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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Union Woodshop

It was a long day, and I dragged myself home exhausted and ready for some serious R&R.

As I pulled up, Wes met me at the car to carry my bags in (I love when he does this), and said, "Wanna go to the new Union?"

Well, of course I do! I perked up immediately, and we hopped in the car for our semi-annual trek to Clarkston, about 45 minutes from home, knowing I'd be in for a fun night.

The Union, as I've written previously in this space, is a little jewel of a place. And the new Union, officially called The Union Woodshop, a few doors down from the original, promises to add a whole new dimension to Clarkston's tiny downtown.

Owned by friends Curt and Ann Catallo, the interior, designed by Ann, can best be described as "urban rustic" - a modern interpretation of the old fashioned lodge. Customers sit at handmade plank tables and fabulous reclaimed wooden chairs. They drink water and beer in vintage Mason jars. Thin planks of blondwood line the walls, along with cheerful art pieces and artifacts.

Billed as a "handcrafted, woodfired joint," The Woodshop is all about creative BBQ. We started with house smoked mildly spiced chicken wings with bleu cheese dip and woodsticks (aka breadsticks). At each table is a flight of regional BBQ sauces, from Memphis, Texas, Alabama and Chinatown NYC. We tried them all, and deemed the Chinatown the best.

For our entree, we had pizza with arugula, San Marzano tomato sauce, prosciutto and a blend of cheeses, paired with a Santa Martina Super Tuscan. We also had meltingly tender pulled pork with the legendary Union mac and cheese (penne rigate, Vermont sharp cheddar Pinconning, bechamel, parmesan and a crunchy crust), a heavenly creamy sweet potato mash with spicy charred jalapeno and Michigan maple syrup and corn bread, with Kid Rock's Badass beer. Delicious.

For dessert, Curt presented us with an amazing salted butterscotch pudding with fresh cream (this alone is worth the trip) and a deep fried Twinkie with chocolate sauce. Yes, this place has a sense of humor, too.

We ran into some friends, shared a lot of laughs and enjoyed a down-home dinner. Did I say I was tired? 

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