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geoffbilnew westminsterSince March 18, 200724 Reviews
Average Rating
3 (2.9)
  • Food3 (2.8)
  • Service3.5 (3.3)
  • Value3 (2.8)
  • Ambiance3 (2.8)

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 24 Reviews Found
Darby's Pub2001 MacDonald Street, Vancouver
A tad disappointing
Submitted Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 7:22pm [Dine in]

We had been looking forward to trying the burgers here for some time. My partner had one with edam cheese and I ordered the one with bacon and aged cheddar. Both came with caesar salads. The ingredients were no question of a higher than average quality, and the first bite of my burger, from the middle, was absolutely delicious. Outside of the middle, however, the flavor of the meat and toppings was overwhelmed by mayonnaise. My partner's burger was blander; perhaps that might have been expected. Tap selection here is also quite mediocre, and the loud ambiance with numerous t.v.'s didn't help (if I were there for a hockey game, I might have felt differently). Service also left something to be desired; I ended up having to retrieve my own ketchup from the bar. All in all, the food was interesting enough to warrant a return visit if I'm in the neighborhood for an extended period of time and feel like taking in a hockey game, but, coupled with the mediocre taps, not compelling enough to justify a trip on its own. The Wolf and Hound (great taps), The Corner (wonderful food), and the Railway Club (fantastic ambiance) are far superior in their respective areas of expertise.

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New management
Corner, The612 Davie St, Vancouver
Takes pub fare to a new level
Submitted Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 12:25am [Dine in]

I had the ground-steak Corner burger with dijon mustard, bacon and cheddar, and my partner had the chicken wings. The burger was amazing - juicy, with minimal bun, strong cheddar and very flavorful dijon mustard spread. The fries that came with the burger were less exciting, but the fact that they already had a sprinkling of vinegar, salt and pepper, and came accompanied by sumptuous garlic mayo made them above average. The wings were likewise unconventional but delicious - oversized, and covered in something resembling a southern fried chicken batter. I've actually never had wings like this before. One downside for a place marketing itself as an upscale pub is that tap selection was somewhat mediocre (I ended up having Keith's), which is in fact the only thing keeping my "Food" rating from being a solid 5. Other shortcomings might be attributed to the newness of the place: They ran out of Stanley Park Amber Ale early in the evening that it was supposed to be on special; the server was effective and polite but seemed somewhat confused and at times perhaps a trifle too attentive. All in all, the food was wonderful and very, very reasonably priced, and I look forward to returning to try some of their other dishes, perhaps with a pint of more interesting beer, should they have it in stock.

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Hamburger Mary's Diner1202 Davie Street, Vancouver
A great place for burgers
Submitted Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 10:31pm [Dine in]

This place would deserve a '5' for food if I were judging based on their free-range bison/muskox/venison burger. This is the best burger I've had anywhere (Vera's and pubs included), and is absolutely mouthwatering when served medium rare and with cheddar and mozzarella. The meat itself tastes amazing, and the fact that I didn't feel vaguely ill afterward tells me that it's not overly seasoned. I'd have one every day were it not for the obvious difficulties that would cause for the arteries. My '4' rating stems from two disappointingly bland breakfasts I experienced here some time ago (the vegetarian omelette and eggs/sausages). My partner enjoys their deluxe grilled cheese. I've had their caesar salad several times, and it is better than average. Their fries are exceptionally good as well. We've never had issues with the service but, then again, we tend to eat here late in the evening when it's less busy. Their tap selection is poor (Granville Island) but, as far as I know, it's the only place to get a pint after the pubs close, and they're not overpriced either. Highly recommended.

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Lion's Pub888 West Cordova St., Vancouver
Third try was not a charm. . .
Submitted Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 10:14pm [Dine in]

After a first visit consisting of drinks and appetizers, while the latter were predictable at best, the decent tap selection and comfortable ambiance made us want to return. On our second visit, I tried the bangers and mash, which were not bad, but definitely nothing special. For our third visit, I ordered a burger with bacon, mushrooms and cheddar, which was good in spite of the bacon being hard as a rock, and the accompanying caesar salad was fine, though nothing extraordinary. My partner ordered a chicken pot pie which was not only obviously cooked from frozen, but tasted worse and more processed than its no-name brand counterpart. I have no idea why they would serve such a thing. We assumed that, because it was their "pie of the day," it would have to stand out in some way or at least be of a decent quality. Otherwise, why advertise it as such? The fries that came with it were also sub-standard - not tempting in the least, and definitely not worth finishing. To top it all off, my partner noticed a bunch of flakes in the bottom of her pint and asked me to smell it. Even with beer in it, the glass had a foul odor suggesting it was poorly rinsed and likely poured when it still had old dishwater food fragments in it. Our server was very nice (and very honest when she said that several other dishes on the menu were not worth trying) and, after we'd already left, we thought we might have gotten a free pint for our troubles. There's something that's just depressing about a pub that charges $7+ per pint (we had Boddington's and Newcastle) and serves sub-standard food, however. I think we were just glad to be out of there. We won't be returning.

