Father’s Day Gift Guide
Hop on this crop of opps for top Pops shops
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
3:00PM, Wed. Jun. 9, 2021
Say there, person-who-has-a-father!
Want to treat your favorite paterfamilias to a Father’s Day gift that he’s sure to actually appreciate? Maybe something that he’s been meaning to get for himself, even, but just never got around to it?
Or, if you really want to surprise the old man (no matter how young he still is), how about something he wasn’t even aware of before … but will soon be wondering how he got along without that thing in his life?
We’ve got a diverse array of such items right here for you – all carefully vetted by a certified, government-inspected father. And some of these things are locally made, and some are from elsewhere, but all of them are available via the magic of the same internets you’re using to read these words. Consider, for your shopping convenience, this list of products recommended to make even the most rad dad glad …
1. NOLAN RYAN’S GOODSTOCK
You already know about Nolan Ryan’s Goodstock butcher shop up there in Round Rock, right? Specializing in craft and custom cuts of the famed rancher’s Angus beef, Goodstock is the only company offering USDA Certified Tender beef in the state of Texas – and what a plethora of steaks and briskets and ground-beef patties it is! If you think your pops might want to grill himself and the fam a fine spread of carnivore’s delights this summer, this is where you’re sure to get what everyone will enjoy. (Pro tip: They carry an impressive array of cutlery, too.) And, we mean, grilling, right? Whether slow or fast, with all its techniques and possible spicy enhancements, it can require certain combinations of flavor to make a person’s mouth water, to make their taste buds sing Hallelujah. Which is why Goodstock’s got that No-Fuss BBQ Rub of theirs: the perfect blend of pepper, salt, and garlic to bring out the rich flavor in any cut of meat. Suggestion: Head on up I-35 for some in-person shopping, because it’s aways a good visit, or sit back and let your fingers do the clicking.
2. SEAR BQ
Right, and now – maybe because you’ve followed through with our Goodstock suggestion above – your father’s going to want to make sure that, when he puts fire to a piece of well-carved cow flesh, it’ll be cooked in a way that would impress even the most seasoned of grillmasters. And that’s where this convenient Sear BQ griddle and press comes in, helping to evenly distribute heat and pressure throughout the meat, searing in those juices and capturing the delicious flavors – all while cutting down the average cooking time by more than half. All the pros know that you want a good sear on a piece of meat even before the rest of the cooking’s done – and this Sear BQ will make sure you’ve got just that. “Oh yeah?” you say. “Why? Because this simple yet effective culinary tool is crafted from cast iron, which is perfect for even heat distribution, and it’s also built for lifelong durability?” The answer is: Yes.
3. FAB SLABS
This item, amazingly, calls for a partial reversal of our No. 1 reco of Nolan Ryan’s bodacious bastion of beefery. Not that Goodstock isn’t as terrific as we’ve already told you – it is, it is. But, see, one of the many things Goodstock sells in its Round Rock emporium is a cutting board. And you should forget about that cutting board, friend. Totally. Just go ahead and scrape any thought of it from your mind. But that’s because you should, really, forget about all other cutting boards on this planet except for the ones made in Australia by Fab Slabs. You think we’re being, what, needlessly superlative here? You think we’re exaggerating? Citizen, please. Check our previous coverage of these camphor laurel wonderments and let the scales fall from your eyes. Any one of these cutting boards from that land down under will make your father smile every time he steps into the kitchen.
4. ZAVOR NOIR COOKWARE
And what’s dear old Dad going to cook all these viands in or on, hmmm? If he wants to use the best – and dislikes the unwieldy weight and temperament of cast iron skillets, the rust-risking properties of carbon steel – you can provide him with a set of Zavor’s new cast aluminum cookware. Skillets, sauté pans, dutch ovens: All of these essentials in varying sizes, all featuring a Whitford Fusion Ti ceramic nonstick interior coating (and tempered glass lids with a steam vent and flat design for easy storage). And how about a design bonus that’s both attractive and practical? The Noir collection pieces and sets come with black handles that are easily removed and replaced with one of Zavor’s color options for both handles and grips – red, butternut squash orange, royal blue, purple, sky blue, and mint green. Utilitarian and style-forward? That sounds like the best kind of father to us; which makes this kitchen-elevating gift the perfect complement.
