Bands,Beers,Bites and Wine at the New Canaan Nature Center, Saturday October 1st

 

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A cool event will be coming October 1st 2016 to the New Canaan Nature Center in New Canaan, CT.   The Center will be hosting its 5th Annual Harvest Festival.

At the Harvest Festival where will be samples of locally brewed beers,  wines, bites from Rosie;s and live music from a jazz band.

The event will be taking place in the meadow in the 40 acre outdoor nature sanctuary

Tickets:  $75 per adult.(in advance —$90 at the door)  VIP Tickets :$250 includes 2 adult tickets and VIP parking.

for ticket information and to purchase tickets:

https://67848.blackbaudhosting.com/67848/Harvest-Festival

New Canaan Nature Center

144 Oenoke Ridge New Canaan, Ct    phone:  203-966-9577

 

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Dine on “Hudson Valley Mediterranean” at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck

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The village of Rhinebeck is a real gem in the heart of the Hudson Valley.  With its history, shops, galleries, architecture and fine dining, it is a great day or weekend destination.  Gigi Trattoria is one of the restaurants that should be on your “to dine” list if you are in the area.  Gigi Trattoria is the perfect place to eat with its innovative  Mediterranean menu and emphasis on sourcing its ingredients from a host of local Hudson Valley growers and purveyors.

irene-aug-sept-390Laura Pensiero is the owner and creative force behind Gigi, is a chef, a nutritionist, and an author of three cookbooks.   Gigi Trattoria opened in 2001 and was one of the first restaurants in the Hudson valley to source the bulk of its ingredients from local farmers, growers, ranchers,  and purveyors.

Her book “Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook” showcases her passion for fresh local ingredients as well as her approach to healthy and flavorful eating.

 

 

 

Starters:  We started with a dish that could easily be an entree as well.  The Gigi Skizza is a flatbread pizza topped with fresh ingredients.  We sampled the Bianca Skizza which was a perfectly executed blend of shaved pears, fig compote, goat cheese mozzarella, arugula and truffle oil, sitting on a thin crispy crust.  This combination of sweet, creamy and savory toppings in contrast to the crusty dough was a real delight.

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Bianca Skizza

The Caesar Salad is a nice take on the classic with red and green romaine, homemade caesar dressing, razor thin slices of fresh parmesan cheese, and ciabatta croutons.   A real nice and healthy choice for an appetizer.

The Main Course:   the homemade pastas are available as an entree or in smaller portions. Gluten free brown rice penne is a nice substitute  if requested.  I indulged in the mouth watering tagliatelle with beef and pork ragu and fresh ricotta.  This was  pasta was an excellent choice as it was made fresh in house and it simply melted in your mouth.  A real comfort food.

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Our main entree was the Fazio Farm chicken with summer succatash which was light, fresh and a healthy choice.  It was pan roasted with sweet local corn, fava beans, cherry tomatoes and summer squash.  I also ordered a side of quinoa tabbouleh which is a fine example of a healthy grain with a fun and tasty twist.  It was a perfect pairing.

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Fazio Farm Chicken with summer succatash

 

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Quinoa tabouleh served in a metal bowl

There is a list of interesting cocktails which we did not sample on this visit.  The staff made suggestions for wine pairings at each course and we were happy they did as they truly complimented our meal.  There is a happy hour at the bar from 5-6pm several nights a week.

 

The restaurant which is housed in a former commercial space right in downtown  Rhinebeck has three separate dining areas.  The outside space is sunlit and faces the street and is great way to spend the afternoon or evening.  Large umbrellas shield diners from the sun.  The bar room with has seating as well and large windows illuminate the space.  The rear dining area is a long rectangular space with warm color  palette for the walls and floor which echo the Mediterranean theme.

The walls are also adorned with art from local artists which reflect the artistic vibe not only of the menu but the Rhinebeck community as well.  Indeed as we dined, a local artist whose works were on display was enjoying a drink in the corner of the bar.   The staff was plentiful , very friendly and attentive.  Menu changes seasonally.

