Men love explosions; women love shoes.
Father's Day is barreling toward us on Sunday, and this is my way of telling you that we men view it differently than women view Mother's Day.
Generally, the moms love to dress up and go to brunch on M-Day, while the dads are happy in jeans, watching TV sports and gnawing on a Dagwood sandwich on F-Day.
In that spirit, we offer places Dad might enjoy if he really likes to eat. If he can't make it on Sunday, then another time. (Call first for days and hours.) If he's not going to be a sport, though, let him eat quiche.
Bones Roadhouse, 4430 Pleasant Valley Road, Placerville; (530) 644-4301, www.bonesroadhousebarand grub.com: You won't beat the burger served here. A hand-formed half-pound patty custom-ground from trim that's cut off of prime rib, ribeye, tri-tip and chuck roasts. Add Swiss cheese, thick-cut bacon, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and Bones Sauce (a mash-up of mustard, mayo and Thousand Island dressing) and serve it on a toasted hoagie with a stack of onion rings. Sit at the bar and use the paper towels.
Simon's Cafe, 1415 16th St., Sacramento; (916) 442-7668: Although brothers Simon and John Chan opened the joint in 1984, it has the feel of a beloved relic tucked away in an alley in San Francisco's Chinatown.
Order a Manhattan over ice to fit the vibe, then whip up on some (genuinely hot) hot and sour soup, chunky with mushrooms and shrimp. Move to hot 'n' spicy fried calamari crisp, peppery, garlicky. Finish with a plate of dark and crunchy brandy fried chicken marinated and fried pieces of real chicken with real bones.
Here's a trio of places that serve manly sandwiches guaranteed to be sloppy and delicious:
Sampino's Towne Foods, 1607 F St., Sacramento; (916) 441-2372, www.sampinos.com: First, cruise the cold case to fire up an appetite salmon fillets, chicken Parmesan, sausages, roast beef, pork loin, pasta salads, cheeses, olives. Know that the sausages, meatballs and lasagna are house-made, and the turkey, chicken and roasts are seasoned and cooked on site.
Then consult the sandwich board and get something hearty on a ciabatta role from Il Fornaio's bakery division. Like Calabrese sausage, or a stack of pink roast beef, or ...
Roxie Deli, 3340 C St., Sacramento; (916) 443-5402, www.roxiedeli.com: Roll up your sleeves when you order here. The sandwiches are gigantic, fresh and dripping juices. Think in terms of pastrami and Swiss, Polish sausage, meatballs and tuna salad. From the smoker: tri-tip, pork shoulder, brisket, chunky meatloaf. Some customers can't stay away.
Sam's Hof Brau, 2500 Watt Ave., Sacramento; (916) 482-2175, www.thehofbrau.com: Guys in tall toques, wielding sharp knives in expert fashion, will carve seasoned briskets, turkey, prime rib and ham as you watch. Ask for a "heavyweight" stack on grilled rye with a side of jus. A side of mac 'n' cheese, too. At your table, spread on some horseradish and hot mustard. Have a Hires draft root beer. Take your time.
We men like to get out of town on weekends. Here's where we eat:
In Napa Valley: Tacos Garcia, 6764 Washington St., Yountville; (707) 337-5099: We love the irony of a taco truck parked next to a dive bar in ritzy Yountville, with Michelin award-winning restaurants for neighbors.
The dishes are made to order from family recipes: tacos and burritos stuffed with pork, beef, chicken, chorizo and fish, topped with bell pepper, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, cabbage, avocado, tomato, spices, herbs. Especially outstanding is the salmon burrito with crème fraiche and chipotle sauce.
In San Francisco: John's Grill, 63 Ellis St.; (415) 986-0069, www.johnsgrill.com: Opened in 1908, it's a dark, wood-paneled period piece. The long second-floor dining room is an homage to writer Dashiell Hammett and the movie version of his classic mystery "The Maltese Falcon."
Start with oysters, then move to petrale sole or a dry-aged porterhouse steak. Two Bombay Sapphire martinis, straight up, please. And my friend will have the same. ...
In Monterey: For oak-grilled prime beef and big appetites, it's the Whaling Station, 763 Wave St.; (831) 373-3778, www.montereyscooking.com.
For local seafood and house-made pasta, it's Cafe Fina, 47 Fisherman's Wharf; (831) 372-5200, www.cafefina.com.
At South Lake Tahoe: the Sage Room at Harvey's, 18 Highway 50, in Stateline; (775) 588-2411, wwww.harveystahoe.com: The retro menu and décor show off the Sage Room's 1940s roots beef Wellington, steak Diane, chateaubriand, oysters Rockefeller, tableside Caesar salad. For dessert, blackjack and roulette. Real men don't play slots.