On Oak on Oak

When the new wine bar Oak opened back in August, I have to admit I was intrigued. First and foremost, the menu was created by Chef Aaron Burgau of Patois…and you all know how much I loved Patois. Second, I had seen all the construction being done to the building and I wanted to see how it turned out.

The only problem was that I just don’t drink wine very often, though it is certainly not for lack of enjoyment…quite the opposite. Unfortunately, the tannins (especially in my favorite reds) are particularly trying on my allergies and asthma. But, as I was about to discover, Oak is certainly not limited to wine. Craving a change from our usual evening pace (WoW anyone?), John and I decided to take a stroll around the corner and see what the new bar in our neighborhood had to offer.

With an unfinished cement floor, a huge marble-topped bar and towering ceilings, it was obvious how “cool” Oak will be in the summertime. Plopping ourselves up at the bar, it didn’t take long for us to choose a few drinks and a couple of tapas-style dishes to sample.

The white-cushioned stools were high, but comfortable as I sipped my first concoction, “Stormy Weather,” featuring rum, ginger beer and fresh lime. Despite the name, I could easily imagine enjoying this simple cocktail on a sweltering hot, New Orleans summer day. I had easily sucked down half of it before our first dish arrived, a nice pile of deliciously crispy, fresh cut French fries adorned with curled, wispy shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and roasted garlic butter. Naturally, John ate most of them because this wasn’t one of my “cheats,” but I couldn’t resist munching on a few before they were all gone.

I ordered a “Jean Lafitte,” made with New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum, apple cider and Peychaud bitters before the next dish came out and enjoyed it almost as much as the first drink. It was light, crisp and not too strong thanks to a light-handed pour by our bartender.

John was still hungry after the fries and his eyes lit up when he saw our next dish arrive, a beautifully rare hanger steak bruschetta with hunks of blue cheese and a tangy, sweet red onion marmalade. The meat was juicy and delicious and I enjoyed my bite immensely, although I thought the dish was priced too high.

Instead of selecting one of their tantalizing desserts (this wasn’t a cheat, after all), I opted for sweet cocktail dubbed a “Josephine Baker.” Made with Van Gogh banana and chocolate flavored vodkas, this sinful treat offered quite a bang for the end of the evening. I’m a sucker for the banana-chocolate combination in anything and with much reluctance, I let John take a few sips.

Buzzing and warm from the cocktails, John and I strolled home under the stars and felt lucky to live in our neighborhood. We also noticed the sign in the empty gelato shop across the street touting the imminent opening of another Oak Street  burger spot created by none other than Aaron Burgau himself. Does it get any better than this?

Itching for a cocktail…

“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”  -W. C. Fields

Last night on the way to a Christmas party, I kept thinking how the first thing I wanted to order was a drink. Although, I’ve been known to party a little too heartily from time to time, I’m really not a big drinker, but something about the cold weather has me constantly craving a cocktail. Not only do I get to try yet another tasty liquid concoction, but after one or two (or even three), I’ll feel warm and cozy inside and out, let the chill winds come as they please. So to keep away the cold and as a tribute to that favorite New Orleans pastime, here are a few of the delicious cocktails I’ve had this year.

Although I sipped this beauty at the Bridge Lounge in the springtime, I could still go for one during the winter months…

It’s called a “Porch Swing” with muddled cucumber, Pims, lemonade, Hendrix Gin and ginger ale. I can just feel that spring heat now, sitting outside and watching the rain coming down.

This next drink is one of my all-time favorites, a classic Mojito from the Victorian Lounge at the Columns Hotel.

Who can resist the lure of rum mixed with muddled fresh mint and sugar? Certainly not I! A “nouveaux” classic cocktail at a truly classy bar.

I can almost feel the droplets of sweat running down my face when remembering the day I enjoyed this particular beauty during a hot August luncheon at The Green Goddess

Called “Solidarity Sunshine”,this is a cocktail the restaurant tagged as “an adult lemonade” with Sparkling Meyer Lemon Juice, Sobieski Vodka and fresh basil. Oh how I want the sunshine to return!

Since I can enjoy ice cream anytime of the year, it only seems appropriate to mention this next creamy, sweet deliciousness I acquired from Sucre on a very moody 39th birthday…

It’s a Big Kid Shake called  “A Bunch of Nuts” starring Brown Putter Pecan Gelato, Frangelico and Praline Liquor.

