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The Mother of All Brunches: Some Not-Pushy Mother's Day Suggestions

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Thu, May 7, 2009 at 10:38 PM

'Tis the season of holiday brunches, and this coming Sunday, May 10, is um, er, the mother of them all. Not to nag you or anything, but may we gently suggest that dutiful children peruse these suggestions below -- or at least make your mamma a nice meal at home if you choose not to eat out.

Roses in full bloom, warm late spring outdoor strolls, fragrant aromas, carefully thought-out landscape planning and beautiful vistas. Sorry for sounding totally cheesy, but it's hard to resist such pleasures of local gardens around the Los Angeles area this time of year. It's a fairly safe assumption that a visit involving food at Descanso Gardens or the Huntington will delight many moms. Ubiquitous Patina chefs are preparing breakfast/brunch at Descanso with 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. seatings on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The Huntingon's Rose Garden and Rose Garden Tea Room brunches on Sunday are apparently sold out, sadly, but there's always hope for no-shows, or just go and spend a few hours wandering around the grounds anyway.

If your mom wants nothing to do with anything remotely associated with doilies and cozies or other Victorian-tinged frippery, the contemporary L.A. restaurant scene provides other options. Corkbar downtown has a $35 prix-fixe deal that includes a Champagne soup we're curious about. In the general West Hollywood area, The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel offers not your usual Mother's Day brunch with José Andrés's fanciful inventions that would give any group something to think and talk about; Cecconi's in the old Morton's space serves glammed-up Italian-influenced breakfast/brunch items, Eric Greenspan is cooking a prix-fixe, three-course market-centric brunch ($39 per) at the Foundry on Melrose, comme Ça's brunch is only $15 per person, and Ortolan on West 3rd Street extends fancy brunch hours until 4 p.m.

Further west is Jin Patisserie, whose tea garden in front of its bungalow strikes a balance between cool Venice design and girly girl fun; it's a great Mother's Day spot on either Saturday or Sunday, with a dedicated menu featuring tea sandwiches and selections of Kristy Choo's sweets for $25.

The Jason Travi team at Riva in Santa Monica and Fraîche in Culver City has put together a couple different prix-fixe brunch and dinner menus for the weekend, and Riva has extra children's items priced $12 and under. Robata-Ya on Sawtelle's promise to feed your moms for free from the yakitori combo menu and hand her a free drink on Sunday starting at 5:30 sounds like a pretty sweet deal, too.

If you think game meats and a macho hunting lodge vibe is perhaps better suited for Father's Day, Saddle Peak Lodge out in Calabasas wants you to reconsider your gender stereotyping. And with Bellini and Poinsettia cocktails (champagne with cranberry), tomato-olive tartlettes, house-cured salmon, brioche French toast with bananas foster, ahi tuna salad, and choice of desserts that includes banana chocolate and huckleberry bread pudding ($50 per person) on the menu, any mom will think you chose well.

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