An Egg that needs polishing

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After my last (snowy) training run at Red Rocks with Jess, Loki and J, it was time for some nourishment.

It ended up being J and me.  While I am not opposed to traipsing into a restaurant in my work out attire (mind you I hardly sweat, even with an intense workout. I glisten!), J was not up for any of my brunch suggestions. So Le Peep it is.

I love Le Peep!  I can admit that. It’s nothing fancy but a good breakfast and lunch eatery.  And there is one a few miles away from the house. Or at least there was. It closed! How dare they close a breakfast/brunch place! It’s odd because it always seemed busy. Oh well…but I’m heart broken.  I have been eying the Aspen Crepes filled with vanilla ricotta, cream cheese topped with strawberries for more than a few visits. Damn, not so much in my backyard anymore.

Mimi’s…no; Snooze…no; anything in Cherry Creek…no; Tavern Lowry…no.  Good thing I have a topographical memory because I remembered a breakfast place in Lowry that was agreeable to Mr. Cranky Pants J.  Mind you it is 1 o’clock, and dangerously close to either closing time or end of brunch. Low and behold, Delectable Egg in Lowry!

Cute lil breakfast nook with lots of windows and sunny décor.  We knew that we were one of those tables that came in about 45 minutes before closing, so we made an effort to quickly choose our meals from their extensive menu (read: lots of choices of eggs any way you want ‘em, pancakes, waffles, sandwhiches …everything! ).  I ended up getting the Green Door omelet. 

Actually, I was guilted into getting the Green Door omelet.  Damn you thighs.  I had just completed this great work out, I deserve extra calories that cheese or hollandaise sauce provides.  But no, the workout had activated the health conscience part of my brain.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great dish. A calorie counters dream meal of egg whites, with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and green peppers served with sliced tomatoes. I drenched my omelet with a little hot sauce and my mouth (and thighs) was happy.

While I was sitting there in my health conscience bubble, J didn’t have the same thoughts about a calorie conscience meal.  Hello breakfast burrito filled with scrambled eggs, potatoes (and chorizo if you’re a meat eater, which he is not) wrapped in a warm tortilla topped with salsa, cheese and sour cream. 

My tummy longed to have that breakfast.  J loved me enough, that day, to let me have a bite!

Now while the food and service were good, there one thing that irked me.  Yes, I understand that we were there with about 50 minutes left until closing. But, we chose our meals and ate in a timely manner. We were paying our tab and walking out the door at 2pm sharp.  What I didn’t like, was that while we were eating, a server, who was not ours came over and starting refilling sugars, creamers and jelly.  Right at the table.  Didn’t bother to grab them and move to another table.  Just stood right there, while we are eating and conversing… “Hey guys, I am just going to join you.”  No. I don’t want you to join me. You can do your job after we leave.…is what I wanted to say, but I was in such disbelief that she would do that, that I was speechless (plus I had post work out endorphins, so I didn’t feel like making a scene).  I understand that the Delectable Egg is not fine dining, but at least let us enjoy our meal in peace with out interrupting our table to do your cleaning. I know you want to go home but you don’t have to throw it in our faces. J and I have both worked in food service (many many many years), we get it.  But it is also annoying from the customer end.

I would have walked out of their (at 2pm when they officially close) miffed, but the 15% military discount made it a little more likely that J and I will be back.