For a fresh modern approach to Mediterranean cuisine, you need to dine at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck.

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Gigi Trattoria

6422 Montgomery Street Rhinebeck New York   ( easily accessible via the Taconic State Parkway)

phone:  845-876-1007

http://www.gigitrattoria.com/

 

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Food, wine, live music and more at the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival ! September 23-24th

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photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine

The food and wine event of the year is coming to Greenwich September 23-24.  The Greenwich Wine and Food Festival presented by Serendipity Magazine returns to Roger Sherman Baldwin Park (on Greenwich Harbor).

For foodies this is an amazing event with food, wine, specialty dinners, cocktails,demonstrations, famous chefs and live music featuring reggae star Ziggy Marley.  The setting for the event in a beautiful park overlooking the water is very special

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Ziggy Marley

.Saturday is the main event and there will be the Grand Tasting Tent from 12 noon to 5pm.  There will be over 150 food and beverage vendors serving their delicious wares.   Participants are from Greenwich and the surrounding area including Westchester County.   Some of the participating vendors will be: Rye House, Campagna (Bedford Post Inn), Village Social, Wuji, Benjamin Steak House, East End, Saltaire, Sonora, The Ginger Man, 273 Kitchen, Farmer and the Fish, Truck, Rosemary and Vine, Aux Delices, Rowayton Seafood, and many more.  Some of the above restaurants have already been reviewed by       I On the Valley and we look forward to seeing them at this amazing event.

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photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine

There will be specialty food tents all day with the Ultimate Sandwich Tent from 5pm to 8:30 pm, a Grill Masters Tent featuring Bar-b-que from  4pm to 8:30pm and a South of the Border Tent featuring Mexican dishes open from 6pm to 8:30pm.

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photo courtesy of Serendipity Magazine

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The fun goes on all day with the Empire City Casino tent featuring casino table games.  Live  music kicks off at 6:30 pm at the Pepsi Music Stage with reggae star Ziggy Marley followed by Old Crow Medicine Show.

This is an event not to miss.

Tickets: $150.00 for a Saturday all day pass,  for more info including special dinners, and VIP packages see   http://serendipitysocial.com/greenwich-wine-food/tickets/

For more information:

Greenwich Wine & Food

Where: Roger Sherman Baldwin Park   100 Arch Street (Right off exit 3, Route I-95) Greenwich Ct

 

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From the creator of House of Cards: “Farragut North” at the Ridgefield Theater Barn

Playwright Beau Willimon, the creator of “House of Cards” (Netflix hit series), delivers a powerful and timely play about the inner workings of presidential campaign.  The work was influenced by his own personal experience of working on both US Senate and Presidential campaigns.

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Farragut North premiered in 2008 at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York and would become the basis for the screenplay for the motion picture “Ides of March“.  That screenplay was written by Willimon, George Clooney and Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men).  The play has now come to the Ridgefield Theater Barn and will be performed through October 1, 2016

The play is set during a presidential campaign in the days leading up to the Iowa Caucuses.  The audience meets many of the main characters in Scene One including Stephen (Jack Tynan) they young and blindly ambitious press secretary, his boss Paul (Fred Rueck) the seasoned campaign manager, Ida (Julie Zelman) the crafty and ambitious New York Times reporter who will do whatever it takes for a story, and Ben (Ryan Wenke) the young reserved staff assistant who is kept at a distance by his seasoned superiors.  We learn in this scene both the intrigue and the behind the scenes tactics of a national campaign and how the campaign can manipulate the press and craft the candidates message to serve its needs.

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Scene Two of Farragut North is a critical scene where Stephen meets secretly with Tom (Steven A Miller) who is the Campaign Manager of his rival.  In the meeting in a quiet restaurant outside Des Moines, we learn the dirty secrets of misinformation and poll manipulation by the other candidate.  The crafty Tom leads Stephen to believe that his candidates campaign is all but over and he should jump ship and join his team.  Stephen who is both young and ruthlessly ambitious has had his life turned upside down by these revelations and he begins to question his own future.

