enough to conveniently fit the bowl of a spoon. Exceptions are whole fish or fish steaks where meat easily comes apart when worked with this extremely practical pair of tools or 'hand pieces' (keuang meu) .

A western acquaintance had, after many trips to Laos, finally adopted this sensible and civilized way of handling one's food. Upon his return to Germany his wife promptly called him a barbarian. Indeed! Who is civilized, the one who holds a spoon or wields a knife, a pen or a sword?

On this note, no Asian would ever dream of using a sharp knife for peeling fruit or vegetables by aiming it towards one's body. The proper method of doing the job is by aiming outwards, away from your body. If you are not used to it, this will take some practicing. It is easy when you have been brought up from a young age to do it this way, like sitting most comfortably with your legs crossed on the floor.

In upcountry homes food is most often consumed by means of a soup plate and a Chinese spoon which has a short handle and a big bowl. Tables set up for après- baci fortification, a wedding party, funeral wake or any excuse to celebrate feature these spoons together with chopsticks.

Each serving plate has its own spoon for the partakers to help themselves. Nowadays this custom is meticulously observed, even in the case of a soup. Previously one's spoon could freely dip into any communal offering.

The Universal Table Setting

A tool for everything

Who needs that stupid overload of eating tools on a western restaurant table which only serves to confuse and embarrass the uninitiated and succeeds to seriously annoy me. I'm ex-Lausanne Hotel School where we were taught all this nonsense as the expression of western sophistication. For enlightened simplicity take another look above.

Hands On

Lao and Esan people love glutinous sticky rice (khao nio) as their main staple food which is eaten with fingers, delicious! Knead a big ball of it in the cup of your left hand. From this you tear small morsels to dip into and pickup bits of the various dry food on offer. A Chinese spoon is provided to help yourself to soups and stews like nam , tom, gaeng and or . The use of one's fingers to eat explains the prominent availability of washbasin, soap and towel in private homes and restaurants which allows you to wash your hands before and after meals.

Food is served on a low, mostly oval shaped, woven rattan platform (pha khoa) with people sitting cross legged on the floor. I am not invoking any privilege but old age to kindly ask for the mercy of a chair. Asians are brought up without unnecessary contraptions like chairs and beds, and are therefore totally at ease sitting around Buddha style. In western oriental romanticism this is mystifyingly called the Lotus Position.

Traditionally minded people, and not only the older generation, make a nop over their empty plate once they have finished eating by way of giving thanks for having been provided for.


Chopsticks are used in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar to eat noodles and to transfer food from serving bowls onto your plate from where you proceed with spoon and fork. For the Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese chopsticks (mai touh) are the eating tools of choice together with the Chinese spoon for consuming soups.

The sauces in which food has been cooked are mostly discarded; they only serve to flavor the principle ingredient, to my great regret.

Chinese noodles

khao poun – khao jeen phoe – kwitio mee leuang – bamee sen lon – woonsen

(in Lao and Thai respectively) and khao soi in their vast choice have peacefully conquered south-east and fareast Asia millennia ago which has led to the universal adoption of chopsticks. One of these, bamee egg noodles, has ventured farther afield and has since beguiled not only the people of Italy but the entire world, Spaghetti! We owe them to the instant love affair of one Marco Polo of 13th century leisure travel fame who was unfortunately incarcerated in a Venetian (or was it in Genoa, I forget) dungeon as reward for his commendable inquisitiveness.

Rice as such is not eaten with chopsticks off a flat plate unless cooked rather wet, and thus sticky, like in Vietnam. Only tourists do this to show off and look utterly ridiculous in this hapless undertaking. Whatever morsel of food you have picked up with your chopsticks from one of the communal plates is put on top of the rice in your bowl which you then place at your lips, slightly tilted up. Proceed to shove this combination into your mouth, or put a morsel of food in your mouth which is followed by some rice in the same way.

Source by Vincent Fischer-Zernin

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World's best Chinese restaurant – T'ang Court in Hong Kong – 3 Michelin stars

Join me for my amazing tasting dinner at T’ang Court ( one of only six three-Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong. This iconic Cantonese spot is considered the best place in the city for classic, yet contemporary Chinese food. T’ang Palace is inside the beautiful Langham, Hong Kong ( in Kowloon and is one of only four Cantonese restaurants around the world to hold three Michelin stars.

Dinner was delicious, with both classic tastes and new things to discover. The wine was especially good and the service was just spectacular.

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