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Acme Cafe51 West Hastings, Vancouver
A great reason to head to West Hastings.
Submitted Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 10:44pm [Dine in]

My partner and I have been here twice. The first time, for dessert, we had the apple pie and torte with coffee. The pie was wonderful - a deliciously flaky crust and not too sweet. We are used to making pies ourselves without sugar, and this one tasted as though the apples they used were either sweet to begin with, or perhaps apple sauce was used as a sweetener. In any case, this is the best pie either of us have ever had in a restaurant (Pie at most restaurants tastes like glorified candy). The torte was also good, albeit a tad rich with the cherries inside (though I might have expected as much). The chocolate was also very fudgy, however, which was nice, and high in cocoa. Both desserts were very fresh-tasting.

We tried lunch for our second visit. The tuna sandwich was amazing - garlicky, flavorful, and with a hint of horseradish. The foccacia bread was a nice touch. The coleslaw was great; in my opinion, this is the only way broccoli should be served. I was skeptical about having potato chips with the meal, home-made or no, as it's a snack I have absolutely no interest in. Given the low sodium content of the meal, however, it made perfect sense, and I was surprised to find myself enjoying them. The spinach salad was everything a spinach salad should be - large, with lots of cranberries, and walnuts and goat cheese to spare. The raspberry vinagrette was fruity without being too sweet (which is a mistake other restaurants make in serving the dish). The endives were wonderful. One downside was that the "grilled chicken" I ordered on top appeared to be from one of those ubiquitous compressed chicken patties, which for some reason everyone is serving these days (including Moxie's, Earl's and the Cactus Club). It was nice to have the protein, but it didn't add any excitement or flavor to the dish.

One major upside is the location. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful inside, and fits in well with its improving downtown east side surroundings. I also noticed during my visit that the manager let several people from outside into the restaurant to use the bathroom - people who, to judge from their appearance, would not be paying patrons, present or future. In my opinion, for a business to be truly successful in such a socioeconomically challenged community, this type of goodwill toward one's neighbors is essential. I have no use personally for another economically polarized, "gentrified" Gastown, nice as it is in many respects. My impression was sealed when I went to use the washroom myself and found it spotless. I ultimately left the restaurant feeling as if I'd contributed in a concrete way to a socially responsible, DTES renaissance, with good food and reasonable prices besides.

The service has also been fantastic both times we've been there. The coffee is a good roast, and the refills are truly "bottomless," as the menu says (I think I had 7 cups over the course of my second visit, and finally had to turn down a refill). The servers we've had have been friendly and attentive. I look forward to trying their meatloaf next time and enjoying a pint or two. This place is a keeper. The meat loaf is next on my list to try. . .

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Closed
Central Bistro & Lounge1072 Denman Street, Vancouver
Disappointing
Submitted Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 2:57pm [Dine in]

We decided to try this place for Sunday brunch, owing to the fact that it's always busy, and the menu is enticing.

Our service was a tad lackluster, but the server was also incredibly busy, so no offense taken. The ambiance was alright, once we switched from a dark seat by the smelly bathroom to one on the lovely patio instead. The coffee, however, wasn't terribly good - which is unfortunate, given that even Joe's serves an organic roast. As for the food, the portions were large, but the quality simply wasn't there. I ordered the "spicy" steak hash, which came with hollandaise and "salsa." The former was quite tasty, though there wasn't enough of it. The latter tasted like canned tomatoes (which would belie their claim that they make their food "from scratch," and with "fresh ingredients"), with little or no flavor apart from a vague saltiness and canned tomato taste. Needless to say, there was no "spice" to speak of. My partner ordered a goat cheese and pesto scramble, which featured an apparently tasteless "pesto," and she was more than halfway through before she could spot the first hint of goat cheese. One upside for both dishes was the free range eggs.

What is truly disappointing is that, for the prices we paid ($15 and $10.50 respectively), we could have eaten at the Raincity Grill across the street instead, which serves excellent coffee and some of the best brunch food I've ever tasted. The difference? One markets itself as a white tablecloth restaurant, while the other touts a more "casual" ambiance. Better value and taste can also be had across the street at the Acacia Fillo Cafe, at the Elbow Room Cafe on Davie (if you can put up with the service), Joe's on Davie and Denman, and the Score and Melriches on Davie. There's no reason in this city to pay a premium for mediocre food.