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The political intrigue and games continue for the rest of the play with the appearance of Molly (Margaret Fegan) who is a young amorous intern who is learning more than just national campaigns.  It is her interactions with Stephen that brings to light issues of loyalty, fidelity, betrayal and honesty both on a personal level and in the campaign.

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There are excellent performances all around and direction by Cathy Fitzgerald Linder is first rate.

NOTE:  The play contains adult language and subject matter and is not suitable for minors.

Tickets:       $24  ( a real bargain!!)    $20 for seniors, students and veterans

Seating in the 70 seat theater is Cabaret style at tables and doors open 1 hour before showtime.  You can bring your own food, wine and snacks to enjoy prior to the show.

For tickets and information:

Ridgefield Theater Barn 

37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct

http://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/

 

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Johnny Utah’s: Southwest food and fun comes to South Norwalk

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The South Norwalk, Ct. (SoNo) scene is known for its dining, shops and galleries. Along Washington Street which is the epicenter of the SoNo revival is an interesting spot that is quite different from the rest of its neighbors. Johnny Utah’s is a new bar and restaurant featuring barbeque, fun drinks, a mechanical bull, country music and even line dancing on the weekends.

The menu features an affordable barbeque and southwestern inspired menu.  Amazing burgers (10 oz)start as low as $5.00, alluring cocktails, unique chicken wings, and over the top milk shakes are some of the items that will draw your attention to this fun dining experience.

Starters:  try the Philly Egg rolls with shaved Philly steak onions and cheese served with Johnny’s Barbeque sauce.  It was crispy and full of flavor.  We followed that up with Pickle Chips, which are lightly battered and fried and served with a chipotle mayo on the side.  It is an interesting combo of flavor and texture.

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Philly Steak Eggrolls

We also tried a sampler of chicken wings, a staple in many bars today.  There are several types available and we sampled the BBQ, a very hot and spicy sriracha, and the unusual peanut butter and jelly wings served with fluff as a dipping sauce.  The wings were crispy and not soaked with grease and were quite tasty.

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Pickle Chips

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Chicken wing sampler with the PB and J Wings

Main:  Burgers are a mainstay here and the big 10 oz beef patty served on a brioche bun is both large and filling.  Prices start at a bargain price of $5 for a naked burger and then go up as you add toppings.  To build your own burger you have the choice of adding an assortment of cheeses, onions, mushroom, peppers, fried egg, and much more. Fries are extra.  We sampled a burger with swiss and a slice of fresh avocado which was delish.    Ribs are also a favorite on the menu and despite the lack of an on site smoker the ribs were soft and tender. They are available in 1/4 ,1/2,3/4 and full racks.

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Burger with swiss and avocado on a brioche bun

Cocktails: along with the regular assortment of beer there are some interesting cocktails.  Try the Johnny Utah, a blend of Bacardi rum, coconut rum, Captain Morgan spiced rum with pineapple and cranberry juice.  This drink was sweet, tropical and quite potent without being overpowering.   For the real adventurous try the signature “bull bowl”. The Buckin’ Berry is a real crowd pleaser as it served in a huge oversized cocktail glass with Smirnoff vodka, sourberry lemon vodka, homemade lemonade, blueberry vodka and blue curacao.  The drink is then garnished with a popsicle!  As the bartender pours the drink you watch it bubble and steam rises from the glass!   It is very sweet and served with 4 straws for you and your friends to enjoy.

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Dessert:  Johnny Utah’s offers some amazing milk shakes to cool down the barbeque and hot wings you may have eaten.  There are several to choose from and we shared the decadent chocolate milkshake with a huge brownie on top.

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The interior is composed of dark wood, and two rooms with two full bars, a small elevated stage, tables for dining, and of course the mechanical bull ring.   If you are going to dine, they are open for lunch and we dined at 6pm and the restaurant was lightly occupied.  I understand later in the evening Johnny Utah’s draws quite a crowd looking to enjoy the cocktails, line dancing and music.  A fun place to sample a southwestern cuisine and atmosphere not usually found in our area.