Delectable Egg, 200 Quebec St. Denver, CO 80230

An Accidental Brunch

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While I was going to be blogging about my home made brunch of PB & J, trail mix and an apple…plans changed and an unexpected brunching occured.  Lucky me!
Kristen and I had planned to go snow shoeing and with the 15 + inches of snow we got a few weeks ago, it was a pefect oppurtunity to get into the Foothills….execpt when you don’t have snow shoes. While I own a pair, Kristen does not and lets just say, things don’t open early on Sunday mornings. After talking the park ranger, she suggested not to trek around 3 feet of fresh powder with snow shoes. Bummer. But she did suggest a brunch place.  Go park ranger go!
Last Shot is a restaurant (with a drive through liquor store in its parking lot, hey-o) off Hwy 119 in Black Hawk.  Now I am not talking about the Black Hawk with all the casinos lined up.  Go past that, more into the Foothills…where there is nothing, other than this place.  It is exactly what you would think about a mountainy lodge/restaurant would be.  Warm, friendly, cozy with a touch of crazy mountain culture.
We settled into a booth by a huge window engulfed in the bright sun shine and crystal clear blue sky that we usually get after horrible snow storms.
After the elimination process of food (they literally have and serve anything at any time) I ended up with the Tiajuana omlete complete with fluffy eggs, melty cheese, tomatoes, peppers (no chorizo for me) avocado, salsa and some other amazing sause on the omlete.  It was like a mixture of sour cream, and something tangy sweet that blended perfectly with the other ingredients.
Kristen got banana chocolate chip pancakes. They were the best pancakes I have ever eaten (sorry Snooze!)  They were not gourmet, they were just plain ole pancakes with fresh sliced banana and chocolate chips already mixed into the batter. None of this sprinkled on top crap. I feel kinda bad, because I ended up eating a lot of Kristen’s pancakes and not finishing my own meal.
While our snow shoeing plans got snowed out, our spontaneous brunch was one of a kind (just like a snowflake!)
 

Brunch is getting Hijacked!

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Due to the nature of this blog…this restaurant will remain anonymous!

J is OBSESSED with one breakfast dish and one breakfast dish only.  We stumbled across the restaurant one morning and who knew that this place would forever change J’s taste buds.

Eggchiladas

Think enchiladas but filled with fluffy scrambled eggs, cream cheese and chorizo (for those meat-a-tarians….for which I am not, so hold the chorizo please!) wrapped in a corn tortilla (for all you gluten frees out there) topped with a red enchiladas sauce that is not spicy, not sweet but just tangy enough to want to lick the plate. And I am pretty sure J has done that….in public.

So after the egg-sperience, J had to have more. He had to have more, so much so, that I was forced to call the restaurant to see if they had it on special.  I was forced to call so much, that the hostess who answered the phone recognized me and my requests and stated “Well, you guys call so much, I asked the owner and he said that we can make it for you any time you want.”  Little did she know, she was fueling the fire of J’s eggchilida obsession.

But then came a turning point.  J wanted to make his own eggchilidas.  Brunch perjury? This can’t be done.  Sure the eggs, wrapped in corn tortilla…easy.  The sauce on the other hand….not so easy.  J wanted to use red sauce so he just bough a can from the store.  I knew it wasn’t gonna work, but I kept my mouth shut.  So trial one, eh.  Edible but not quite the same.   It was the sauce. It just didn’t fit.  Finally after a few more trial and errors, I knew I needed to break out the ketchup enchilada sauce.

Side bar story here about ketchup enchilada sauce.  One night making dinner (enchiladas) when I was half way through preparing them when I realized that I didn’t have any ready made enchilada sauce.  *Shit* But….I had a enchilada sauce seasoning packet. *cool* Ok, what else do I need to make this packet….8oz tomato puree or paste or basically something I didn’t have. In my attempts to find a substitute for tomato puree/paste I find ketchup or marinara sauce.  I hate ketchup.  But it seemed like the logical choice, and when all was said and done… it tasted pretty freakin’ good!

Back to eggchiladas.  They needed the ketchup enchilada sauce.  So 4th time making our own eggchiladas, with ketchup enchilada sauce, was the best we could have ever done.  It’s amazing what your sense of smell and taste will let you accomplish!

What is a restaurant dish you hijacked?  Did you make it exactly the same or did you spice it up a bit?

 

Master Chef Kitty monitoring the eggchiladas

The DownLo of LoHi SteakBar

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After climbing high (800+ stairs) at Red Rocks, Scott, Jessica and I decided to head to LoHi SteakBar for brunch.  While I am not a steak enthusiast, they actually had a few non meat options.

 LoHi SteakBar is located in the ever growing foodie Mecca of The Highlands in Denver. With that being said, it was an hour plus wait to get a table.  Good thing they have a bar!  As we settled in at the bar I couldn’t help but take a look around and notice 1, how busy they were and 2, how the wait staff was not handling it. For example, many dirty, used bar glasses (10+) were stacked at the end of the bar. We even sat at the bar in front of dirty plates for at least 3-4 minutes. Not starting off on a good foot.