Speaking of sweetness, this jazzed up martini from the Monkey Hill Bar was as fine as any dessert I’ve ever enjoyed.

This “Double Espresso Martini” features Van Gogh Espresso vodka, Starbucks espresso liqueur and dark Creme de Cacao garnished with crunchy espresso beans and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

Last, bust certainly not least, I have to give some love to a treat I had during Thanksgiving at Café Adelaide, it tasted like Christmas in a glass…

This excellent cocktail created by one of the Swizzle Stick’s talented bartenders, Shawn Phipps and called the “Santeria,” was lovingly made with Stoli Vanil Vodka, Nocello, Licor 43, allspice and a cinnamon-sugared rim.

*Note – Although I highly suggest trying all of these magnificent cocktails, it might not be wise to do it all at the same time…

Toasting a local legend at the Garden District Pub

In the 1900 block of Magazine Street lies a quaint, unpretentious neighborhood bar called the Garden District Pub.  Although I have visited quite a few little-known and under-appreciated watering holes in this town (The Saint and the pre-flood Hi-Ho Lounge comes to mind), this was one of those precious local gems I was never introduced to.  I walked into the small, but very comfortable bar the other afternoon during happy hour and reveled in the laid-back atmosphere along with only a few other patrons who were loading up the digital jukebox with an excellent choice of music (three songs for a buck!).

When I asked my usual “signature cocktail” question of Mallory, the bartender on duty, she smiled and said her favorite preparation was a “shot of Jameson and a bottle of PBR.” Laughing yet determined to drag a mixed drink out of her, she finally offered a popular classic New Orleans cocktail, an Old Fashioned. It was a bit heavy on the Bourbon, but I still enjoyed it all the way down to the macerated cherries at the bottom of the glass.

Thinking about another drink before I even finished the first, Mallory must have read my mind because she asked what I wanted next.  Since I was undecided, she finally opened up to me…”There is a drink I made up with a drunken customer one night, want to try it?”  I immediately said yes, willing to brave whatever strange concoction she put in front of me.  Hilariously dubbed the “Sophie B. Yeah You Right”, this inebriated invention called for Vodka, Gin, Malibu Rum and pineapple juice and was surprisingly tasty.  It reminded me of a Hurricane where you combine all kinds of booze and successfully cover the burn with the sweet-tart flavor of pineapple.  I still enjoyed it, even more so that I wasn’t on Bourbon Street.

While gaining a respectable buzz, I asked Mallory about the small park across the street with the statue of Sophie B. Wright.  Apparently, out of respect to Miss Wright and for her own personal amusement, Mallory had been telling tourists that it was a local “tradition” to offer libations and notes of appreciation to Sophie’s statue.  This convention took hold so strongly, that on a daily basis she would see chalk-written praises, flowers and even gifts laid at the famous educator’s feet.  Mallory expressed her irritation at seeing bums, trash and dog poop littering Miss Wright’s memorial and it was about time folks paid some respect to this remarkable female role model.  Regardless of her methods, I heartily agreed.

If ever you find yourself turned around at the triangle or roaming Magazine after a meal at Jackson or Juan’s Flying Burrito, stop into the Garden District Pub for an excellent happy hour (my two cocktails totaled $8!), enjoy the amenable atmosphere and employees and select a few songs on the jukebox. Also, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you offered a gift to Miss Wright on your way out.

Madigan’s Bar: A cool neighborhood haunt

Smack dab next to my favorite burger joint in the whole city lies an unassuming Riverbend haunt called Madigan’s.  To find it, just look for the large green, neon sign on the corner of Maple and S.Carrollton Avenue, only a short walk from Camilla Grill.  Sometimes, the bar is opened up on the Carrollton-side where you can sit in the open breeze, watch the streetcars trundle by, sip cold drafts and dine on food from GB’s.  I’ve been into Madigan’s several times and it’s always struck me as a very mixed crowd, not leaning too heavily on the frat side despite it’s proximity to the colleges.