 

Johnny Utah’s

80 Washington St Norwalk Ct.        203 299 0711

http://www.johnnyutahssono.com/

 

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Go Grape Stomping At Robibero Family Vineyards! Sept. 24 -25th

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Looking for a really fun and unique event?  Then go grape stomping at Robibero Family Vineyards in New Paltz at their annual Grape Stomping Festival.  This years festival will take place on Saturday September 24th and Sunday September 25th 2016 .  The winery is open from 11 am to 6 pm.

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At the event you will be able to take off your shoes and climb into a barrel filled with grapes and stomp away.  It is a great photo opportunity and something you will always remember.  No worries as there will be a station to wash off your feet after your stomping.

Your ticket price in addition to the stomping, a wine tasting of their fabulous wines in the tasting room or you may choose instead of the tasting to have a glass of wine and take home one logo glass.

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Tasting Room

Robibero produces premium artisan wines that are handcrafted in small batches.  Some of the wines available are Chardonnay, Reisling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and some delightful hybrid blends.  All the wine is made on site.  Bottles or cases are available for sale at the tasting room.

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Enjoy your wine on the deck overlooking the vineyard

There will be live music from 2pm to 5 pm both days.   Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the winery, but space is limited.

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Enjoy a beautiful day in the Hudson Valley and after the winery check out the cool shops and great restaurants in downtown New Paltz.

See you there!

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Robibero Family Winery

714 Albany Post Road  New Paltz New York           tel:  845-255-9463

http://www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com

 

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A unique “Seasonal Supper” outdoors with great entertainment at Ryder Farm

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A fun event will be held on Saturday September 10, 2016 at Ryder Farm in North Salem NY.   A “Seasonal Supper with Hayfields” will be held at the farm from 6 pm to 9pm.   It will feature a true farm-to-table meal as you dine outdoors at the farm at large communal tables.  All items on the multi course menu will be locally sourced with fresh ingredients supplied by the North Salem High School Community Garden, Ryder Farm, Snow Hill Farm, Deep Roots and Three Ponds Farm.  There will be even ice cream from Bluebird Ice Cream of Cross River.

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As part of the evening guests will be entertained by two entertainers, Grace McLean and Brittain Ashford.     Grace McLean is a singer, actress, writer and teacher who has performed off Broadway, and performs her own original music both as a solo artist and with her band Grace McLean and Them Apples.  She has performed all over the world and can be found playing gigs in NYC at Joe’s Pub, 54 Below and other venues.

Brittain Ashford is a singer songwriter.  She performs with bands such as Ghost Quartet and Prairie Empire and appeared off Broadway in “Nashasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812″.  She has also released two albums.

The food for the evening is brought to you by Hayfields, a locally owned and operated store in North Salem, NY.  Hayfields specializes in gardening, fresh produce, dry goods, high-quality baked goods, small bites and delicious coffee and smoothies.

The event helps  promote SPACE at Ryder Farm.   SPACE on Ryder Farm is a non-profit artist residency program located on the grounds of Ryder Farm.  SPACE creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, and contributes to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of one of the oldest organic family farms on the East Coast.

For more information about SPACE  please visit :

http://www.spaceonryderfarm.org/#home

For information and tickets to the Seasonal Supper: 

http://www.spaceonryderfarm.org/upcoming-events/2016/3/12/seasonal-supper

Ryder Farm

406 Starr Ridge Road Brewster, NY, 10509

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“What The Butler Saw”, a hysterical British comedy at Westport Playhouse

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“What the Butler Saw” is now playing at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.  This historic theater which opened over 80 years ago has  hosted to a long list of amazing theatrical talent. Among the actors to grace the stage here over the years are Jane Fonda, Gene Wilder, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Powell, Jerry Stiller and Paul Newman just to name a few.