Jess and I ordered mimosas.  We had a hard workout, we deserved mimosas.  On their menu, they boast about giant mimosas and they certainly live up to being giant.  They are served in chilled glasses that you would expect to get an over price, under liquored drink at TGI Friday’s in.  Unlike TGI Friday’s they don’t skimp on the booze. Think of this glass over ¾ full of champagne with a splash of OJ.  Perfect!

While it took no time to get our mimosas, it did take Scott over 10 minutes to get his coffee.  When he finally got his coffe, he had to wait 5 more minutes to let it brew.  Based on his reaction, it was totally worth it.  Gotta love French press coffee.

I ended up ordering the Huevos Rancheros.  I don’t know if I was just starved after climbing 800 stairs or if they have truly mastered this dish.  Now it was a bit messy, how they piled everything on my dish, but I piled eggs, beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole on holey corn tortillas (somehow they were ripped when on my plate) and inserted the big pile-o-tastiness into my mouth.  Wow! It was a perfect blend of spices and texture. It was if the beans and potatoes were smoked with spices. I had never tasted anything like the before.  Needless to say, I cleaned my plate!

Scott ordered the LoHi steak and eggs, which was sliced strip steak over toast with two eggs, grilled tomato and frites. Scott ate all the frites, gave me the grilled tomato (in exchange for the chorizo that was on my plate), and didn’t have a whole lot to say about the steak.  I think I heard him mention that it was under cooked from what he ordered. Bummer.

Jessica ordered the ham, cheddar and pepper omelet which was served open faced with crispy potatoes.  While she asked for light cheese, she certainly didn’t get it as evident as the pile of cheese she picked off her eggs. 

While our experience at LoHi was 50/50, I am hoping that it will be better once they are better staffed.  Oh and we will definitely be back for the mimosas!   

Snoozin’

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This is actually a brunch post that I didn’t get around to posting prior to the (pesky) holidays.  Enjoy!

It was a crazy Thanksgiving holiday season for J and me.  We had a pre-planned trip to South Carolina to visit his mother and siblings the weekend before the actual holiday.  It’s great to go down there and just relax and hangout, with a house full of people ranging from 18 months to 40s/50s.  For me, it’s experiencing a whole new culture. Them’s is good southern folk who have takin a liking to my Yankee ass. The sayings they have just fascinate me, the food they cook is amazing and the love they have for family is inexpressible.  All in all a wonderful long weekend…just to turn around and fly to New Orleans.  Hammond, LA to be exact as J’s father passed away.  So back down south we went…on Thanksgiving.  J and I had planned to make individual pizzas at the house for Thanksgiving.  Instead we had California Pizza Kitchen in the St. Louis airport on a short layover.  As I always try to look for some sort of silver lining in shitty situations, I was happy to be able to spend more time with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law and go to the drive through daiquiri place (White Russian daiquiris at the BEST!). 

When we finally got back home, we desperately needed some “just us” time.  And what better way than to brunch!  Since our bodies were still in a different time zone than Denver, we woke up pretty early and made it to Snooze at 8am.  But if you know anything about Snooze, 8am on any day of the week is late. It wasn’t too bad though, 30 minute wait. Snooze has become a Denver breakfast/brunch power house.  They have expanded to Boulder, Fort Collins and have even escaped and opened a place in San Diego!

Snooze has a great retro comfy feel in both the Ballpark location and the Colorado Blvd location, which is the one we ended up going to this time.

 

To accompany us while we wait, they have a coffee bar/station where you can help yourself to their amazing coffee while you wait and stare at people while they are eating all the food you want to be eating. The coffee is imported from Guatemala, especially for them.  It’s dark and strong; I lace mine with just a bit of milk and when I close my eyes, I am transported to South America.   

We finally get to our half booth/half table in which I promptly seized the booth side and ordered more coffee! Their menu provides with you with many options from omelet’s, to breakfast burritos, eggs Benedict and pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes!  They are known for the wonderful pancake concoctions.  You can get an order of pancakes, you can get a flight of different flavors of pancakes or just a single flap jack.  But when you see the selection you want one of each.

