Here's an idea: Instead of going to a crowded restaurant for an expensive meal, where overworked waitstaff serve overpriced Father's Day specials, how about you do yourself and the dad in your life a favor and prepare a home-cooked meal? It's not about your cooking skills—it's about the love, and your effort will be appreciated regardless of the outcome.
Still, if you have the slightest hesitation about cooking, let me help you out with five ways to improve your chance of success and ensure that your father and you get the most out of your meal.
1. Start with booze. Said the great gastronome Brillat-Savarin, "Alcohol is the monarch of liquids." Whether it's a Bloody with breakfast, a libation at lunch or a Sancerre at supper, treat your dad like royalty. (And if you really can't cook, he'll be less likely to notice.)
2. Stay tried and true. Father's Day calls for tradition, and more importantly, for precisely the foods your father loves most. That said, although it seems obvious, play to your strengths. If you're a master of meat and that's his thing, go for it. This is not the time for overly ambitious meal-making or complicated cooking. So avoid new ingredients and fussy recipes. Good food is simple food.
3. Pick a meal, any meal. And make that one memorable. It doesn't have to be a multicourse dinner. You could prepare a "bottomless" breakfast/brunch or a long, luxurious lunch. Your job is the upgrade. If your dad is a pancake lover, for example, you might consider my Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes (below). All you need is real maple syrup (warmed up is a nice touch), a rasher of bacon or other breakfast meat on the side, and a pot of strong coffee. Plus that previously mentioned pitcher of Bloody Marys or mimosas. Drop his favorite tunes on the music machine and you've got yourself an occasion.
4. End it sweetly. The meal, that is. That means dessert. Again, Father's Day is not the time to badger your dad about his unhealthy eating habits. Instead, treat him this once to a pie or pastry, cake, cookie, or sundae. One killer dessert won't kill him. Of course you can buy it, but if you're in the mood to bake, let me suggest my Blueberry Crumble (below), which works well after any meal. Making a fruit pie usually entails some patience, panache, and a level of know-how, requiring skill. My Blueberry Crumble eliminates those annoying barriers.