John and I followed a couple and their dog inside and took a stool at the bar.  When I asked the bartender, Adriane, if she had a signature cocktail she kind of laughed and said “I should, shouldn’t I?”  Then she suggested an Iced Tea Lemonade made with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and “a bunch of other sweet stuff.”  A fan of Nestea, she’s concocted a recipe that tastes exactly like it.  Although I certainly felt it, I didn’t taste the alcohol at all, which made it dangerous as well as tasty.

Since it was still kind of slow, Adriane came over to chat and I learned that she’s been tending bar at Madigan’s for the past two years, but she used to work in Quarter at Molly’s and Turtle Bay.  Adriane, born and raised in Metairie and a Grace King High School graduate, expressed a wavering interest in telling her own hair-raising tales when she found out I was writing this blog.  When I asked why she hadn’t already started, she said her stories always unintentionally sounded like complaints! I thought she should still give it a go, stories I’ve written result differently than I intend all the time! You just never know…

I had to have one more drink before heading out and opted to stay on the vodka track with a very dirty Grey Goose martini.  Adriane even gave me a little extra dirt in a small cup, just in case, but the martini was perfect, replete with two plump olives speared onto a tiny plastic sword.

John and I decided to leave when the bar began filling up with avid Saints’ fans sporting black & gold jerseys and arriving just in time for the pre-season game against the Patriots. I know I will probably be shot on sight, but I am not a football fan, or even a sports fan in general,  so I saw no point in taking up two perfectly good bar stools that could go to worthier candidates.  Although I don’t care to watch the game, it doesn’t mean I don’t support the passionate fans and their undying love and devotion for the team.  Not to mention, John and I were on our way to enjoy another delicious cheat meal and I was sure the game would be playing there too.

Oddly shaped objects and twofers at the Rendezvous Tavern

The Random House dictionary has several definitions for the original French phrase rendez-vous that literally means “present yourselves.”  A rendezvous can be an agreement to meet, the meeting itself, a place designated for a meeting, a favorite gathering place and a meeting of two or more spacecraft in outer space.

When Anne and I planned to rendezvous at the Rendezvous Tavern, we managed to fulfill every clarification, but one.  I’m not saying several spacecraft couldn’t have shown up at 3101 Magazine Street…only that I was unlucky enough to have missed it.

I hadn’t visited the Rendezvous Tavern since my crazy, hazy days with Shalom, but I vaguely remembered one hell of a happy hour…three-for-one well drinks!   Brightly colored jacks marked how many you had left and after the third cocktail (usually a margarita…heavy on the salt!), someone had already bought another round. It was a very good thing my apartment was only a few blocks away.

The bar was dark and cool, just like I remembered it with a long wood bar running along the far wall and flaunting a good stock of choices.  There’s a coin-op pool table or darts in the loft-like area in the back, but Anne and I made a beeline for the bar.  We wanted to drink.

Renea, who’s been slinging drinks at the Rendezvous since right before…well…you know…all hell broke loose five years ago, whipped up a tasty Cosmopolitan made with Absolut Citron for me and a Margarita with a shot of Grand Marnier for Anne.  We sipped on our cocktails and jabbed away the afternoon discussing Anne’s recent trip around the world.  Seriously.  Well practically…she just got back from visiting England, Australia and Korea.  Phew!  Life is rough, let’s get another drink…

Three cocktails and a shot called Pumpkin Pie (Goldschlager, Baileys and Kahlua) later, it was feeling just like old times and I was looking for left-over jacks.  We decided to walk up Magazine to seek some nosh, disappointed it wasn’t Free-Indian-Food-Sunday when Rendezvous serves rice dishes from Nirvana.  As we left the bar, we spotted a couple of Nissan Cubes and a Mini-Cooper (does that count?), but from what I heard, there were a few abductions and a really great light show after we left.

Why do I always miss all the good stuff?

There IS a monkey at the Monkey Hill Bar!

As a Bay Area native, when I first heard the story of “Monkey Hill” in Audubon Zoo, I thought someone was yanking my chain.  During the Great Depression, an artificial hill was constructed inside the zoo to show the children of New Orleans what a hill looked like. Even today, locals still claim that Monkey Hill is the highest point of land in the city. Seeing how I grew up in a neighborhood that had hills steep enough to make any kid on a bike Evel Knievel, this story totally blew me away.