J ordered the (larger than my thigh) breakfast burrito with chicken sausage. It’s this ridiculously huge breakfast burrito stuff with eggs, veggies and meat topped with veggie green chili.  I didn’t think he was going to finish it, but he lived up to my expectation of being a human garbage disposal and devoured the entire thing and then some!

As I am a creature of comfort, I retreated back to my brunch staple, eggs benedict…but with a twist!  The Benedicto Tuscano is a beautiful combination of ciabatta bread, white beans, tomatoes, kale and squash topped with two poached eggs and engulfed in cream cheese hollandaise and parmesan. It was a flavorful twist to an already amazing classic.

I know what you are thinking, how can you go to this amazing pancake place and not order a pancake?  Oh we did.  We ordered a single flapjack to share.  It of course had to be the red-eye velvet pancake, much to J’s delight or insistence.  It was a fluffy mix of red velvety goodness, cream cheese frosting, espresso infused maple syrup and pecans.  While I was already super stuff from my benny, I managed to stuff in a few bites of this “dessert” pancake, while the rest went to J.

 

While I am a chronic “snoozer” when it comes to getting up for work, I would definitely wake up early for coffee and pancakes at Snooze.

New Year’s Bust at Second Home

Happy New Year’s all!  I am not sure about you, but 2012 has a lot of potential of being a great year for me.  I am really looking forward to keeping all my new year’s resolutions.  One of those resolutions being to brunch more and write about it more!  With that being said, I couldn’t turn down an invitation for a New Year ’s Day brunch with friend Kristen and some of her friends.

I had suggested Row 14 Bistro as I had seen that they do brunch, but when I called they said they had scrapped it. Boo!  At this point I turned to my trusty Denver Dining Deck.  I love this thing (if you hadn’t noticed in other postings).  I had just picked up my 2012 deck and saw many local restaurants had returned to participate and saw many new restaurants that I had wanted to try.  Second Home was one of those places. Done and done, reservations were made.

Second Home is located in the JW Marriot in Cherry Creek.  I had been there before for dinner with friends, but was anxious to try out their Pajama Brunch.  The décor is very modern, posh, exactly what you would want a restaurant in Cherry Creek to feel.  And then you have the staff in pajamas. While I appreciate the theme, they did not try to engage the patrons to PJ it up.  No one who was eating was wearing PJ’s nor did they have props for us (Disco brunch at The Corner Office has props for you to get funky!). 

While they were 20 minutes late seating us (what is the point of the reservation?) I got to catch up with other people’s craziness from the evening before.  Finally at the table I got to order coffee and OJ.  I LOVE that they brought me my own little stainless steel carafe and out waiter was pretty attentive to make sure it stayed full. 

I ordered the Crab benedict. I know I know I am so predictable about my brunch choices but it’s the first of the year, so I have to start it off right! While it tasted good, I was completely underwhelmed. First off, my eggs were well done, not poached as it should be.  My yolks were completed coagulated. So they got scooped out of my egg and tossed on the side of my plate.  EW!  Then they were stingy on the Hollandaise…WTH that is the culinary bow that keeps all the flavors together.  While the crab quality was good, it left me wanting more. 

I was also underwhelmed by the side of potatoes taking up space on my plate. While Kristen loved them and polished them off for me, I was not impressed by them.   The seasoning on them was so inconsistent, some of them spicy flavorful, others, not so much.  I am pretty sure Duo has ruined me of enjoying a side of potatoes with my brunch (i.e Dynamic Duo post).  And the asparagus.  Well, it was green, crisp and tasted like asparagus. I at least got my first helping of veggies during my first meal of the New Year! 

I was so underwhelmed by the whole thing, I have no pictures for you! Sad  L

 Others got “Graceland pancakes (banana pancakes with peanut butter whipped cream and bacon), bread pudding French toast with Nutella maple syrup, Chicken and Waffles and a burger (who gets a burger at brunch?!?)    

While the conversation and location are great, I don’t think Second Home will become my second home for brunch..but there is always happy hour!

