Where will you be taking Mom to lunch on Sunday? If you haven't made reservations already, you had better make them soon because Mother's Day is the No. 1 day for dining out, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Here are some suggestions for restaurants that will be going beyond their traditional offerings and ramping up their menus in honor of moms.
Broad Street Grille at The Chattanoogan. Toast your mom with a champagne brunch featuring an antipasto station with lots of seafood, fruits, vegetables and cheeses. Entrees will include seared salmon, chicken osso buco Caesar, braised pork and prime rib. There will be numerous salads and other side dishes, as well as another station filled with eggs Benedict, omelets, waffles and breakfast items, just in case you haven't already served her breakfast in bed. And, of course, there will be plenty of items to satisfy mom's sweet tooth, such as chocolate croissant bread pudding and cheesecake bars. Prices are $35 adults, $18 under 12. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations at 424-3700.
TerraMae Appalachian Bistro at Stone Fort Inn. Treat Mom to all the flavors of spring with her choice of items for a three-course meal. The first course includes corn vichyssoise, white whiskey-cured salmon, garden greens with fresh berries and housemade vinaigrette, yogurt with fruit and granola or asparagus with grits, eggs and country ham. Entree choices include eggs Benedict, stuffed French toast, seared halibut, duck leg confit, short ribs or whole-roasted snapper. The third course is all about dessert with a six-layer chocolate cake, a blackberry oat crisp served with buttermilk ice cream or a big slice of butterscotch icebox pie. Price is $45 per person. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations at 710-2925.
Chattanooga Choo Choo. Mom will love the sights of well-tended gardens and fountains, as well as the beauty of the historic Grand Dome as she indulges in a buffet. It starts with a huge selection of appetizers, including baked brie with fresh berries, smoked ham with cream cheese, salads and freshly baked breads. A pasta station with seafood and grilled chicken marinara, as well as a carving station with steamship round of beef and a buffet filled with other entree selections -- baked flounder, fried chicken, chicken marsala and steak au poivre -- round out the offerings. Desserts include chocolate gateau, red velvet cake, cheesecake and many more. Prices are $27.95 adults, $23.95 seniors 65 and up, $13.95 12 and under. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations at 308-2481.
Bluff View Art District. Treat Mom to a relaxing morning or afternoon in the Art District with brunch at Back Inn Cafe. Offerings on the special menu include Benton's country ham with eggs Benedict, French toast with strawberry compote, spring veggie frittata, sesame-crusted ahi tuna, shrimp and grits, free-range chicken breast, filet with lump crab stuffing, lobster bisque, grilled salmon Caesar salad and more. Prices are a la carte. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations at 265-5033.
Public House. The bountiful brunch buffet includes a salad station with lots of choices, breakfast items such as pancakes, eggs, fruit, biscuits and gravy, entrees such as fried chicken, prime rib and stuffed pork loin with an array of side items and, of course, a good selection of made-from-scratch desserts. Price is $26 adults, $12 ages 5 to 12. Hours are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations at 266-3366.
If you're looking to surprise Mom with a gift in addition to lunch, here are some new kitchen items on the market just in time for Mother's Day.
• If your mom is a fan of Lodge cast-iron products, let her try the company's new seasoned steel pots and pans. The line was introduced two years ago and has been so popular, Lodge has added to the line. New this year is a 15-inch skillet. According to Lodge spokesman Mark Kelly, the carbon steel heats and cools down quicker, and they are lighter than cast iron. "They are great for searing, some sauces and other stovetop cooking techniques," he says. The skillet sells for $90 online (www.lodgemfg.com) as well as at the factory store located in South Pittsburg at 503 Cedar Ave.
• T-Fal's Balanced Living Juice Extractor does the work of expensive juicers and is far less expensive. The Juicer differs from others in that it has a wide whole-fruit feeding tube, so it will take whole oranges and other large fruits and veggies. All its features are all dishwasher safe, so cleanup is a breeze. You can find it at amazon.com for $79.99.
• It's easy to blend vinegar and oil dressing in proper measures with the Trudeau Perfect Mix. I only wish these were on the market when my mother was alive. Oil and vinegar was her favorite dressing, but she always had to pour oil from one bottle and the vinegar from another while trying to get the right proportions. This clever bottle makes it easy. It automatically pours six portions of oil for one portion of vinegar. The three-in-one design has separate buttons for pouring only oil or only vinegar or both together. It works like a charm with no mess. Order online at www.shoptrudeau.com for $34.99.
• If your mom loves to can vegetables from her garden, consider a case of newly designed Ball canning jars that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company's Mason jars. The first "Perfect Mason" jar was launched in 1913, and the limited-edition canning jars are a celebration of that heritage, featuring period-correct blue color and embossed logos on front and back. See them for yourself at www.freshpreserving store.com. They're $12.99 for a six-jar case.
• Target has just introduced a line from IMUSA that features a wide range of Asian and Mexican cookware. From wok sets ($29.99) to a granite mortar-and-pestle set called a molcajete ($19.99) to grind your own spices fresh from the garden, the items are reasonably priced. So if your mom likes to try her hand at making stir fries and homemade salsas, check these out. You'll also find them at target.com.
Not only does Lodge have new cast-iron products, as we mentioned, it also has a new winning recipe from the National Cornbread Cook-Off held in conjunction Martha White at the National Cornbread Festival, last month in South Pittsburg. The first-place winner was Lorie Roach of Buckatunna, Miss. See what you think. Sounds like a winner to me.
5 poblano chile peppers
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon each Mexican oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper
4 cups shredded, cooked rotisserie chicken
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans white hominy, rinsed and drained
1 (6-ounce) package Martha White Buttermilk Cornbread and Muffin Mix
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 (11-ounce) can Mexican-style whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
Chopped fresh radishes
For the soup, heat the oven to broil. Place poblanos on baking sheet. Broil until skin is blistered and charred. Place in medium bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Remove from bowl and peel. Cut off ends, slice open and lay flat. Scrape and discard seeds. Finely chop the chiles. Set aside.
Heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until soft. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir in the oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, shredded chicken, hominy and chopped poblanos. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
For the corn cakes, whisk cornbread mix, milk and egg. Stir in corn and Monterey Jack cheese. Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in 10 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Pour corn cake batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto skillet. Cook until golden brown. Turn and brown on other side. Add more oil as needed for remaining batter.
To serve, spoon chicken mixture into bowls. Float a corn cake on top. Top with desired toppings.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.