Sunday, April 03, 2011

art -n- good eats!

Today was a great day, despite the rainy, snowy Spring weather we had today here in Michigan. First we went to drop off my work for my art show in Lake Orion at The Flint St. Gallery. While we were out there, we got a recommendation from my friend Kelli to check out Union Woodshop for lunch since we were out that way.

The restaurant has a very cool, art deco retro vibe with warm cozy, glowing lights, candles on the tables and lots of wood with kraft paper on the tables. The first thing you smell upon entering the building is wood from the wood burning oven. You're immediately in cozy heaven! I enjoyed the food presentation just as well the food itself with the serving dishes being a mix of regular white dishes and metal, half-size jelly roll pans. Very fitting I thought to the overall theme/feel of the restaurant.

We decided to do some share-sies so we could try out more of what the restaurant had to offer. We shared the special appetizer of smoked venison sausage with Bourbon, Michigan Cherry Mustard, Union Mac & Cheese, Grilled Chicken Club Samiches and for dessert the Butter Scotch Pudding.

The Venison Sausage was smoked-perfectly, and finished with a shade of spice. The sauce was slightly, spicy but, chocked full of whole, plump Michigan cherries which was was a pleasant surprise, since I thought it was going to be more of a pureed sauce. Needless to say, the sauce accompanied the sausage wonderfully. For only $4.50... it's a must try.

Okay, hands down, this is the BEST baked Mac & Cheese I have ever eaten. It's a huge portion of penne pasta with a Bechamel sauce, loaded with Vermont Sharp Cheddar, Pinconning and the most amazing Parmesan crunchy crust. I can't stress it to you enough how amazing the crust was. Perfectly, cheesy, deep-golden brown and crispy. This is a main course and if you like, you can add ham to it as well. We opted for ham-less.

This is not your normal Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich. No sir. For starters, the maple bacon is house made. Yes, I said it, house made! It has the perfect amount of maple-flavor and is thick-cut with that salty, chewy bite that every bacon lover loves. It's too bad they don't sell it by the pound, because we inquired and my husband was ready to buy some for home. The Memphis Mayo is a tomato/vinegar base and definitely adds to the overall flavor of the sandwich while not to overpower. Along with the sandwich you also get a generous portion of potato salad, this salad is not just an accompaniment or after thought as you find with most restaurant sides. It's loaded with big chunks of Yukon Gold potatoes, fresh dill, whole grain mustard, red onion and again some more of that amazing house made bacon. I detected some celery seed as well. I'd go back just for the potato salad. Yes, it's that good!

The waitress who was very on top of her game, was very helpful and courteous and recommended the Butter Scotch Pudding for dessert if we were up for it. I only had half of my half of sandwich so I could make sure I had room for dessert. So, pudding. I'm not a big pudding fan. This was creamy and dreamy and what butterscotch pudding dreams to taste like. It's topped with fresh whipped cream and house-smoked sea salt. Intrigued? So were we... but very happy with our choice. It was that perfect combination of that subtly salty-sweet we craved at the end of our meal.

The kitchen was bustling for a late lunch crowd and the dishes for the other patrons were coming out of the kitchen at a rapid-pace. Everything looked dandy! Wood-Fired pizzas, Woodsticks (which are wood-fired breadsticks with a garlic -butter cream cheese dip -- a carb-lovers dream!) Burgers, Baby Back Ribs, Cedar Planked Salmon, Smoked Ribeye, Brisket, and more... This is definitely a gem in Clarkston. Check 'em out on facebook too! There's several pics of their dishes. If you plan on heading out to a concert this Summer at DTE, I'd go out out that way early and make a pre-concert stop for lunch or dinner!

Before I head out, this one is for the ladies! If you check out the restaurant, go take a peek in the rest room near the kitchen to see the graphic, purple & gold deco wallpaper and gold-leaf ceiling. Ultra hip, stylish!

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