Brunch-gating

Now I know this isn’t the traditional brunch in a restaurant or someone’s house. We didn’t have quiche or eggs Benedict.  We didn’t have breakfast burritos or pancakes.  What we did have was lots of chips and dips, beer and FOOTBALL!!
While I am not the biggest football fan (baseball girl right here) I am still a Detroit sports fan. 
And with the Lions in town playing the Broncos, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to show my Detroit pride and go to my first football game at Mile High Stadium (now known as Sports Authority Field…LAME!)
I did try to think of “brunchy” foods that we could have while tailgating but since I am not a tailgating coniousser, I didn’t have all the resources. But I did a will, so I did the best I could. We had lots of dips and chip, and munchies. Stole a cute idea for a fall, football cocktail (thanks Chelsea!) which was Spiced Rum (we had Sailor Jerry’s!) apple cider and ginger ale.  YUM-O-NESS!
We met a ton of great people, both Broncos and suprisingly A LOT of Detroit fans.  Thanks to old friends who made it to tailgating and thanks to all those new friends we made. I am pretty sure I fed all the Detroit fans in our tailgate lot and beyond!
Amazing weather, great food, wonderful friends and a Detroit Lion win!  
There was even champagne, because you can’t have brunch without champagne! 

Dynamic Duo

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As the end of the year is approaching, I am scrambling to use my EatDenver dining deck! There are still a handful of places I want to try, for brunch or not brunch, and what better way to entice myself to an outing with a $10 off voucher.  Plus I either order more or drink more, because, hey the bill is going to be $10 less! 

Duo is one of those places that I have been dying to try.  This cozy little restaurant is in the Highlands, in north Denver.  If I had my way (and more money) this is the neighborhood where I would be living…not “east Denver”. I scored 11am reservations a couple of weeks ago, when I found out my friend Christine was going to be in town.  Christine is actually a Colorado native who fled to Texas for a 3 month travel contact which has now turned into 9 months…and will not go any longer!  Needless to say, she is missed!  Christine was actually a boss of mine, who one day forced me to go to Starbucks with her and bought me coffee.  She was such a mean boss 😉  From then on a wonderful friendship developed and now, well when she lives in the state, is my home happy hour accomplice. Back to brunch….

It was a gorgeous fall day and we had a quaint little table right by the window. I was in the sun, consider me a happy girl.  Duo’s menu for brunch is actually small but hand a handful of choices for us non-meat eaters. While at times, the quaintness of a small menu can be a deterrent, Duo’s reputation made me over look that small detail. That and when I actually tasted my meal, the freshness and quality of ingredients settled any ill will towards a small menu.

Couldn’t start this brunch without a mimosa!  A pink mimosa to be exact!  Champagne and grapefruit juice. It was so good I had two!

 

The first thing on the menu that caught my eye was the pastry basket.  Talk about carb over load for one person with 2 scones, 2 muffins and 2 pieces of bread.

Thank goodness Christine was eyeing it as well.  Nice basket to split.  I immediately jumped at the chocolate chip muffin while she devoured the pumpkin bread with an orange (?) marmalade.  I didn’t particularly care of the orange marmalade.  Not because Duo’s was bad, but because I don’t like anything other than raspberry marmalade, jam, jelly.  Christine on the other hand, put it everything.

I ended up having some harvest veggie scramble thing with pesto.  It was great! Super fresh grilled veggies that even though were cooked, still crunched when I bit into them.   I would love to describe to you more about the egg veggie thing, but the side of potatoes was the best side of potatoes I’ve ever had and completely over shadowed the main portion of my brunch.  Duo, I dare say, has the perfect potato side.  They were well done, crunchy and lightly salted on the outside but still that soft starchy goodness on the inside. Perfect! There is no need to go in search of the perfect brunch potato because Duo has conquered all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine also had some veggie scramble thing.

I don’t exactly remember because I am too busy still thinking about the potatoes.  🙂

 

Coney in Colorado?

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Did I just find a Coney Island in Colorado?  I think I did in Sam’s No 3.  I have driven past the one in Aurora too many times to count but have not paid it any attention.  I can say that I am a restaurant snob.  And if the address is in Aurora, I will probably pass it up.  Shame on me!!  I have sinned, repented and  now am part of the Sam’s chosen ones.

