This weekend, give your mom a big hug, tell her you love her and take her out to eat. Several area restaurants will be serving Mother's Day brunch Sunday.

Make sure to call and get your reservations on the books. Mother's Day, according to the National Restaurant Association, is by far the No. 1 day to eat out all year. Here are some suggestions for places that will be doing something a little extra.

Back Inn Cafe -- 412 E. Second St. The popular Bluff View Art District eatery will be putting special entrees on the menu, as well as offering some of its popular standards. Seatings will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A la carte items will range from $12 to $18. Reservations: 265-5033.

Broad Street Grille -- 1201 Broad St. (inside The Chattanoogan). This Mother's Day buffet will have a Mediterranean taste. Along with a number of chilled food offerings, such as a grilled eggplant-tomato salad and falafel fried artichokes, there will be a chef's carving station featuring chimichurri marinated roast beef with Greek oregano-garlic demi glace. The buffet goes on to include lemon rotisserie chicken; paella with clams, mussels, shrimp, chicken and chorizo and braised pork roast with light tomato-fennel slaw. And since it's brunch, there will be a breakfast bar with farm-fresh eggs, Applewood smoked bacon and Southern buttermilk biscuit and country gravy. There will be plenty of desserts too. Price: $33.95 for adults, $17.95 children (free for kids 6 and under). Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Reservations: 424-3700.

Chattanooga Choo Choo -- 1400 Market St. Get in line as a bountiful, beautiful buffet rolls into the lobby beneath the glorious Grand Dome. The spread is quite impressive, including an antipasto bar, followed by an array of appetizers and salads; a pasta station with roasted garlic Alfredo with your choice of shrimp, scallops or crabmeat as well as grilled chicken marinara; a carving board with roasted steamship round of beef; and entrees such as chicken marsala, steak poivre and Southern fried chicken. Finish the meal at the dessert station, with cooked-to-order bananas Foster flambe, chocolate gateau, double-layered carrot cake, Bourbon Street pecan pie and other mouthwatering sweets. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Price: $27.95 adults, $23.95 seniors 65 and up, $13.95 ages 12 and under. Reservations: 308-2481.

Stone Fort Inn -- 120 10th St. This historic inn will celebrate moms with a luscious made-from-scratch brunch. The meal will feature a spring salad mix with honey-poppyseed vinaigrette; sliced beef tenderloin with an herbed wine reduction; herb-roasted chicken with scallion-sherry cream sauce; grilled wild-caught Alaskan salmon with tomato-herb butter; balsamic roasted asparagus; spinach soufflé; garlic mashed potatoes; cheddar-bacon quiche; and egg and cheese soufflé. For dessert there's a chocolate torte, cheesecake and bourbon pecan pie. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Price: $29.95 adults, $14.95 12 and under; $10 for the unlimited mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Reservations: 267-7866.

The Big Table -- 118 Cross St. (off Mountain Creek Road). Gather round the table with mom for a bountiful buffet filled with an assortment of breakfast and lunch specialties. An a la carte menu also will be offered if you wish to bypass the buffet in favor of some other favorites made from scratch in the kitchen. Buffets will be set up in both of the restaurant's "houses." Hours: 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Buffet price: $16.95 adults, $7.95 10 and under. Reservations: 634-0772.

This is the third Mother's Day that my mother has been gone. I've missed her every minute, but the memories I have of times spent with her in the kitchen always bring a smile to my face. There's nothing better, in my opinion, than a mother-daughter cooking session.

So here's a recipe that Mom and I worked on together. I'll never forget the afternoon spent with her, working to combine a few recipes to come up with one that we all loved. I haven't made it in a while but plan to this Mother's Day for the memories, if not for the wonderful flavors.

Shirley and Anne's Amaretto Pie


1 stick butter, softened

1 cup flour

1/2 cup crushed pecans


3 cups mini marshmallows

2/3 cup evaporated milk

3-4 tablespoons amaretto

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat oven to 350 F.

Crust: Combine butter, flour and pecans, and spread in a pie pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is rather firm.

Filling: In saucepan, heat marshmallows and evaporated milk until marshmallows are melted. Stir in amaretto. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Stir in vanilla. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold into filling mixture by hand. Pour filling into prepared crust and refrigerate till firm. To serve, top with a dollop of amaretto-flavored whipped cream and several toasted almonds for garnish, if desired.