Mother’s Day is May 11, and while moms are great at planning ahead, children/husbands can be less so. Don’t worry: The gifts below are readily available, but are bound to make her smile come Sunday.
1. Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender
If Mom’s a kitchen wiz, help her out with this handy, versatile tool that’s a must for home cooks. She’ll save time whisking or washing a big blender when making dressings, puréeing sauces, mixing smoothies, and more. $34.95 at Sur La Table, multiple area locations.
2. Sydney Hale candles
We’re addicted to these locally made, natural soy candles. Pick fresh scents for the season such as rum-sea salt, bergamot-black tea, or citrusy lemon-olive blossom. Added perk: A portion of the proceeds are donated to animal rescue organizations. $28 at various local retailers.
3. GiftRocket E-Card
Gift certificates may seem lame, but these online cards are a more personal, flexible species. Senders suggest a business where the card should be used—say, Le Diplomate or Rose’s Luxury—and can even customize an itinerary including drinks or a movie. If Mom doesn’t like it, she can choose to spend the amount elsewhere. The gift cards can be used nationally, including at businesses that don’t regularly offer them. Available at GiftRocket.
4. Don Ciccio & Figli Italian liqueurs
Give Mom some local love with an Italian twist. Former Bibiana sommelier Francesco Amodeo crafts limoncello, mandarinetto, and other fruit liqueurs inspired by recipes from his family and native Amalfi Coast. Perfect for summer sipping or mixing into drinks. From $32.99 at Batch 13 and other area retailers.
5. My Irish Table
The newest local cookbook to hit the shelves from Restaurant Eve chef/owner Cathal Armstrong makes a wonderful gift, both for its recipes and for its eye-catching photographs. You could even go the extra mile and make Mom an Irish breakfast from the first chapter. $35 at Kramer Books, or from Amazon.
6. Macaron Bee confections
If you’ve given Mom chocolates every year, think outside the truffle box and pick up these colorful, tasty macarons. The Georgetown boutique offers various packages and individual sweets, in flavors such as chocolate-lavender, Earl Grey, and passionfruit. $1.90 per macaron; $11.40 for a box of six; $21 for a dozen.
Brunch at a nice restaurant is the Mother’s Day go-to (and for that we have a handy guide). Why not think outside the breakfast box on May 11? Turn the tables and treat Mom (a.k.a. Queen of Activity Planning) to a fun day, whether that means feasting on a Southern buffet during a gospel concert, taking her to a food-lover’s museum-restaurant, or hitting the water for a brunch boat cruise.
It’s hard not to feel uplifted by these brunch-time concerts. The Howard Theatre hosts a 1 PM show (doors open at 11:30) with a Southern brunch buffet, bottomless mimosas for $15, and music by the Harlem Gospel Choir ($35 in advance). Over in Maryland, the Janine Gilbert-Carter Quartet serenades the crowd at the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club over brunch starting at 10 ($40 tickets). The Hamilton is another great bet, but they’re sold out this Sunday.
Hit the water
If Mom is the cruising kind of gal, Entertainment Cruises hosts special Mother’s Day trips aboard the Odyssey and Spirit, with brunches and dinners, live music, and water views of Washington’s top sites (prices and times vary). More of the active type? Consider gifting her a kayak or paddleboard trip from Boating in DC—including twilight tours and paddleboard yoga—and then take her out for a casual meal in Georgetown; Neapolitan pies at Il Canale come to mind.
Dine in the museum
There’s much more to museum dining than fast food courts. The Garden Café at the National Gallery of Art is a food-lover’s favorite, hosting a rotating lineup of big-name chefs who design the menu. Currently Michel Richard (Central) is behind the buffet with an a la carte lineup inspired by paintings in the French collection.
To market, to market
If mom is a foodie-shopaholic, she’ll love browsing the stalls at local markets for everything from fresh spring produce to ready-to-eat goods. The Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market is the biggest in DC on Sunday. Stop at Chaia for delicious breakfast tacos made with eggs and seasonal veggies—market mushrooms, feta, and salsa rojo is a recent favorite—before heading onto Chris’ Marketplace for quick-grab crab cakes for brunch, Bonaparte Breads for French pastries, and much more (see some more favorites here).
The Olney Farmers & Artists Market begins for the summer season on Mother’s Day, and you’ll find a number of special events, from ice cream demos to a kid’s tent, in addition to the long list of food and craft vendors.
Moms also love Union Market, where you can shop for home goods at Salt & Sundry, artisanal knives from DC Sharp, and bountiful foodstuffs between eating at the likes of Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Bidwell, and more.
Get a taste of history
Mother’s Day fun fact: President Woodrow Wilson instituted a nationwide observance of the holiday in 1914. The Willard InterContinental—where Wilson held meetings to plan the League of Nations—celebrates the 100th anniversary of the holiday with a special luncheon from noon to 2 ($100 adults; $40 children 12 and under; free for kids under 5) featuring Wilson’s wax lookalike borrowed from Madame Tussauds DC and a photo contest.
