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Story by Eric Christenson

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Favorite TV Show: Parks and Recreation
An episode to get you started: “Practice Date” (S2, E4)

Honestly, I could go on and on and on about why Parks and Rec is the best show on TV, probably to ad nauseum. But the point is, I love it SO much! It’s charming, witty, smart, dumb, hilarious, heartfelt and all around perfect.

Oh, what’s that? You watched it when it first premiered and it wasn’t great? YOU’RE TELLING ME. But honestly, if you stick around past the so-so six-episode first season (which actually really grows on you), the show has the best payoff ever. Its second season was indescribably pristine and full of so many perfect TV moments. And now as its third season is winding down, the show’s never been more on top of its game.

Every character is lovable and in a generation where shows like Community and 30 Rock (both of which I love!) are all based around snark and cynicism, Parks and Recreation is sweet relief with its small-town-charm optimism. So stick around and thank me later.

Favorite Artist: The Tallest Man on Earth
A song to get you started: “You’re Going Back”

The Tallest Man on Earth is one average-height Swede named Kristian Matsson, who plays stomping acoustic folk gems a la Bob Dylan (I’m sure by now he’s WAY TIRED of the Dylan comparison) by himself.

He’s rarely accompanied by anything, and his gravelly, throaty growl, while a little hard to get used to at first, is sincerely one-of-a-kind and one of the most talented performers of our generation. His songwriting is phenomenal, but even better is his talent for finger-picking acoustic guitar and plucking banjo. The songs release at a frightening pace sometimes, but it’s all controlled and really excellent to listen to.

It’s perfect for listening to driving home on a highway. It just makes sense. You’ll just have to try it.

Favorite Local Restaurant: Northwoods Café (Norske Nook)
A menu item to get you started: Anything with French fries and blackberry cream cheese pie

I recently visited the Northwoods Café on a Friday night at like 10 p.m. with my girlfriend to use a gift card my mom gave us and try it out, and boy, was I impressed. I got a bacon cheeseburger and fries and made sure to save room for pie.

The burger was very good, but better than anything I’ve had before were the French fries. Holy cats, they were good. They’re fried to golden perfection, crispy, salty and heavenly.

Then, since it was so late, our pie was FREE because I think they were getting rid of it. They handed us a menu for the pies and over half of them (probably like 25 of them) had won first prize in a national pie contest. That’s insane! I got the blackberry cream cheese pie and it blew me away. I also tried the dutch apple cream cheese, which was phenomenal. Whatever you do, get pie, and you’ll never go anywhere else.

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