What does this have to do with Monkey Hill Bar you ask?  Well, nothing really.  Unless you count the fact that posh bars in Uptown New Orleans are about as rare as say…a hill.

I’ve been curious about this bar for some time, partially due of all the questionable reviews I’ve read online painting the clientele as “guys with gel-compacted hair, who wear their sunglasses at night or chicks wearing dresses the size of shirts with fresh, bright orange tans” among other colorful descriptions.  I kept thinking to myself…how bad can it actually be?

Since I am a Birkenstock-wearing, no make-up or hair products kind of gal, I have to admit I was feeling a bit wary when John and I walked into the darkened bar on the corner of Magazine and Webster Streets.  Perhaps it was due to the lack of patrons so early in the day or because my bartender Ashley was sweet, attentive and accommodating, but I had no problems feeling quite comfortable in no time at all.

First of all, any bar sporting well-cushioned couches, squashy armchairs and stool seats larger than my ass already get an A+ in my book.  Also, the whole “upscale” feel of the bar was dumbed-down a bit by a pool table, shuffleboard and several poker machines in the corner.  But let’s talk about why I was really there…

Apparently, Monkey Hill Bar is known for their specialty martinis and when I asked Ashley which one was her favorite, she excitedly told me about the Double Espresso. Between her enthusiasm and my love of coffee, it was an easy choice to make.  John opted for the Strawberry Vanilla.  With a practiced hand, Ashley whipped up both drinks quicker than you can say “martini”.

The Double Espresso features Van Gogh Espresso vodka, Starbucks espresso liqueur and dark Creme de Cacao garnished with crunchy espresso beans and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  It was like breakfast, dessert and happy hour all in one martini glass ringing in at $9.50.  Plus, Ashley’s heavy-handed pour and the happy hour, one dollar-discount made the whole venture more financially palatable.

John’s Strawberry Vanilla was equally delicious showcasing Stoli Vanilla vodka, white Godiva liqueur and strawberry liqueur garnished with fresh strawberries and strawberry syrup.  We thoroughly enjoyed both martinis and I felt like a lightweight finding myself heavily buzzed after one drink!  Talk about a cheap date…

Because of our shared love of coffee, Ashley introduced me to Patron XO Cafe.  The smooth flavor of Patron mixed with a coffee concentrate?  I was skeptical, but I knew if I liked it, the mix would equal Kim wandering the streets of New Orleans with no shoes, an identity crisis and a new tattoo.  Ashley devilishly offered us two shots on the house and that was all she wrote…I fell in love.  I knew that I had to get out of there fast or suffer the consequences.

In case you were wondering, we didn’t see any of the afore-mentioned yuppies during our stay, but we did spot a monkey!

Freshly squeezed at Cafe Van Kleef

After we left Mexicali Rose, my friends wanted to introduce me to one of the coolest jazz clubs in Oakland, Cafe Van Kleef. Known for a killer Greyhound, Cafe Van Kleef is located in the “Oaksterdam” district of downtown Oakland at 1621 Telegraph Avenue. The nickname developed quite recently due to the numerous cannabis clubs, cafes and dispensaries opening up in the area offering medical marijuana in both smokable and edible preparations to certified patients.

On the outside, Cafe Van Kleef reminds me of something out of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, but inside there is such an crazy, eclectic mix of decor it’s difficult to pinpoint.  There are all kinds of classical details like busts, columns and urns, but my favorite feature would have to be a huge painting that covers the entire wall opposite the bar.  The painting features a number of famous personalities throughout history all sitting in a cafe eating and drinking together.  I was able to recognize Freida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh and the Dalai Lama

My friends were eager for me to try Van Kleef’s signature drink, the Greyhound which is simply vodka and grapefruit juice.  The key to the bar’s success with this particular cocktail (as well as other citrus cocktails) is the fresh squeezed juice.  Our Greyhounds (modeled here by my dear friend Scott) would have served as the perfect breakfast beverage because of its star feature, a full quarter of a large grapefruit sitting on top!

If you’ve read some of my earlier blogs, you’ll know that the Circle Bar in Lee Circle was one of our (Shalom and I) most favorite hangouts.  Well, for a strange twist of fate and yet another example proving how small this world really is, one of the bartenders who now works at Van Kleef’s formerly worked at the Circle Bar in New Orleans.  What are the chances?  Even more amazing, the San Francisco Chronicle recently dubbed Cafe Van Kleef as “one of the five places in the West that would do the Big Easy proud.”