If Mom prefers our nation’s first leader, head to George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate near Alexandria. A Martha Washington impersonator and her “granddaughters” share stories with visitors, and you can treat your own matriarch to a special Mother’s Day buffet from 11 to 5:45 ($29.84 adults; $14.52 children 6 to 11; free for kids under 5).
Wine, wine, and dine her
Virginia’s wine country isn’t far for those with wheels. Browse our recent guide, “A Vineyard for Every Taste,” to determine the type of tasting Mom will like best. Many offer Mother’s Day specials, including discounts and wood-fired pizzas at Barrel Oak Winery, live music at Boxwood, brunch at Breaux Vineyards, and more. The area is also full of great restaurants for a meal between tastings.
As on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, countless restaurants in Washington serve a special meal on Mother’s Day—or at least their usual Sunday brunch. So how does one decide where to eat this May 11? You know Mom better than anyone, so whether she’s toting young kids or loves bottomless mimosas, wants to take a day trip or return to a Washington classic, we have suggestions for her.
The mom with active kids:
Those toting the young’ins can find family fun at the newish Pinstripes in Georgetown. Not only does the “bowling bocce bistro” boast 14 lanes and six bocce courts, it’s hosting a special brunch buffet from 9:30 to 3 ($30 adults; $15 kids 6 to 12; free for under 5) with $3 mimosas.
The mom whose kids are otherwise occupied:
Time to bring on the bottomless fun! Young mothers (either in reality or at heart) may like the all-you-can-eat-and-drink brunches at Richard Sandoval’s District eateries—including Masa 14, El Centro, and Ambar— which combine unlimited small plates, brunch cocktails, and a party vibe ($35 per person). Alba Osteria in Mount Vernon Triangle is also getting in the bottomless game ($30 per person) with endless breakfast pizzas, Italian egg dishes, peach bellinis, and more. If sangria and tapas are more Mom’s speed, consider Boqueria and its bottomless offering, plus complimentary churros with chocolate dipping sauce for moms.
The mom whose kids are pizza-tarians:
The kids are only appeased by pepperoni, but Mom wants a little something different. Graffiato fits the bill with a plethora of options on the three-course Mother’s Day menu, from simple cheese pies to truffle- and egg-topped pizzas and pasta. In Falls Church, Pizzeria Orso caters to a range of tastes and ages with a brunch menu that’s equally bountiful.
The mom who loves a day trip:
For the ultimate indulgence, foodie and otherwise, the Inn at Little Washington opens early at 1 for a seven-course Mother’s Day menu ($178 per person) with dishes such as Osetra caviar with crab and prosciutto-wrapped veal loin with spring vegetables. Scaling back a bit, chef Bryan Voltaggio’s three-course brunch menu ($35) at Volt in Fredericksburg is one of the better fine-dining deals around. Still too fancy? High season for Chesapeake crabs has yet to begin, but you can still get crackin’ on the deck at Cantler’s Riverside Inn just outside Annapolis.
The mom who’d rather stay at home:
Make it a relaxing morning all-around and forgo cooking in favor of a “brunch bag” from Society Fair (pick up at the Alexandria location). The spread serves two to three and includes a sausage-asparagus breakfast strata, ready-to-bake scones, citrus salad, a bottle of bubbly, and more ($57).
The mom who likes to see and be seen:
A-listers such as Michelle Obama and Steve Tyler have recently dined at the elegant Fiola Mare on the Georgetown waterfront, so you’re in good company here. The regular menu will be available alongside a special prix-fixe. A few blocks away at the Four Seasons, the frequently VIP-studded Bourbon Steak serves a three-course brunch menu ($95; $40 for children).
The mom who keeps it low-key:
Mom may not want to wait at Estadio’s bar with the 14th Street crowds for a dinner table, but try it for brunch; the scene is much quieter and the food just as good. Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan provides a more boisterous brunch scene but still keeps it casual—and delicious. Over in Maryland, we’ve always enjoyed relaxing over Black Market Bistro’s brunch, as well as Justin Bittner’s afternoon fare at 8407 Kitchen & Bar (the special Mother’s Day menu is still TBD).
The mom who wants to experience the “new DC”:
Skip the usual dining neighborhoods in favor of something fresh. Try perching on the 100-seat riverside patio at Osteria Morini for DIY mimosas on the growing Capitol Riverfront. If Mom hasn’t checked out Shaw, Table and its four-course Mother’s Day brunch menu ($65 per person) is a nice place to start. She’ll have to wait for dinner in historic Bloomingdale, but the Red Hen never fails to impress.
The mom who loves classic DC:
Few restaurants embody classic Washington like Georgetown’s 1789, which serves a special brunch menu from 10 to 2. The same can be said for the recently revamped historic Iron Gate, whether you brunch prix-fixe in the dining room or à la carte on the picturesque patio. Cashion’s Eat Place isn’t quite as old, but the dining room and patio remain quintessential Washington brunch spots, with Southern-inspired dishes like shrimp and grits to match. Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s polished eateries such as the Bombay Club and the Oval Room are also longtime favorites, and while each boasts a different style of cuisine, they all have something special planned for the holiday.
