As much as I lament the fleeting summer, I have chosen to celebrate the arrival of Labor Day and make the most of what is left of warm weather and carefree days. Today, I offer a few Labor Day finds to help make some good times.

FF: 4505’s Uncured Hot Dogs – The best hot dog ever?

4505Forget all the scary things you have heard about the traditional American hot dog. You have not had a quality dog until you have tried the Uncured Hot Dogs from San Francisco-based 4505 Meats.

About 4505’s Uncured Hot Dogs: “4505 Uncured Hot Dogs are inspired by the plump, juicy franks of Ryan Farr’s happy Midwestern youth. Using all-natural ingredients such as celery juice powder, the 4505 Uncured Hot Dogs are made with only the best hormone and antibiotic free meat. These dogs are fully cooked in a smokehouse and are studded with BACON, a tasty feature that is completely unique to the 4505 Dogs.”

Learn more about 4505 Meats, their hot dogs and other fine products, here.

FF: Lusty Monk “Original Sin” Mustard

lmmNow what is a hot dog without mustard? To make a special hot dog and even more special, you have to try the fine mustards of Lusty Monk.

About Lusty Monk: “Once you meet the Monk, you can kiss mediocre mustards goodbye, and say hello to a new world of hearty food. No more boring sandwiches. Bratwurst has never been so heavenly. It’s the pretzel’s best friend, the cook’s secret weapon, the perfect companion for lovers of spice and heat. Lusty Monk is a family-owned, quality-conscious company, devoted to the idea that condiments should never be boring. We lovingly craft the mustard in small batches, and we encourage our brethren to slow down and savor each bite.”

Of course the best is Lusty Monk’s “Original Sin” Mustard: “Lusty Monk ‘Original Sin’ Mustard: how mustard is supposed to taste. This old-style, coarse-ground, original recipe mustard will add a kick to anything you can put on a plate. We process our mustards to preserve the volatile oils that make mustard so heavenly. It’s habit forming. Really.”

Find all the mustards of Lusty Monk here.

FF: The Jams and Marmalades of the Blue Chair Fruit Company

FF2Of course Labor Day is the time of year when people start thinking about the long winter ahead and preserving the bounty of summer by canning jams and marmalade. I have always resisted canning for myself because there are many great commercially available products out there like the fine jams and marmalades of the Blue Chair Fruit Company.

About the Blue Chair Fruit Company: “Blue Chair Fruit Company is the premier artisanal jam and marmalade company in the United States. Located in Oakland, CA, Blue Chair Fruit has redefined preserving through our distinctive brand of modern nostalgia and our exacting approach to fruit and flavors. Our highest priority is using organic and sustainably grown fruit from local growers, and preserving that vibrant fruit flavor by utilizing traditional methods and modern taste sensibilities. In all aspects of our company, from the contents of each jar to packaging to our online presence to the definitive Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, Blue Chair Fruit has reinvented preserving for the modern age.”

I am trying the Blushing Key Lime Marmalade: “The Key limes in this marmalade are blushing with pride because they can’t believe they taste so good! We’ve taken Key limes at the height of their juicy ripeness and transformed them into a mouth-watering marmalade overlaid with the soft pink of strawberries. The coconutty essence of Key lime is pushed to the fore while the sweet bite of ripe strawberries haunts every bite. Our Blushing Key Lime Marmalade will transform your morning from ‘zzzz’ to ‘zzzzip!’”

See all the fine products of the Blue Chair Fruit Company here.

FF: Old Rip Van Winkle Handmade Bourbon

OLDrI couldn’t let a collection of Friday Finds centered on good times go by without featuring a fine bourbon, like the spirits of Old Rip Van Winkle.

About Old Rip Van Winkle Bourbon: “The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. ‘Pappy’ Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville, traveling around the state by horse and buggy. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also purchased the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery, which made bourbon for Weller. They merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Their prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.”

I like Old Rip Van Winkle’s Handmade Bourbon: “10 Year, 107 Proof – This wonderful bourbon is bottled as close to barrel proof as possible. We add just a splash of our Kentucky limestone well-water when we empty the barrels for bottling. Thus, this whiskey is as smooth as any you will find. The more water you add to whiskey from its natural barrel proof to its bottle proof, the harsher it becomes. This 107 barrel proof seems to be just right.”

Read all about Old Rip Van Winkle’s Bourbons here.

Let’s make this a safe and fun Labor Day Weekend for all. Cheers!