We relished the rest of the evening perched on high, well-padded stools around a large table, sipping our fresh fruit cocktails and enjoying the live jazz band cranking up the volume at the end of the hall.  I almost felt like I was back in New Orleans for a moment with the wailing sax, friends both old and new mixed with delicious cocktails. If you ever find yourself in Oakland…I highly recommend Cafe Van Kleef.

Making up for lost time at St. Joe’s

As soon as I stepped into St. Joe’s on the corner of Magazine and Joseph Streets, I was immediately upset that it took me so long to finally get there.  Ever since that crazy first year in New Orleans with Shalom, I developed an affinity for the “dive bar” and St. Joe’s delivers.  The wooden bar is long and narrow with a shortage of available seating; one small table at the front window and stools along the bar.  The combination of dim lighting, religious iconography and a bunch of old fashioned mirrors gives the space a Gothic feel but the drinks are what it’s all about.

When I asked for a cocktail recommendation from Paul, a longtime fixture of St. Joe’s who’s been intoxicating patrons for the past ten years, he suggested I try their signature drink, the Blueberry Mojito.  Since I have been literally inundated by mojitos in the past few months, I really wanted to try something different.

Patient with my indecision, Paul kindly offered another option, a margarita.  But what makes this margarita different from any other?  St. Joe’s creates their own sour mix with fresh lemon and lime juice, exactly how a traditional margarita should be.  With speed, precision and a heavy hand, Paul whipped up a delicious, yet classic margarita in a tall pint glass with brightly colored salt around the rim.

The simple cocktail was tart and refreshing (not syrupy-sweet) and I found it difficult not to gulp the concoction like a fresh glass of lemonade.  When Paul noticed me taking notes and snapping pictures, he said “If you’ve never been here before, you should go check out the back.”  I looked past the small pool table and turned back to my most helpful bartender and said “There’s a back?”

If he hadn’t told me I never would have known, but if you venture through the large door behind the pool table, traverse a small storage room and come outside, there is a wonderful patio space that you never would imagine existing in a bar like St. Joe’s.  Past some larger tables, they have built a gazebo-like structure featuring a full bar with a mixed Asian-themed decor!  Large brass Indian statues and Taj Mahal cut lattices are lit from above by a large cluster of red Japanese lanterns.  Although no one was out there (it was still early in the evening), I was told that hanging out in the back was the “place to be.”  It certainly looked like a party waiting to happen…I could just picture clusters of people out in the “Shangri-La” patio having the time of their lives.

By the time I returned to the main bar, I had finished my margarita and I was ready to break down and try the Blueberry Mojito.  I was a little nervous because fruity-flavored mojitos I have tried in the past severely disappointed, but this was something else.  By muddling dried blueberries with sugar and fresh mint, they have created a fruit mojito that surprised me by being absolutely awesome.  It wasn’t too sweet and the blueberries simply added to the summery feel that is already a distinct characteristic of the original cocktail.

As I sat and sipped, I couldn’t help thinking how much fun I could have had at St. Joe’s if I had only taken that first step inside the bar almost seven years ago.  A little sadness seeped into my previously chipper mood when I realized how much I had missed, even though I thought my local bar repertoire was pretty complete.

I raised my glass and made a private little toast…here’s to making up for lost time!

A haven for dogs and their people: The Bridge Lounge

Despite the obvious fact that there are dog lovers all over the city of New Orleans (and the world for that matter), there are depressingly few places we can take them.  Sure, we can take them to the park or to the levee, but how many establishments out there are legitimate fans of man’s best friend?

There is one bar I know of that actually encourages patrons to bring along their four-legged pals…the Bridge Lounge.

Located on the corner of Erato and Magazine Streets, the Bridge Lounge is unassuming and casual with sparse decor and low lights. A long, granite bar stretches along the right wall while black tables and chairs are scattered throughout the remaining space.  Also, perhaps to display the bar owner’s passion for pooches, framed black & white photographs of dogs adorn the walls wherever there’s available space. 