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Phnom Penh Restaurant244 E Georgia St, Vancouver
Disappointing
Submitted Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 12:23am [Dine in]

We were in search of something unique in Vancouver and, being partial to Asian cuisine - Vietnamese and especially Japanese - decided to give this place a shot.

The wait to get in at 6pm on a Saturday night for us two was approximately 20 minutes, which wasn't bad, and we were seated at the end of a larger table, so we were spared sitting directly beside a noisy group. Unfortunately, the extremely crowded, noisy ambiance was off-putting, as was the lighting. I felt more like I was at work, or perhaps in a soup kitchen, rather than sitting down to enjoy a restaurant dinner. McDonald's offers a more relaxing atmosphere.

The butter beef was far too salty and sweet, though the meat itself was quite tender. The papaya salad was way, way too sweet, and tasted like it was 80% sugar cane juice, though the sweet beef jerky on top was kind of a nice touch. The frog legs, the first I'd tried, were tender, but far too greasy and salty. The highlight of the meal was something that consisted of shrimp paste and pork on a rice patty. It was a tad bland, but pleasant enough with the addition of some chili paste.

In the hope of salvaging some much-needed vegetable nutrition from this sugar- and salt-infested meal, I was in the midst of eating the lettuce from my frog leg plate, when the waitress promptly took the plate and stacked another on top of it. I vocalized my discontent, saying "I suppose they don't expect their customers to actually eat the vegetables," or something to that effect, but got no response. Likely as not, she probably didn't speak English, which would be understandable. If you love sugar and salt, I suppose this is the place for you, though - be warned - pub fare is a detoxifying experience by comparison. As for me, the meal cost a little over $50, which I would love to have back.

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Closed
Theresa's1260 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
Neat place, but food somewhat lacking
Submitted Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 4:05pm [Dine in]

We checked Theresa's out for brunch this afternoon. It's on a particularly beautiful stretch of the Drive, directly across the street from Grandview Park, and it has the ambiance to match - unpretentious, very decent music, laid back but friendly service. Food is very reasonably priced. The bread used for the toast was wonderfully sweet and nutty, the organic peanut butter was a nice touch, and the skin-on potatoes with full cloves of garlic were very good. The organic eggs also made for a pleasant experience, and the coffee was decent - not the best organic/free trade coffee out there, but much nicer than the alternative (i.e. Tim Horton's). The sausages that came with my breakfast, on the other hand, looked like they came from a President's Choice jumbo pack - salty, and with plenty of food coloring to spare. To judge by the gluten-free pancakes and tofu options on offer, however, my guess is that this is a restaurant that caters predominantly to vegans and vegetarians, so I'm not surprised to see that their meat products don't quite cut it. That said, there are so many wonderful places to try that I'll probably not return for awhile - and, even then, only when I'm in the mood for a vegetarian breakfast. After all, there's so many more places out there worth trying.

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Tanpopo1122 Denman Street, Vancouver
Poor sushi by Vancouver standards
Submitted Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 10:53pm [Dine in]

We ordered the 18.95 all-you-can-eat for two people. My expectations for an all-you-can-eat sushi joint are generally not high, but this was the most disappointing of the lot I've been to (food would rate a 1.5 out of 5). The only highlight was the salmon and toro sashimi. The salmon is wild, so it has a nicer color and taste. The spicy salmon and tuna sashimi, however, was ruined by a sauce that was too sweet and not nearly hot enough. Similarly, the bacon-wrapped scallops came with microwavable bacon, the deep-fried pork cutlets had obviously come out of a bag, the spinach for the gommae was old, the 'crunch' roll, instead of being a tempura-coated california roll, turned out to be merely tempura batter surrounded by rice, the incredibly salty salad dressing, far from the miso I've come to expect, was obviously Kraft or worse (which was a shame, because the generally unhealthy food leaves one craving greens). The pork spring rolls and BBQ salmon was ok. For nearly $40, we could have had the same amount of food at the Samurai, Kitstaya or any number of other restaurants, except that it would have been much healthier and of infinitely higher quality. Alas, I will never again heed sushi recommendations from out-of-towners - unless they're from Japan or Korea, of course.

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La Brasserie1091 Davie Street, Vancouver
We've had better brunch experiences
Submitted Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 3:06pm [Dine in]

My partner and I decided to try this place, owing to the favorable reviews here, and the fact that the Raincity Grill has raised our standards for weekend brunch.