And sometimes your dad isn’t at his kitchen’s stove or grilling in his own backyard. Sometimes he’s sizzling up the steaks and burgers on a grill at some gorgeous state park or wherever, right? Or maybe he’s camping somewhere way out of town, engaging in those rough-hewn, classically fatherish, and wilderness-adjacent activities that still inspire many a modern man. In either situation, he’s gonna want a damn good cup (or three or four) of coffee. And, tell you what, there’s nothing quite like Espro’s compact, vacuum-insulated, and nigh on unbreakable French press to provide that java for him out there in the woods. With the multifunctional Espro, you can prepare your coffee and pour it into your favorite cup – or drink directly out of the stainless steel carafe like it’s a travel mug. This press boasts a unique filtering system that keeps the coffee from becoming gritty or bitter after separation, and – because more coffee is better than some coffee – the Espro brews up 10 ounces at a time, and can hold up to 15 ounces as a mug. Okay, you’re on board with this indispensable gadget? But now Dad’s going to need a good grind of beans to go with it? Luckily, we’ve got so many options among roasters in this town, and they’re all world class. Although, tbh, personally? We usually come down to deciding between Third Coast or Little City – and most often wind up ordering some of both.
6. CRAFT JERKY CO.
And – continuing with our little narrative throughline here – if old Pater’’s out a-camping and swigging himself a mug of fine java, reckon he’ll want to be chewing on some jerky while he’s out there, too, hey? So classic. And, even just while relaxing at home, a good beef jerky goes a long way toward Proper Use Of Human Gustatory Experience Potential. And we’re still thinking there’s no jerky on this planet better than Abbey Road’s jerky – and not just because we’re trying to be local AF or anything. But sometimes one also craves a variety, right? A variety of flavors, of options, of gottdamn Amurrican jerky freedom in this country! And that, friend, is where Craft Jerky Co. comes into play as an exemplary Father’s Day gifting option: They’re a jerky subscription company, an enterprise that curates a fine diversity of the best jerkies available – and, once a month, ships a new selection right to your home. You think you know how many products, how many flavors and variants of jerky are out there in the world? These guys keep track of that stuff for a living. And now you (or you and your dad) can benefit from the relentless searching and collaborating of these professionals. Just, word to the wise: If they don’t send some of Abbey Road’s beefy goodness as part of a shipment sooner or later, you’d best get on the corporate email and set ’em straight.
Dad’s kind of music is possibly not your kind of music, right? Or, who knows, maybe both of you are equally into Swedish death metal or Afrofuturist electroclash or the 17th-century lutenist lamentations of John Dowland? In any case, sometimes it’s best to enjoy those sonic exuberances via a pair of headphones. Or, better yet, especially if you’re outdoors (eating some of that Sear BQ-enhanced Goodstock beef while drinking Third Coast coffee from a new Espro, say), better yet is a pair of those fancy sunglasses-that-also-function-as-headphones. But, problem is, you do love your pops, but you just don’t have the simeoleons to lay out for such high-end equipment? Yeah, well. That lack of money’s no longer a problem when you know about Flows. In fact, we’ve already reported on how Flows audioshades solve a whole bunch of problems – at prices (around $150) more people can afford. Bonus: They’ll make the old man look pretty damn cool, too.
8. TEXAS STANDARD
Speaking of making someone look good, Austin’s own Texas Standard is in the business of doing precisely that, apparelwise. The company opened its doors in 2016 with team members in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, has manufacturing and retail partners across the state and beyond, and is responsible for moving everyday Lone Star fashion a couple magnitudes higher. Jokes about the Father’s Day gift of another necktie or pair of socks are beyond cliché at this point – less funny than Tony Hinchwhatever or last Sunday’s Garfield – but, listen, an item of clothing that’s actually worth gifting? One of Texas Standard’s Lavaca short-sleeve sport shirts, say, or – oooh, baby – a Diablo black guayabera? Yeah, now that’s a present your pops will be pleased to flaunt at any garden party or family gathering or trivia night or, oh, wherever it is that dads gather to do their dadlike things, you know? Of course, when you click over to that elegant Texas Standard website, you may wind up buying something for yourself, too. That’s not a risk, though, citizen; that’s what we call s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g. Which is always an especially worthwhile activity at Texas Standard.
