Side Orders: Big spreads planned on Mother's Day

photo Anne Braly

Mother's Day is the No. 1 day for dining out in the United States, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Research from the organization shows that more than one-quarter of American adults will celebrate Mother's Day by dining out, and nearly one in 10 will rely on restaurant takeout or delivery for their special meal.

Mothers also were asked about their wishes and preferences on Mother's Day, and 51 percent said they like going out to eat because they do most of the cooking at home and dining out gives them a break. I'm a little surprised that figure wasn't higher. Nonetheless, almost every restaurant in town will be packed on May 11, many offering something special for mothers.

Here's a list of some of those who will be doing something a little more special for moms. Make reservations as early as possible to get the best times and tables.

• Back Inn Cafe, 412 East Second St. (in the Bluff View Art District). This lovely restaurant in the heart of the Bluff View Art District will expand its menu to include brunch featuring a number of items, such as Rembrandt's Roasting Co. Rubbed New York Strip, Martin House Steak; Smoked Salt and Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin, grilled salmon Caesar, apple-cinnamon roll French toast, steak and poached lobster Benedict. Entree prices range from $11 to $25. Reservations: 265-5033.

• Broad Street Grille, 1201 Broad St. (in The Chattanoogan hotel): A station filled with peel-and-eat shrimp, oysters on the half shell and more begins the Mother's Day champagne brunch. Next comes a selection of antipasto items, followed by carving stations featuring prime rib and apricot-glazed ham. You'll find a huge number of side dishes and breakfast casseroles on the main buffet. And the popular chocolate waterfall will be the centerpiece of the dessert table, surrounded by chocolate croissant bread pudding, bourbon-peach cobbler and assorted bars and cheesecakes. Price: $37 adults, $19 children 7-12, free for kids 6 and under. Hours: 11 a.m-4 p.m. Reservations (required): 424-3700.

• Public House, 1110 Market St. Located in Warehouse Row, Public House will be serving a buffet featuring a salad station with vegetables, cheeses and chicken, breakfast items such as scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, grits, pancakes and bacon, and a buffet with dinner items, including the restaurant's signature fried chicken, chef-carved prime rib, stuffed pork loin and accompanying sides. Made-from-scratch desserts are also included. Price: $26 adults, $12 children 5-12. Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Reservations: 266-3366.

• TerraMae Appalachian Bistro, 120 East 10th St. (int StoneFort Inn): Treat Mom to a meal starting with a spread of deviled eggs, breads and pastries. Then she'll have her choice of one of first courses such as corn vichyssoise lump crab cocktail with benne seed bacon; then move onto the main course, choosing eggs Benny (honey-glazed ham with fried green tomatoes, pea tendrils, poached farm eggs and Maine lobster Bearnaise), French toast with strawberries, cream cheese and smoked sausage, seared halibut with creamy grits, peas and carrots in a citrus sparkling wine broth, peanut-dusted pork tenderloin with sweet potato succotash, poached egg and Vidalia onion jus, braised short ribs with fried egg and blueberry jam,; maple-plank branzino (European sea bass) with saffron potatoes and artichoke salad or a breakfast casserole with creamed baby kale and artichoke, fried green tomato, Vidalia onion marmalade and a sunny-side-up egg. For dessert? Your choice of chocolate caramel cake or buttermilk frozen custard with strawberry preserves. The feast includes unlimited mimosas (champagne and fresh orange juice). Price: $47 adults, $12 children 12 and under. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations: 710-2925.

• 212 Market, 212 Market St. Mother's Day brunch will feature numerous items, such a choice of appetizers including seafood bisque, shrimp cocktail, spring onion soup, a Mediterranean sampler or 212 mixed green salad. Then choose from crab cake Benedict, the Creekside Breakfast, Davis Creek filet with wild-caught shrimp, Colorado lamb, Tennessee chestnut, housemade cheese and spinach ravioli or seared New Bedford sea scallops, all served with accompanying sauces and sides. And for dessert, there are several housemade choices from the 212 bakery. Price: $30 adults, $15 12 and under. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations: 265-1212.

• The Big Table, 118 Cross St. (at the foot of Signal Mountain). Buffets will be set up in both houses and filled with dishes such as tomato pie, fresh fruit, smoked turkey, glazed ham, banana pudding and strawberry shortcake. Price: $17 adults, $6 12 and under. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Reservations: 634-0772.

If you choose to treat Mom to Mother's Day dinner, or the next time you dine at Ruth's Chris Steak House, which was, by the way, recently selected as the top Consumer Picks fine-dining restaurant by Nation's Restaurant News, I recommend the Harvest Salad, a delicious blend of mixed greens, dried cherries, roasted corn, pecans, bacon, goat cheese and tomatoes dressed with white balsamic vinaigrette flavored with honey and spices to bring this salad to a smashing crescendo full of flavor and texture. Here's a recipe from Use your judgment for the exact amount of salad greens, cheese, corn and pecans. It just depends on how many people you're serving.

Harvest Salad


1 pound pecan halves

1/4 cup melted butter

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice (about one generous squeeze from a fresh lemon)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Salad greens

Corn, preferably roasted

Bacon, fried till crisp and crumbled

Goat cheese crumbles

Dried cherries

To make the Cajun pecans, combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Turn to low and continue to cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 2 hours. Transfer nuts to a baking sheet and cool completely.

For the white balsamic vinaigrette, combine the vinegar and lemon juice in a glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until fully combined. Whisk in the honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Give the dressing a good whisk immediately before serving.

Combine salad ingredients, adding pecans. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

The first crop of the season is ready at Possum Creek Herb Farm, now in its 16th year of business and offering organically grown potted herbs and vegetables ready for the garden or container. The farm also has fresh eggs, herbal products and baked goods throughout the summer and early fall.

And it's all looking good, says owner and herb specialist Michele Brown.

"We grew quite a few heirloom tomato varieties, lots of hot peppers and lots of herbs that the honeybees like," she says.

Now's the time to sign up for Soddy-Daisy the farm's Homesteading Series, too. It's a series of five classes, such as cheesemaking, making herbal medicines and making flavored extracts and teas. The series begins in July and costs $250 for the entire series or $55 per class.

For a class schedule - the first one is Saturday on growing herbs for medicines and for cooking, a complete calendar of events and directions to the farm, log onto or call at 718-3533. Farm hours for visitors are 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Contact Anne Braly at