The Way to Mom's Heart is Through Her Stomach: Mother's Day Brunch

We've already put our mothers through enough, so don't add "forgetting Mother's Day" to the list, okay? I say skip the trinkets and go right for the good stuff: brunch, complete with cocktails. Breaking bread with Mom and spending quality time with her will make her a lot happier than the latest season of Dancing with the Stars on DVD. Trust us. If you can't resist getting mom a gift, how about today's VOICE Deal of the Day? 54 percent off ($30 for $65) a 60-minute Swedish massage at AAA Wellness Holistic Massage Spa and Pain Management Clinic. On to brunch ideas:

t'afia Chef Monica Pope delivers her signature fresh, local food with the t'afia Mother's Day Brunch menu: three courses, with choices, for $35, plus a 12-and-under menu for $15 per person. Explore t'afia's take on classics like deviled eggs, omelets, seared scallops and crème brulee, among other tasty dishes. Brunch will be served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and a reservation is required. Reservations can be made at online or by calling 713-524-6922.

Mockingbird Bistro Mockingbird is one of my personal favorites (I love their happy hour, you know) because the food is delicious and the staff--from waiters to valets--is friendly and outgoing. This year they are offering a three-course prix-fixe menu featuring tantalizing dishes like slow-roasted onion soup, Country Frittata with crawfish, asparagus and gruyere, and Godiva White Chocolate Cheesecake. $59 for adults, $25 for kids under 10. Mockingbird will be serving Mother's Day brunch between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. You can make reservations at Mockingbird online or by phone at 713-533-0200.

Quattro at the Four Seasons Quattro will be extending brunch hours and expanding the menu in honor of Mother's Day: multiple carving stations, an egg station featuring custom omelets and scrambles, an antipasti station, a raw bar, a pasta station, and a dessert station, of course. A kid-friendly station will also be available to keep younger palates happy. You can brunch at Quattro between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Adults eat for $77 each; price includes Bloody Marys, mimosas, and champagne; kids 6-12 eat for $25 each, and that price includes ice cream and milkshakes. There will be complimentary valet parking. Reservations are required, call 713-650-1300.

Valentino This brunch features an appetizer buffet and a complimentary bubbly cocktail (mimosa or bellini) in addition to your choice of nine exquisite entrees. Then satisfy your sweet tooth at the dessert table. Adults can brunch at Valentino this Mother's Day for $38, and kids under 12 for $12 (kids 3 and under eat free). Call for reservations: 713-850-9200.

Prego From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Prego will serve a three-course Mother's Day brunch. The menu includes yummy treats like beef carpaccio, frittata with jumbo lump crabmeat, and farm-raised pheasant breast. The Panna Cotta Profiterole almost makes me wish I had kids to take me out to brunch. The adult brunch costs $42 per person, kids eat for $10. Vegetarians--don't look so down! Prego is offering up a three-course Vegan/Vegetarian menu alongside their standard Mother's Day Brunch. Herbivores eat for $30 each. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 713-529-2420.

Hugo's Chef Hugo Ortega knows how to make brunch happen, so this brunch is sure to be a hit with Mom. Their special Mother's Day brunch buffet will be accompanied by live music from Viento. If mom enjoys authentic regional Mexican cuisine, Hugo's is the right choice. Mother's Day brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adults dine for $39, children under 10 eat for $12. Reservations highly recommended; call 713-524-7744.

Fung's Kitchen How about some dim sum? Fung's is my favorite place in the city for dim sum. If you can get your hands on the deep-fried taro puffs, do it--in fact, clean out the cart, because these are heavenly. This is a very traditional dim sum, with all of the food wheeled around on carts and dished out by staff who keep track of your dishes by stamping your table's card. Last time I went they had switched out their jasmine tea with a less-delicious chamomile, and I'm hoping next time I return the jasmine will have returned. No matter, this is a fun alternative to traditional Mother's Day brunch. Sunday brunch is always packed at Fung's, so I imagine Mother's Day will be extra busy. Call for reservations at 713-779-2288. Sunday dim sum hours: 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.

Backstreet Café Backstreet chef Hugo Ortega is putting on a special three-course Mother's Day brunch this Sunday. Served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., brunch is accompanied by the sounds of live jazz provided by Bob Chadwick. Some of the standouts from the menu: shrimp-stufffed artichoke bottom, grilled rib-eye steak with salsa verde, and plum clafouti. Adults brunch is $42 each, kids under ten eat for $10. Reservations are recommended; call 713-521-2239.

Houstonian Hotel: Olivette When I was a kid, my favorite fancy brunches were always in fancy hotels, and the Houstonian qualifies. Their three-course Mother's Day brunch menu at the Olivette restaurant has a beautiful selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts, and includes vegetarian-friendly options like French toast and pancakes. You can make a reservation at Olivette at the Houstonian online or by calling 713-685-6713.

*17 Restaurant If you want to sleep in a little but still enjoy Mother's Day brunch, check out *17 at the Alden Hotel downtown. The brunch menu is decidedly more "lunch" than "breakfast," and they are serving up their special three-course Mother's Day menu for $55 per person between noon and 8 p.m. Book your reservation at *17 online or make one by phone at 832-200-8800.

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Christina Uticone