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Hood Canal: Union Country Store

22-Aug-2006
 
 
 
While wandering the shores of Hood Canal last week, I came across the Union Country Store in Union right where the Hood Canal makes its "Big Bend".  I remembered reading something about this store several years ago so I decided to check it out.  
 
Inside is a bit of an odd conglomeration of things:  grocery items, of course; scented candles; a huge stack of old LPs; a great wine and cheese selection; homemade dips and take out meals; and a deli counter/coffee bar/ice cream case.  There were other things, too, but that will give you an idea.  When I walked in the place smelled of baked goods fresh from the oven!  Upon further inspection I found trays of brownies, blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls sitting near the cash register/deli counter.  I chose a cinnamon roll and asked for a cup of tea. 
 
Out on the front porch are a couple of chairs (and a hammock!) with a view across the highway of the canal and Union’s other main establishment, the Union Bay Cafe, which really isn’t a cafe but a country tavern.  There was quite a lot of noise that morning as the roof was being repaired and extended but it was kind of good noise – workers yelling back and forth, some hammering and sawing.  I took a seat while workmen scurried around me as they went about their work. 
 
The cinnamon roll was heavenly!  Not too big (I hate the monsters you find in so many shops), the dough was light yet had the density that makes a good roll, the warm cinnamon fragrance and taste enveloped me and the frosting was sweet but not overwhelming.  It wasn’t fancy-schmancy, just a good, simple pastry made with care.  I was very happy.  In talking with the proprietor after I was done, he told me that he’d been working on his recipe for a couple years and was now pretty happy with it. 
 
I came back the next day for another one.  Now this is a small store and area, so the roll I had on day 2 was one made on day 1.  But even being "day old" it was good! 
 
As I was leaving Hood Canal to make my way home I made one last stop at the store.  I had been eying their line of housemade dips and spreads but didn’t want to purchase them until I’d be able to get it home and into good refrigeration fairly quickly.  I was a little disappointed as I’d seen one earlier that was some sort of Parmesan combination but it wasn’t available at the time I was ready to purchase.  Instead I picked up a pint of the Garlic-Clam dip. 
 
I opened it a day or two after I got home and was transported back to my college days!  Well, not exactly as this was a dip of a different color from the old dip in a plastic tub that we used to get!  But still that great feeling of sitting around with friends with a bag of Ruffles and a tub of dip came rushing back.  This clam dip, however, is made with a beautiful fresh sour cream, a nice amount of garlic (you can taste it but it’s not overwhelming) and big pieces of fresh clams. 
 
I ended up eating mine with Wheat Thins but I really wished I’d had some good salty chips in the house!  Well, I still have plenty left and so I’ll have the opportunity to try that combination out… The day I purchased, they also had lots of an Artichoke and Crab dip in the case.  It sounded really good but I make that on my own so often that I decided to try the Garlic-Clam and I’m really glad that I did. 
 
I did not try any of their sandwiches or ice-cream but those are two things I believe they are well-known for.
 
I had hoped to talk to the proprietor again on my last visit but he wasn’t in that day.  I’m not sure if they are open through the winter months – many businesses in this area reduce hours or close after the summer tourist season.  But if you are in the area and need a little lunch or treat, stop in and check it out! 
 
Also, it turns out that the article I had in mind talked about a previous owner but it looks as if this one is carrying on a tradition of crafted food in a country setting. 
 
  
 
Union Country Store
5130 E State Route 106
Union, WA 
 
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3 Comments
  1. Carol permalink
    01-Jan-2008 2:39 pm

    The Union Country Store is a treasure.  I highly recommend Kurt\’s lemon bars.  They also have a good selection of wine considering how small the place is. 

  2. Culinary permalink
    02-Jan-2008 6:46 pm

    "No Name":  Do you live near there?  You sound pretty familiar with the place! :-) 

  3. Kerry permalink
    08-Mar-2015 9:58 am

    I worked there in the Summer of 2013, and let me tell you, the owner of the store (Kurt) is amazing! He’s friendly, smart, and just a fun-spirited person. All of the food and deserts they make and sell are truly delicious. I love that little store.

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