The current production is a comedy written by Joe Orton back in the 1960s.  It is a classic British farce and the laughs are plentiful as the play(under 2 hours) really moves along.   It addresses such topics as marriage, infidelity, mental health, gender roles and gender definition, and of course the changing opinion of who in the cast is sane or insane.

The story is set in Britain in the office of a Doctor at a psychiatric clinic.  Dr. Prentice (Robert Stanton) interviews a young woman, Geraldine Barclay (Sarah Manton) who is seeking a job as his secretary.  His motives are quite clear wants to seduce the young woman and nearly does so when his nymphomaniac wife, Mrs. Prentice (Patricia Kalember) enters his office and the entire story goes quite mad from here. The audience has to hold on as we learn Mrs. Prentice is being blackmailed by a hotel bell hop (Chris Ghaffari) .The arrival of Dr Rance (brilliantly played by Paxton Whitehead) really shakes things up.  He is a psychiatrist sent by the British Government to inspect the clinic.  His arrival further turns the story on his head with his crazy misdiagnoses of everyone including Dr. Prentice.

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There is mistaken identity, false accusations and the local police (Julian Gamble) are involved try to resolve the whole mess.  The comedic timing of the actors is flawless. Direction by John Tillinger is fantastic and the cast really works together well.  Set design of the clinic office and its numerous doors (which are put to comedic use as the actors us them to great effect) is well done.

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The actors have a long list of impressive credentials.  Paxton Whitehead has made numerous appearances on Broadway  including, “My Fair Lady” , and many television and movie appearances including “Back to School” with Rodney Dangerfield.   Patricia Kalember has numerous Broadway and stage credits.  She has appeared in films and in television shows such as “Sisters” “Orange is the New Black” , “Law and Order” and many more. The whole cast is wonderful and the audience really enjoyed the performance.

“What the Butler Saw” has adult theme as is not suitable for children.

Don’t miss this hysterical comedy!

For tickets, show times and more information:

http://www.westportplayhouse.org/

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct.

 

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Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest returns to Rhinebeck Sept. 10th&11th

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The 15th annual Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest will return once again to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck New York on September 10th and 11th 2016.   The fest is a celebration of wines from New York State, with an emphasis on some of the wonderful wines from the Hudson Valley.   Wines from all regions of New York will be available to sample and since the Fest is a farm market, visitors will be able to purchase bottles of wine from their favorite growers.

In 2015 there were 50 different vineyards in attendance.

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There are also wine seminars,including food and wine parings, and wine and cheese pairings.

 

Any foodie knows that there has been an explosion in the last few years in the craft beer industry and New York State has seen its share of new brewers open their doors.  There will be a Beer Pavillion at the Fest and last year there were 14 breweries present.  There is also local Hard Cider to sample as well as local Distilled spirits.

The event is not all liquids, as there are food vendors throughout the fest and many have samples for attendees to try.   There is also the Food Truck Court with several different food trucks serving pizza, Mexican dishes, and more.  There is outdoor seating as well under the tents for dining.

Tickets are $40 at the door.  Also available in advance for a small discount at their website below.  So come out to the Fest!

 

Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest

Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck New York

for tickets and much more info:   http://www.hudsonvalleywinefest.com/

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Taste of New Paltz returns September 18th 2016

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A Taste of New Paltz returns on September 18th 2016 to the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz NY.   A Taste of New Paltz is a yearly event presented by the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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The event includes restaurants, craft beers, local Hudson Valley wineries and local businesses.

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Some of the participating restaurants will be the famous Mohonk Mountain House, Mexicali Blue, La Cabanita, Village Pizza and more.

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Local wineries will include Robibero, Whitecliff Vineyards, and Benmarl.

There is also entertainment during the day including bands and a magician.

For admission Ticket information and tasting ticket information please visit the website below.

After the event stop by the charming Village Of New Paltz for great shopping at unique shops, and of course more great dining.

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Taste of New Paltz

Ulster County Fairgrounds  Libertyville Road  New Paltz NY

Tickets and information:  http://www.tasteofnewpaltz.com/

 

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