I had the oeufs du jour, which consisted of poached free-range eggs with braised beef, bernaise, au jus, potatoes and pearl onions. At a mere $11, the dish was of good value, if a tad salty, but then I might have expected as much when I ordered it.

My partner had the croque madame, which consisted of two slices of brioche sandwiching a slice of bacon or ham, a poached egg, and bernaise. This was a very filling dish, though we were unsure whether or not the brioche had been made with butter or oil. There's much better brioche out there, though for $13, we weren't complaining.

The surprise, however, came with the bill for the French-press coffee. The menu has it listed for $3.00, my partner and I each ordered one, and the first press that came to the table was large enough for two cups. Naturally, I expected that each "coffee" consisted of two cups - this is what I've come to expect at restaurants offering equal or higher quality brunch. The waitress warned me when I asked for a refill that I would be getting a second press, which I was fine with. After all, $6 for coffee for two is not all that bad, I thought. The bill, when it arrived, however, showed a whopping $12 for coffee! On top of that, it did not even taste like an organic roast, and the presses leaked an unusual quantity of grinds into the coffee itself.

Unfortunately for our friendly and attentive server, there was no tip, in spite of the tab's bold-red warning just above the $12 coffee that read "gratuity not included." (Olympics or no, we weren't impressed and won't be returning).

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Closed
Tomato Fresh Food Cafe2486 Bayswater Street, Vancouver
generally disappointing
Submitted Saturday, November 28, 2009 - 6:40am [Dine in]

We were intrigued by some of the previous reviews, and so decided to give this place a try. The lack of customer traffic on a Friday night should have told us something. Oh well. We ordered crab cakes to start, which were less than enthralling and very small. My partner's tagliatelle with prawns was a decent portion, though somewhat lacking in flavor. My chicken breast - stuffed with walnuts and meat and cheese - was interesting and cooked to perfection, but I'm afraid the taste did not live up to the promise of the ingredients and the rather exotic price tag. We couldn't have asked for better service, though the interior layout and decor reminded us both of something like a renovated family diner. The only real upside for us were the free-range and organic ingredients, which, mind you, can be had elsewhere in tastier combinations, larger portions, and for much more reasonable prices.

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Red Umbrella Cafe1707 Davie Street, Vancouver
Of Mice and Meals
Submitted Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 5:12pm [Dine in]

I was actually quite impressed with the quality of the food, and the fact that my breakfast didn't come with hashbrowns was a plus for me. The service was also very friendly and genuine, and the atmosphere very relaxing, so that I had no difficulty leaving a half-decent tip when I left.

The problem? I noticed mouse quite a few mouse droppings on the window ledge right beside my otherwise wonderful East-facing window seat. Having once had mice break into our kitchen while we were away, and having had to throw out a toaster and thoroughly sanitize our cupboards and countertops, seeing mouse droppings mere inches from the plate I was eating from was a thorougly unappetizing experience.

I tipped with the foreknowledge that I would have to tell the server about this when I went up to pay. While I wasn't looking for a freebie, I did think it was important for her to know, and thought to myself that it was a place I wouldn't otherwise mind returning to. Unfortunately, as her English was rather poor, she didn't understand me (I tried explaining myself several different ways), and I didn't want to make too big of an issue, lest this should upset the other customers enjoying their meals. She tried to explain to me that there were no mice in the restaurant, and that the mess by the window was two years old. We were obviously not communicating adequately.

My disappointment was twofold: first, that I wouldn't be able to eat in this otherwise nice little restaurant again; second, that this put me off eating out in general. After all, how many restaurants with rodent infestations are out there, who simply do a better job of superficially cleaning up the mess before they open for business in the morning?

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Paddlewheeler Pub810 Quayside Drive, #126, New Westminster
The quay needs much better than this
Submitted Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 1:40am [Dine in]

My girlfriend and I didn't enjoy our visit to this pub very much. First, the live music was far too loud and not all that great, the non-smoking area we were sitting in was quite smoky from the door to the patio being repeatedly opened. Second, the food was ok (at least the cheese on the burger was real), but did not justify the unpleasant ambiance (the caesar salad dressing was probably home-made, but tasted a little Kraft-ish all the same). Third, the service wasn't all that great, possibly due to the fact that the music was so loud and sub-par that the server couldn't concentrate on anything. I ended up ordering mediocre beer because she said it was the only kind on special, when it turned out that everything else (including the one I actually wanted) was actually the same price. The bathrooms, to top it off, were more disgusting than the average pub. To be sure, music taste is subjective, the waitress was probably having a bad night, and pub bathrooms have never been my favourite hang-out, but I'll never be back to this place.