The Jewish mom:
Delicious corned beef, smoked salmon platters, and eggs “Benedictberg” are hers at DGS Delicatessen, which also offers a two-course option with bottomless drinks for $27.
The Peruvian mom:
Chef Victor Albisu created a Peruvian menu ($58) at Del Campo in honor of his mother, with ceviche, lomo saltado, and other classic dishes. The lineup is only offered at dinner, with an optional pisco pairing.
It’s the nightmare scenario: Even your plan-D brunch spot is booked for Mother’s Day, and you’ve got zero ideas for a good gift. Don’t worry, you don’t have to escort Mom into a suspiciously empty restaurant or hand her an IOU this Sunday. Plenty of spots offer edible items that could serve as a meal, a gift, or, conveniently, both. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
Farmers market crabcakes
In the current issue of The Washingtonian—which you can pick up on newsstands now—food editors shared some of their favorite farmers market finds. At the top of the list: jumbo lump crabcakes from Chris’ Marketplace.
You’ll find the nearly filler-free cakes at the Sunday morning Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market. All they need is a quick sear or turn in the oven and a wedge of lemon, and you have brunch covered. You can also pick up delicious gazpacho at the stand, salad greens and fresh fruit from other vendors, and, of course, a springtime bouquet.
Picnic breakfast basket
Restaurant Eve owners Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong offer a to-go brunch option at Society Fair, their Alexandria marketplace. The Breakfast Bag, which serves four, includes ready-to-bake scones, mixed greens and strawberry citrus salads, an asparagus and house-made sausage strata, mimosa makings, and an optional guilty pleasure celeb rag. The deadline for orders is Friday. Need an additional gift? The shop is filled with specialty olive oils, vinegars, bar necessities, and more.
There’s still time to reserve a table for brunch on Mother’s Day. We already offered you a list of 29 spots—plus these 15 picks from our food editors—and now here are four more options. Nothing strike your fancy? Check out these unusual ideas for feting Mom. Whatever you do, do something. No maternal figure should be ignored on her special day.
Come Sunday, May 12, you’ll find practically everyone and their mother at brunch. Consider breaking from the norm with one of the following activities for the food-loving matriarch.
Meander through a market
She once guided your around the grocery store—now return the favor tenfold. As our latest issue attests, Washington markets are some of the most fun and exciting places to roam these days. For mothers who like their produce with a side of freshly shucked oysters, start at Union Market in the District. The newly built food lover’s paradise houses a variety of vendors. You’ll find plenty of tasty foodstuffs to take home, but we also love grazing and sipping on the premises. Recent favorites include freshly shucked oysters and buttery Old Bay shrimp with deftly crafted cocktails at Rappahannock Oyster Company, flights of fromage with wine or beer from Righteous Cheese, and Red Apron’s meaty sandwiches such as “porkstrami” accompanied by an on-tap G&T. If you haven’t picked a gift for Mom, just head to Salt & Sundry and let her go to town on the charming boutique’s tableware, aprons, cookbooks, candles, and more. Note: The market tends to hit its peak on the weekend around lunch/brunch time. To avoid the biggest crowds, go around 11 when it first opens, or in the early evening.
Mom more of an outdoors type? Check out one of the bountiful Sunday markets for ingredients, and then cook a feast together. Dupont Circle FreshFarm market is the largest in DC, with everything from meats and produce to fresh pastas and crabcakes for an easy at-home supper. Over in Maryland, the Olney Farmers & Artists Market debuts its spring and summer market on Mother’s Day with many items from local artists and craftspeople in addition to the edible offerings. Arlington, Virginia’s Westover Farmers Market is another stocked stop, with plenty of premade foods and fresh items to cook. Check out our online directory for times and locations.
Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away, and we’ve been pondering our options as much as anyone. (If you think we’re tough critics, you should meet our moms.) Restaurants around Washington are bringing out the big brunch guns—as evidenced by our extensive guide—and it can be hard to choose. Here are a few of our personal picks—places where we’d toast our own moms. Caveat: We haven’t tried certain set menus or judged service during a holiday crush. Consider these guidelines, not guarantees.
Mother’s Day is just a couple of weeks away—on Sunday, May 12. That means it’s time to book the all-important brunch for the occasion. Below you’ll find the details on 29 restaurants serving a special midday meal in Washington. Book early, and volunteer to be the designated driver—the lady who changed your diapers and put up with you through your terrible teens deserves as many mimosas as she pleases.
There may still be a bit more than three weeks till Mother's Day, but with popular spots like the Tabard Inn already booked for brunch--a waitlist may open up two days prior--it's time to get planning, and we're here to help. Here are some solid options for Mother's Day brunching, which range from traditional eggs Benedict affairs to elaborate prix-fixe menus and laid-back joints doing nothing more than serving their regular tasty menus. Check back in with us for more Mother's Day coverage next week, including more dining options, gift ideas, and recipes.