 

 

The original Sam’s (Sam’s No 1) is actually in downtown Denver.   The Armata family came to Denver in the 1920s to set up Coney Islands, and 80 years later they are still around. 

Which brings us to the present.   I decided to brunch with some friends who also live in Aurora.  They were kinda on a tight schedule, so staying in Aurora was a nice thing to propose.  Sam’s No 3 it is, and we were not disappointed.

The place is huge and it is a fun classic diner.  Even on Sunday afternoon at 1pm there was a wait!  The menu is HUGE. No seriously it’s like 4-5 pages…front and back.  Oh and they encourage you to make changes and substitutions to whatever you want. So you went from 500 choices to 5000 choices.   Unlike the Coney Island I am used to with lots and lots of Greek food options, they are known for chili…think Tex Mex Chili, not (Michigan) Coney chili.  They have 2 types of red chili (pork and beef) and 1 green chili (veggie).  We told the waitress that it was our first time there and without hesitation told her favorites on the menu (which was just about everything) and got us samples of all the chili.

I ended up getting the veggie burrito stuffed with eggs, potatoes and (obviously) veggies topped with green chili and cheese. I am pretty sure that burrito was the size of my thigh. I am also pretty sure that I ate ¾ of it.    The green chili was flavorful with a touch of spice with corn and black beans.

 

J got plate that came with an omelet and eggs and 4 pancakes. That was one of the few times I have ever heard that he was full!    They even have kosher hotdogs…for our kosher friends!

Service was amazing, food was great, what’s not to love!

While I didn’t the Greek salad, I am super excited to have a “Coney island” diner right down the street from my house.  I was super happy with my full tummy of breakfast burrito.  The true test is to see how their Greek salads compare with (Detroit) Coney Greek salads and cheesy fries!    😉

 

 

B and B!

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As we know all too well I have an obsession with brunch.  Well pair Sunday Brunch with a Sunday baseball game and I am happy.  Now, if said baseball game was a Tiger game I would in heaven.  Brunch + Tiger baseball = KJ heaven.  Now if you threw a pair of new heels in there I perhaps would then need to enter into indentured servitude that the person who made all of that happen.

Sunday funday started with an invite to the Rockies/Reds baseball game which then turned into brunch beforehand (score!).  I had suggested Dixon’s but much to my surprise Elissa informed me they had closed. How in the hell does a brunch place in Denver close? And Dixon’s?!?  The food was pretty good(from what I can remember the 2 times I’ve been), and the location for baseball games was ideal.   After some digging (thank you yelp) I come to find out they decided not to renew their lease.

What was Dixon’s loss was Steuben’s gain.  Steuben’s is a great lil place in Uptown, which is always packed. Think retro 50’s meets modern foodie meets Denver = Steuben’s.  Comfort food that takes you back to home but is still worthy enough for a foodie.

It was so hard to choose what I wanted from this menu.  I was torn between a benedict (big surprise), veggie burrito, breakfast chili rellenos, heuvos rancheros and skillet French toast.  Seriously, too many choices!  I ALWAYS go for eggs benedicts.  I HAD to get something different.  I went for the French toast.  I am not a big French toast eater at all, but caramel and granola were calling my name!

When we got our food, I am pretty sure Chad told me I wasn’t allowed to eat it because it was too pretty!  Indeed, it was pretty…pretty delicious.  As soon as I took my first bite with warm drippy caramel and some fresh better, my sugar pleasure centers in my brain were in over load!  I knew there was no way I could finish all three French toast stack, oh but I did!  I was in a sugar coma for hours! But oh so worth it.

J got the chicken and waffles.  I have never seen him eat fried chicken before, let alone with waffles!  I don’t think I will ever get the south  😉  Thank goodness Katie got the eggs benedict, so I could stare longingly at her plate.  The serving was seriously huge!

Food was great! Coffee was superb as everyone kept draining their mugs!  Company was excellent!  Go to Steubens! Oh and way to go Rockies for the win!

 

GO TIGERS!!!!!