By Anne Mitchell for CityBeat
Yes, it's May again, and time to get ready for Mother's Day! I have some advice: Do not buy your mom a present! It's just one more thing that, when she eventually moves, you will have to carefully wrap in layers of bubble wrap, put in a box, attach the lid on with miles of tape and carry out to the truck. So do yourself a favor and take your Mama to brunch or buy her a gift that she can eat or drink. (Can you tell that I just helped my mom move? What was your first clue?)
Instead of another fragile figurine, here are my top Mother's Day suggestions:
For all the times that you have driven her to drink: a bottle of Willie Mae's Blackberry Wine from Acres of Land Winery in Kentucky (2285 Barnes Mill Road, Richmond, 859-328-3000, acresoflandwinery.com ). Even people who hate sweet wines love this complex, flavorful, locally made treat, named after the winemaker's own mother. The taste is a cross between mellow blackberry jam and a smooth, tawny port. Available at the Cork 'N Bottle or on-site at the winery, and a drive there would make a perfect Mother's Day road trip.
A work of art that's almost too pretty to eat: cookies from the amazing Queen City Cookies (www.queencitycookies.com ), whose locally baked goodies are now featured in the prestigious foodie catalogue, Dean & Deluca. The cookies are so beautiful that they were showcased at the Carnegie Center's Art of Food opening and were recently named "The Official Cookie of the Cincinnati Opera." Depending on your particular mom, you might want to pick the art of Frida Kahlo, sassy "retro" designs, or go back even further to beautiful Victorian cookie presses.
Visit Queen City Cookies at Findlay Market, and while you're there, pair some cookies with these especially ladylike flavors of Dojo Gelato: Rose Petal, Honey Lavender or Lemon Rosemary Sorbet.
Brunch: a classic way to treat Mom, as well as a good excuse to drink a Bloody Mary. This is for Mom! Did she scream and curse when she was giving birth to you? Well, yes, but that's beside the point. Take her to a nice restaurant with a talented woman in the kitchen, and save the Indigestible House of Breakfast for your own "special day."
Nectar (1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-929-0525, www.dineatnectar.com ) is a great choice for brunch any Sunday, with a mouth-watering selection that ranges from breakfasty French Toast topped with local honey butter, spiced plum compote and Maple Grove Farm maple syrup, to brunchy Nectar Benedict, with a poached farm egg atop a local cornmeal biscuit, with house smoked salmon, oven roasted tomato, sautéed organic spinach, bacon and chipotle-lime hollandaise, to a lunchy Green Acres Angus Burger with aioli and housemade pickles. On Mother's Day, in addition to the regular menu, Chef/owner Julie Francis will feature Marksbury Farm Smoked Chicken Biscuits and Gravy, or Crab, Sweet Potato and Leek Hash with a fresh poached farm egg and orange basil hollandaise. Mama likey.
At Otto's (521 Main St., Covington, 859-491-6678, www.ottosonmain.com ), Chef Molly Thompson is whipping up a roasted Sweet Potato and Chorizo Frittata for your mama to enjoy with freshly squeezed orange juice for her Mimosa or a killer Bloody Mary. And for dessert? White chocolate apricot bread pudding and puff pastry with fresh raspberries and blackberries, housemade caramel and sabayon cream.
And speaking of desserts, at Honey (4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-4300, www.honeynorthside.com ), Summer Genetti would like to sweeten your mom's day. She's planning a lavender Pavlova with white chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries, strawberry shortcake trifle with basil angel food cake and balsamic laced strawberries, Grandma Tilly's banana cake and chocolate-caramel pot de crème with Chantilly cream and toffee-covered popcorn. One of those, as a follow-up to Chef Cameron Serring's crab cakes Benedict or sweet potato bread pudding with confit pork jowl and poached eggs, sauced with whole-grain mustard buerre blanc? You will love it, Mom will love you, and the movers will be so sorry they missed out on the upcharge for all those boxes marked "Fragile."
Mother's Day is one of the busiest dining days of the year. Make reservations!
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