Food

Last-Minute Mother’s Day Plans Guaranteed to Impress Mom

Take mom to gospel brunch at the Howard Theatre. Photograph by Scott Suchman

No dining plans yet for Mother’s Day? Instead of battling the brunch crowds, try one of these activities that combines food and fun–and doesn’t scream “I forgot!”

Eat at the show 

While popular restaurants may be packed, you can still snag tickets to these performances (for now). You’ll feel uplifted after brunch at The Howard Theatre, which stars a boisterous performance from the Harlem Gospel Choir. An a la carte menu features brunch favorites; tickets range from $20 to $40 for reserved VIP seating. If piano is more mom’s thing, the Georgetown Piano Bar puts on a lively show, and includes a brunch option with bottomless mimosas and choice of an entree for $25 (a la carte is also available). Over in Maryland, the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club offers a special Mother’s Day performance inspired by the Las Vegas “Rat Pack.”

Find seasonal dishes at Mitsitam inside the Museum of the American Indian. Photograph via Facebook
Find seasonal dishes at Mitsitam inside the Museum of the American Indian. Photograph via Facebook

Lunch at the museum 

Combining a museum trip with a nice lunch is an excellent way to spend the day—and there’re options besides fast food courts. The Source adjoining the Newseum is a food lover’s favorite, and offers a special Mother’s Day dim sum brunch (if reservations are booked, the walk-in bar area is equally lovely). The Garden Café at the National Gallery of Art serves a seasonal spread, with dishes like lemony grilled chicken and a roasted pepper salad. A visit to the Museum of the American Indian isn’t complete without a visit to Mitsitam, where you’ll find cedar-plank salmon, fry bread, and other traditional foods.

One of our favorite Union Market spots: the Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Photograph by Scott Suchman
One of our favorite Union Market spots: the Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Hit the market 

We love Union Market—as does everyone else, it seems, so plan to take mom early to avoid the crush. Wander between the stalls, shopping for the larder at Bazaar Spices, gorgeous household items from Salt & Sundry, and kitchen knives at DC Sharp, before pausing for bites from Rappahannock Oyster Bar, the BBQ Joint, and many more.

If mom is a foodie-shopaholic, she’ll also 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, and offers a range of delicious finds, from Fresh Crunch pickles to Chris’ Marketplace crab cakes and delicious dumplings from Pinch. If mom fancies local crafts as much as vegetables, the Olney Farmers & Artists Market features stalls from a variety of artisans as well as food purveyors.

Catch a film while digging into bao buns at the iPic Theaters. Photograph courtesy of iPic Theaters
Catch a film while digging into bao buns at the iPic Theaters. Photograph courtesy of iPic Theaters

Go to a fancy movie theater

Luxury theaters are popping up around Washington, equipped with bars, full-service restaurants, and super-comfy seating—all of which would make for a fun afternoon or evening with the family. Food critic Ann Limpert tested out the fare at Angelika in Fairfax, North Bethesda’s iPic Theaters, and ArcLight Cinemas in Bethesda. New to the scene is the Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, which boasts a cocktail bar, snacks, and plenty of great nearby restaurant options.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.