9. MILAM & GREENE WHISKEY
There’s a helluva lot of whiskey going on in these here parts, isn’t there? And we keep telling you about it, and telling you about it, and still there’s more – and it’s worth telling you about, too. But right now we’re telling you about Milam & Greene’s new Castle Hill Series Bourbon, Batch 1 – because your dad may like something that’s as complex and powerful (and almost as well-aged) as he is and that comes from right down the road in Blanco. This whiskey comes from a vintage batch of 13-year-old hand-selected bourbons bottled at barrel proof, with only 20 barrels mingled to create the stunning Castle Hill result, making it the most limited of the company’s whiskeys that garnered top awards at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Who crafted this potent (108.5 proof) deliciousness? None other than master blender Heather Greene – who is also, yes, the CEO of Milam & Greene, and who describes this release as “an authoritative expression of bourbon, with a backbone of spice and tannins. It’s intricate on the palate with characteristic bourbon sweetness, finishing with a lingering rush of warm spice.” And, reader, we’ve tried this bourbon. And we believe your father will happily concur.
10. ACID LEAGUE
Or maybe Dad’s gone teetotal, for any number of reasons. In which case, whiskey’s definitely out of the gifting range, beer’s a no-go – and even wine’s off the table. Of course, these days, there are so many tipples that aren’t alcohol-based, that contain no alcohol at all, and yet are sophisticated and flavor-potent enough for proper adult imbibing. But so far there’s only one line of beverages we’ve found that replicates the classic experience of elevated drinking, a categorical anomaly that embodies all the subtleties of the world’s finest whiskies or wines or the craftiest of saisons or whatever. That line of beverages comes to the world via the obsessive fermenters of the Acid League. The progressive cabal of canny Canucks dare not call these drinks sipping vinegars – because that’s a bit of a misnomer, sure, and the word would put people off, right? Vinegar? No, they call these products wine proxies. And yet, your current reporter, who doesn’t care much for wine and can’t tolerate the weird vinegar funkiness of any hippie-type’s favorite kombucha … your judgmental Austin Chronicle Food Lieutenant is so in love with these crisp, nuanced, ever-varied, palate-orgasming beverages from Acid League that it’s a wonder he’s not on a bus halfway to their HQ in Ontario to stalk them as they go about their deliciously arcane business. Never mind those delightful cocktail throwbacks called shrubs, even. And all the other nonalcoholic “proxies” we’ve tried, some of them are like The Very Best Adult Sodas Available – and that’s a fine thing, indeed. But what this Acid League is producing – exquisitely fermented beverages enhanced with cherry blossoms or makrut lime and other exotic brilliances – it’s like, omg, why does alcohol even bother to exist anymore?
11. CLEAR ICE
Either way – alcohol or nonalcohol – cocktail or mocktail – triple-distilled fuel from the tanks of a decommissioned Soviet-era MiG-29 or Pflugerville tap water – either way, a drink is probably going to need some ice. But why the hell would we be telling you, as part of a Father’s Day gift guide, about ice? Well, in the first place, let’s remember what Allie Fox, the ill-fated paterfamilias of Paul Theroux’s 1981 novel The Mosquito Coast said: “Ice is civilization.” In the second place, let’s recall how Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude begins with Colonel Aureliano Buendía remembering, while facing a firing squad, “that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” And, in the third place, citizen – here’s ice like no other. Perfectly clear ice. Big two-inch cubes of it, made via slow-freezing technology after a seven-stage filtration system has removed all impurities from the water. Eight cubes to a pack, the formerly missing ingredient in an entertaining-or-relaxing-at-home beverage, delivered direct from the Clear Ice Company in San Jose, California, to wherever your dad lives and drinks. It's ice with an attitude: “I, cube, will display way better and melt much more slowly than your usual chunks of frozen water. I mean, FFS, bro: Just look at me.” It's ice with a pedigree: “Our ice batches are logged and recorded for compliance,” the Clear Ice website informs us. “You can find your batch number on your package.” And now you can make sure your Dad will find a package of this remarkable ice sitting beneath his Father’s Day tree. (That’s, ah … that’s still a thing, right? The annual Father’s Day tree? Like in that one Jack London story?)
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