Mom, Rachel and I drove through historic downtown Hudson, Wisconsin in search of a quick lunch spot before graduation. Barker’s Bar & Grill jumped out at us as we walked along, partly because it looked like a cute place with simple sandwiches, but mostly because wonderful smells were drawing us in. Around the table mom had breaded chicken fingers and hand-cut french fries, Rachel – appropriately – a Rachel with fries, and me a grilled black pepper turkey and swiss and a walnut tarragon coleslaw.

A reception was held on Northrop Mall in front of the auditorium after commencement – “light refreshments and snacks.” More like gourmet mini desserts, all-you-can-eat! The spread ranged from chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate mousse in tiny champagne glasses, to tiramisu and at least five flavors of mini cheesecake, to lemon or key lime bars and decadent regular or rocky road brownie squares.

Let’s not forget the M cookies. I made sure to eat mine upside down. W cookies for Wisconsin… get it?!

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[A master’s degree does not confer austerity.]

After nourishment and a grueling photo session, Dad, Sandy, Mom, Rach and I were off to the Muddy Pig – my choice for a celebration supper.

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It’s known for a miles-long list of tap beers from around the world.

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Blackened salmon filet with tomato aioli on a Miami onion roll and homemade kettle chips. An Oberon weissbier for toasting. Impressively good food and drink.

Breakfast one last time from a beloved Minneapolis haunt. Isles Bun & Coffee.

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The aromas of butter and cinnamon wafting on the air a block away as the buns are handmade in small batches, decadent velvety icing in a self-serve container on the counter, prices so low you’re tempted to pay more because everything is so darn wonderful. Nothing says ‘good morning’ better than tucking into these pillowy soft buns, a Sebastian Joe’s coffee alongside. Get thee to the Bunnery!

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