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Gypsy Rose Cafe2017 West 4th, Vancouver
nice little place
Submitted Saturday, April 7, 2007 - 1:33am [Dine in]

I ordered a feta, spinach and eggplant crepe, which was delicious and came within about 10 minutes. The coffee was also extremely good, and a cinnamon stick my girlfriend ordered was quite tasty. The service was also good, as evinced by my getting a free refill on the coffee (which I don't think is supposed to be free) and the fact that, when they overcooked my girlfriend's panini, they were more than happy to cook her another. A few quibbles: It would have been nice to get something with my crepe, but it just came on its own; my girlfriend's panini was good but rather boring; and, finally, it would be great to eat such wonderful crepes in a sit-down atmosphere. Overall, certainly a good place, but there is some room for improvement (3.5 would be an ideal overall rating).

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Youngs Cafe609 12th Street, New Westminster
disappointing
Submitted Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 4:10pm [Dine in]

The restaurant is always full and it looks nice inside, so we thought we'd give it a try. We had the breakfast special first, but made the mistake of adding garlic to the potatoes, only to discover that the garlic was raw and the potatoes weren't cooked too well. We also had to wait a long time for the coffee. Confused as to why this place was evidently so popular, we thought we'd get the Chinese food for take-out one night. While certainly not the worst we've had, it left much to be desired: it was quite bland, and left an unfortunate canola-oil-like aftertaste. This might be good for some people, but we certainly didn't enjoy either of our experiences.

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On On Wonton House5640 Kingsway, Burnaby
cheap but disappointing
Submitted Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 1:23am [Dine in]

Like the other reviewer, we thought we'd finally try this restaurant. There were no problems with the service, the tea came right away, and the wonton soup came within a few minutes of placing the order. The meats we ordered (wonton, s&s pork, lemon chicken) were, however, of dubious quality. The pork, in particular, was quite tough and tasted as if it had been cooked much earlier and microwaved or something. It was fairly inexpensive, but we'll never be back; for a few dollars more, there is much better Chinese Canadian food out there that is well worth the money (my rating would ideally be about 2.5 or so).

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Rivers Reach Pub320 6th St., New Westminster
great expectations
Submitted Friday, March 23, 2007 - 8:55am [Dine in]

I had been in several times for a drink at this great-looking pub, when I decided to try the food with my girlfriend one night. I was aghast to discover that, unlike at most pubs, the "cheese" on my burger was a disgusting slice of processed cheese, not the real stuff one would expect to get for a pub (not McDonald's) price. The server was kind enough to explain to me that she had had many previous complaints about this and didn't know why the cheese hadn't been changed, but she didn't offer to take anything off my bill, the taste of my entree was ruined, and I've never been back. I've heard good things about the place (presumably, some of their food is decent), but personally, I just can't trust that menu.

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Amelia Restaurant640 12th Street, New Westminster
hit and miss, but worth a try
Submitted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 1:59pm [Dine in]

Amelia's is one of the best things on 12th street. The prices are good, and the food (particularly the breakfast specials) is easily as good as - sometimes bettern than - that at large restaurant chains. The service usually leaves a little to be desired, though. This used to be the fault of a rude and overbearing server. The primary server now is friendly and polite, but she is run off her feet serving the whole restaurant while the manager drinks coffee and otherwise does nothing. This makes getting a refill inconvenient, but I was horrified this morning to witness the manager telling the employee to physically track down a customer at his place of work to insist that he pay for a meal he forgot to pay for. I'd gladly pay a couple of extra dollars to not have to witness that.

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Marcello Pizzeria1404 Commercial, Vancouver
better than I expected
Submitted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 3:54am [Dine in]

With all of the conflicting reviews of this restaurant, I had my doubts, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was initially disappointed by the lack of bread at the beginning of the meal (a feature at both Anton's and Anducci's), but my pasta dish was unique and quite tasty (my partner's was a little bland). The service was also much better than what I'd heard it would be, which was also nice. Sum total: a tad overpriced, but slightly above-average food and overall experience. I'll probably return in a month or two.

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Naam, The2724 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
hit and miss
Submitted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 3:45am [Dine in]

I've been going to the Naam for a few years now. Once in awhile, the food, service and general experience are all as good as they can be, but usually something is lacking. I've had perfect salads and salads with leaves that are for the most part rotten (there's not excuse for this at a veggie restaurant!). I've had snobby service that made me angry and really good service that warranted a hefty tip. My most consistent complaint, however, is the environment: It's frequently a tad too loud and crowded in there for my liking and, if you can't choose your company at any restaurant, for some reason there are a lot of inconsiderate Naam customers out there. The menu is an excellent introduction to veggie food, but I'd like some more consistency and a better overall experience.

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