For those dog owners concerned about accidents, the bar floor is painted concrete, so you’ll have no worries and easy cleanup of any possible mishaps.  Additionally, with the usual sweltering summers we experience, the stone floor and bar only make for cooler temperatures, a definite plus for any overheated customer.

I had already heard rumors of the delicious mojitos featured at the Bridge Lounge, but I was in the mood for something a little different.  From several large chalkboard menus I selected one of their signature drinks, the Porch Swing, doesn’t that sound refreshing on a hot summer day?

Well, it certainly was!  Described as a “homemade lemonade and ginger ale mix,” the Porch Swing offered a crisp and cooling experience with muddled cucumber, Pims, lemonade, Hendrix Gin and ginger ale.  After finishing this tall refreshment, I could see myself sitting on a porch swing watching the world go by…which could either mean I’m insane or simply feeling the effects of my sublime bartender’s heavy handed pour.

When I drained the last delicious drops from my icy glass, the bartender (and soon to be owner) Max Chesney, graciously suggested I try another special cocktail from the chalkboard called St. Germain’s Infirmary.  Although this might sound dangerous considering my earlier hallucinations, I decided to take the risk.  At any rate, I knew a concoction prepared with St.Germain’s Elderflower Liquor could only be another fantastic drinking experience.

Made with peach bitters, house made sour mix, St. Germain Elderflower Liquor, a splash of orange juice and some New Amsterdam Gin, the St. Germaine’s Infirmary packed an herbal infused punch along with the sweet taste of summer fruit. While sipping, I turned around on my bar stool and watched as a sudden, summertime downpour drove more customers inside.  Someone once told me it was good luck to see rain and sunshine at the same time and I couldn’t help but feel fortuitous while relaxing at the Bridge Lounge.

The rain stopped almost as suddenly as it started and I was forced to take my leave.  Unfortunately, I had to leave my dog Pippin at home and he desperately needed to go for a walk since I’d been gone most of the day.  Next time, I’ll just bring my sweet shihtzu with me and we can both take our ease together.  Maybe Max will even hang Pippin’s photograph on the doggie wall of fame?  I will have to go back for a few more drinks and find out…

“Toasting with Margarita” at Le Booze

When I first heard about “Toasting with Margarita” at Le Booze in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, I knew I just had to attend at least once. Since Margarita Bergen recently received her bartender’s license, I was under the impression that the social diva herself would be behind the bar for the happy hour serving drinks with a local celebrity guest. Although I sadly misinterpreted the event, I still had a fantastic time hanging out with Margarita and her incredibly diverse group of friends and admirers while we sipped cocktails priced at only $7 for this very special happy hour.

Le Booze is a long, copper-topped bar with French doors that open up right onto Bourbon Street. Lucky enough to quickly find parking on Dauphine, I had arrived a little bit early and ordered one of the “suggested” cocktails, a Blackberry Margarita. Being a purist when it comes to margaritas, the sweetness of the drink didn’t really appeal to me, but I love blackberries and considered it well worth the risk.

Shortly after taking my first sip, in walks Margarita cradling her sweet puppy dog Chiquita and bursting with smiles. You just can’t help being friends with someone who has a knack for making you feel like the most important person in the world. Although she seemed a bit nervous concerning the turnout for the event, she really had nothing to worry about.

Before I finished my drink, people began filing into the small space, finding stools around the bar and ordering the particular beverages that were Margarita “tested & approved.” I decided to try the mojito next that had a champagne topper as opposed to club soda. I liked this cocktail much more than the last, not only because it was a freshly-muddled mojito (as it should be), but the champagne added a distinct crispness to the summertime drink that I really enjoyed.

Whenever you hang out at a Margarita-hosted event, you can be sure to meet some incredibly colorful and interesting people. At this particular mini-soiree, I was honored to meet the one and only, Uncle Lionel. Lionel Batiste is a famous jazz and blues musician who has been performing in New Orleans since the early 40’s when he was only 11 years old! He is such a sweet gentleman who graciously allowed me to photograph him and I do hope I get the opportunity to meet him again one day soon.

In case you were wondering, Margarita hosts her “Toasting” event every other Tuesday at Le Booze so the next happy hour should be held on May 25th. As we all know, every hour spent with the social diva of New Orleans is a happy hour so be sure not to miss it!