Father's Day gift guide

By J. Scott Wilson , Contributing Writer
POSTED: 12:53 PM PDT March 12, 2012    UPDATED: 7:00 AM PDT June 7, 2013 
present for dad

For many people, Father’s Day is a time to thank Dad for all he’s done, for the time and effort he put in to everything from our first treehouse to our first car.

For others, it’s a time to apologize, for everything from setting fire to that first treehouse to wrapping that first car around a tree that had the temerity to grow so close to the road.

If you’re in the latter category, the first gift in this year’s Short Orders Father’s Day Gift Guide will go a long, long way toward patching up rifts, mending fences and just generally making dear old Dad forget some of the damage you caused in your younger days. Zabar’s, long a legend to deli aficionados in New York City, has begun offering Big Apple goodness on the Internet. For less than the cost of a taillight lens on a Toyota, you can send Dad a basket containing the ultimate in kosher deli goodness.

Let's look at the components, shall we?

First up, there are generous packs of sliced turkey, pastrami and corned beef ready to grace any sandwich Dad cares to attempt. Want some cheese on that sandwich? Well, cheese on meat isn't exactly kosher if I remember right, but if your dad doesn't keep kosher he'll want to slice off some of the Swiss Emmenthaler cheese included in the basket.

Most commercial pastramis I've ever tried require some heating to fully release their flavors. The Zabar's straight out of the fridge has twice the flavor of anything you'll find at any grocery-store deli counter.

Oh, and one final bit of meaty goodness: A whole salami. You might just want to hand Dad some good crackers and a sharp knife and back slowly away, because once he gets a taste of this he's likely to go all caveman and start snarling at anyone who gets close. If any of the Emmenthaler is left from the sandwich-making (there should be, it's a big block), top a slice of salami with some and you'll have snack heaven.

Don't think Dad will have to resort to grocery store bread for his sandwiches. The basket also includes a loaf of Zabar's own sourdough rye bread, the aroma of which has been known to draw neighbors from blocks away.

And what's a sandwich without mustard? You'll find a bottle of Zabar's deli mustard, which is one of the finest I've ever tasted. I am a mustard junkie, rarely without at least five or six open jars at any one time. It's likely none of those jars will be touched until the Zabar's bottle is dust-empty.

Hungry yet? We're almost done. A jar of Peppadew peppers, which are to regular sandwich peppers what a prime ribeye is to a London broil, will give a perfect spicy-sweet kick. Or, if Dad likes a bit of barbecue spice, there's also a bottle of Zabar's spicy barbecue sauce, which singlehandedly proves that barbecue does exist north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

And, finally, a tray of Zabar's famous potato knishes. Why? Because they taste good. Do you need another reason?

Speaking of barbecue north of the Mason-Dixon line, when one of my pals up in Maine told me about DennyMike's, it was hard for me to keep the skepticism out of my voice. How can a state where it's too cold to 'cue for roughly 11 ½ months of the year produce anything approaching a good barbecue sauce?

As has happened so many times when I allow geographic prejudice to influence my opinion, I was soon proved completely (and happily) wrong. If your dad likes to grill meat, smoke meat, broil meat or just pour tasty stuff atop already-cooked meat, you need to fix him up with one of Dennymike's fine gift assortments.

The great thing about DennyMike's (besides the taste) is the fact that you can get rubs and sauces that are designed to play well together. For instance, the Cow Bell Hell rub on a brisket will give it a spicy kick that the Hot-N-Nasty barbecue sauce will kick into the stratosphere.

My favorites of the dry seasonings are Chick Magnet, which is the best thing to ever happen to grilled or smoked bird or pork, and Pixie Dust, which is an all-purpose seasoning that manages to dance with everything from burgers to broccoli. I'm not sure what the DennyMike's folks put in there, but it's highly addictive.

Dennis M. Sherman (DennyMike) had better watch his step, though. My friend Danielle in Atlanta has made her own blend for years she calls Pixie Dust, and she's threatened to use it on Dennis before she cooks him if she catches him in Georgia.

For the sauces, the clear winner for me is the Sweet 'n Spicy. The heat level is perfect for my amateur chilehead tastebuds, and the sweet finish keeps you coming back for more even as the little beads of sweat start on the back of your neck.

Whichever way your dad's palate leans, DennyMike's has something that will fit his taste.

Our third and final selection in this year's Gift Guide comes from the fine folks at Vivabox. For those uninitiated into one of the greatest gift ideas in years, Vivabox gives your giftee a double-dose of recipient bliss. When the Vivabox arrives, they'll find a nifty gift inside, along with a card they can use online to pick another gift!

For instance, you'll probably want to pick the Barbecue Box for Dad. When he opens the box, he'll find a trio of awesome spice rubs from Urban Accents. With his gift card, he can then choose either larger assortments of spices like American BBQ and Asian Fusion from Urban Accents, or he can go for one from an array of Omaha Steaks meat boxes.

If you've got a hard-to-buy-for dad, this is the absolute perfect gift! If he enjoys grilling or barbecuing at all, the trio of spice rubs will make him happy, and then he'll get to pick something he truly wants from the available menu.

Whatever you pick for dad this Father's Day, make sure he knows you love him. Mother's Day tends to get all the warm and fuzzy sentiments scattered around it, but even the burliest He-Dad needs a hug from his offspring now and again.

Got a question? Comment? Topic you'd like to see covered? Drop me a line, anytime!