6 Mother’s Day Brunch Adventures

Mother’s Day is next Sunday, May 13th, which means you have less than two weeks to figure out what gift will adequately convey just how much you appreciate Mom and how she sacrificed her sleep patterns, overall sanity and perky boobage on your behalf. Offhand, I can think of a few things Mom doesn’t want: Kim Kardashian’s Fit In Your Jeans by Friday: Ultimate Butt Body Sculpt DVD, a new vacuum cleaner, a pet honey badger, or you moving back in, but what does she want? World peace and a Sunday brunch adventure. Here are six suggestions for pairing a fun local activity with an excellent brunch on Mom’s Big Day.


chinesegarden1. Mother’s Day at Lan Su

What does Mom like almost as much/more than you? Peonies, the most perfect flower ever invented by God, undoubtedly to give to his mother on the second Sunday of May. And at the Chinese Garden’s “Mother’s Day at Lan Su,” you’ll find fresh peonies by Brothers Herb & Peonies for sale all day, special performances by the NW Chinese Academy Sunflower Dance Troupe at 11am, and the Orchid and Bamboo Children’s Music Ensemble at noon. And from 1-3, you can make Mom a peony card. Then, it’s time to eat.

Brunch Pairing: Bluehour

The perfect mom and her perfect flower deserve the perfect brunch, and it doesn’t get much better than elegant Bluehour, just a short walk up the street from the Lan Su Chinese Garden. From 10am-3pm, Bluehour’s prix fixe three-course brunch will ply mom with a bellini and decadent dishes like poached hen’s egg with duck confit, Dutch Babies with strawberry compote, and soft scrambled eggs with lobster and delicate pea shoots. $45, Full menu>>



2. Sunday Parkways

Sunday marks the season’s first Portland Sunday Parkways, a leisurely loop around pleasant NE Going and Ainsworth streets with stops at Alberta, Fernhill, and Woodlawn parks, where Mom can play bocce ball, bounce around in an inflatable castle, take in a magic show, and listen to Nekked Bonz, an “urban crunch” band. So get mom’s bike tuned up, put new pink tassels on her handlebars, and give her the gift of a convivial bike ride free from the stress of having to worry about somebody being run over. Details and map>>

Brunch Pairing: Yakuza

Conveniently, Yakuza falls right on the Sunday Parkways route, and even more conveniently, from 11am-1pm they are hosting a beautiful three-course prix fixe brunch that includes dishes like fresh fruit with lavender syrup and pear & bacon-stuffed baked French toast topped with spiced mascarpone, and a Blood Orange Mimosa or Kimchi Bloody Mary. If you bring your swimsuits, the serene backyard garden soaking tub is all yours until 2pm. Or, spend all day on the Parkways loop, then settle into Yakuza for their luxurious Dinner Retreat. Details>>



3. Abby’s Table Cooking Class: “Healthful Mother’s Day Brunch”

On the Saturday preceding Mother’s Day, join chef Abby Fammartino of Abby’s Table as she instructs you in the finer points of preparing a gorgeous and healthy Italian-themed Mother’s Day brunch that also happens to be gluten, dairy and soy-free. From 11am-1pm in Abby’s cozy Southeast Portland kitchen, you’ll learn to make Mom six delectable dishes–fresh berry-stuffed crepes, Baby Gem lettuce salad with sweat pea shoots and edible flowers in a French tarragon vinagrette, poached wild salmon in chive faux-fraiche, glazed Chiogga beets with lemon and sweet basil, an asparagus and spinach frittata, and pecan shortbread. If that doesn’t forever cement you as Mom’s favorite, you must have been a very, very bad kid. $40, Reserve spot here

Brunch Pairing: Abby’s Table Mother’s Day Brunch

If you love the above menu but are allergic to kitchen calisthenics, forgo learning how to make Mom the Italian brunch of her life, and just escort her to the Italian brunch of her life. Book a few seats at Abby’s Table’s Sunday Mother’s Day Brunch–it’s the same menu as above, except you don’t have to do anything but eat and listen to your mom idly reminisce about her college semester in Turin and her dreamy boyfriend Augostino and how she’d probably eat meals like this every day if she had only run off with Augostino and started that olive farm they always talked about. $35, Website


canasfeastpatio4. Cana’s Feast Winery

In keeping with the European theme, it’s possible that what Mom wants most is to get away from her normal life for a day, and while you probably can’t jet her to Italy on Sunday, you can fake it with a drive to dreamy Cana’s Feast Winery in Carlton, where moms will be treated to complimentary wine tastings and Prosecco, as well as fresh pastries, from 11am to 3pm. More info>>

Brunch Pairing: Bistro Maison

Now that Mom’s had her fill of Prosecco, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Rosato, whisk her off to “France,” at McMinnville favorite Bistro Maison‘s “La Fete des Meres.” For $38 ($60 includes wine pairings), Mom can thrill over sweet parfait trifle with strawberries and honey yogurt, caramelized onion quiche, snails baked in Pernod and dill butter, braised lamb and duck cassoulet, and Penn Cove mussels steamed in coconut milk (see entire menu here). And for dessert, profiteroles with tangerine dust, chocolate torte with strawberry ice cream, or créme caramel. Honestly, this particular outing is almost making me want to be a mom. I said almost. Reservations accepted from 12-7:30pm, call 503.474.1888.


japanesegarden5. Portland Japanese Garden

For the mother who loves to garden, or who wishes she actually had time to, head to what’s arguably the best-tended garden in Stumptown, the Portland Japanese Garden. From 10am to 7pm, garden guides will be scattered throughout the grounds to answer questions about the Garden’s history, culture and plants. Take a stroll around, then enjoy a cup of tea and sample sweet wagashi treats while you browse a selection of mom-friendly new products in the Garden Gift Store, from luxury soaps and candles to charming stationery. If Mom has a particularly excellent time, memberships are $10 off all day.

Brunch Pairing: Heathman Restaurant

Head south out of Washington Park and straight downtown to the Heathman Hotel restaurant for their predictably genteel Mother’s Day brunch, buffet and tea, with offerings like spring asparagus and shaved parmesan salad, duck confit with scrambled eggs, a hickory smoked ham carving station, and made-to-order omelets. There’s also a special Mother’s Day tea menu, with a Peter Rabbit Tea for the kids. $32-$42, Details & Menu Here>>



Look! So motherly!

6. Mom and a Movie

I’m not a mom, but if I were, I think it would be heartwarming to spend my day watching superhunky Jason Statham steam up a Pioneer Place movie theater as he plays surrogate mother/guardian angel to a poor little genius girl who is being chased by mobsters and crooked police in Safe. (What’s that you say? Mom isn’t a Jason Statham fan? Weird! Substitute in The Lucky One, The Five Year Engagement, Titanic 3-D, or The Kid With a Bike. Maybe avoid Jeff, Who Lives at Home if that’s a touchy subject.)

Brunch Pairing: East India Company

Discuss Jason Statham’s chest, er best movie moments over East India Company‘s bounteous Mother’s Day buffet brunch, which starts with passed appetizers like besan-crusted stuffed whole peppers and Chowpatty’s Pani Puri, and continues with a buffet spread of Tandoori Aloo Chat, Murg Sheekh Kebab, Railway Station Mutton Curry, Koliwada Fish Masala, and many more authentic Indian favorites, as well as an assortment of desserts. $21 adults, $15 children; call 503.227.8815 for reservations, Full Menu Here>>



There’s still time to win a hand-delivered Saint Cupcake Mother’s Day Brunch here>>

For more Mother’s Day brunch destinations, see the UTTWJ calendar here>>