It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday. But before you start making brunch plans, consider this: going out for a mid-morning meal with your mom isn’t necessarily going to be the carefree meal it promises to be. First of all, if you’re going out, hopefully you made reservations a few weeks in advance. That is, if you can. Lots of restaurants that offer brunch are first-come, first serve. Even if you did make a reservation, there may be long waits for a table or service and crowds of fellow “hangry” families. None of these things are relaxing or fun. (Of course, some moms don’t mind the hubbub*, and if your mother enjoys the experience of being taken out for brunch, or any other meal, then do it. Just do it.)
But there is an alternative: instead of going out to brunch, bring brunch to her. Before you freak out and think we’re suggesting cooking an elaborate meal, relax. This just involves pick-up and take-out foods. We realize that there’s a reason that Mother’s Day is the best-selling day for KFC – we’re not all accomplished chefs, but we still want to treat our moms to a meal she didn’t have to cook, prepare or buy for herself. Fortunately, we live in the Bay Area, where there are more options for prepared to-go foods beyond the Colonel’s secret recipe.
Here are a just few brunch take-out ideas to inspire you a few days before Mother’s Day. This should give you enough time to call ahead to make advance orders (which we suggest you do). We chose places that offer both sweet and savory selections to grab a variety of things while you’re there, but feel free to mix and match two or more of these suggestions to make your mama extra happy. We also chose foods that can be served warm or room temperature, so your mom can take her time and eat when she’s ready.
Don’t forget to set the table and pour drinks before inviting the guest of honor to sit down. And after you’ve enjoyed your food, make sure to clear the table and wash the dishes, too.
Bagels and all the fixings
Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen Saul’s is a popular brunch spot on a normal day, so it goes without saying that it would be extra busy on a holiday. But you’ll get big points for bringing Mom a platter stacked high with fresh bagels from Baron Baking, along with fixings like plain cream cheese, smoked salmon spread, whitefish salad, lox, hummus and the typical vegetable accoutrement. Or if bagels aren’t your mom’s thing, any of Saul’s deli items are available for quick and easy take-out. Just make sure to call in your order a day or two before heading over for easiest and fastest pick-up.
Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, 1475 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine), Berkeley
Elmwood Café Most breakfast sandwiches come on puffy buns, which we’re perfectly fine with, but we like that Elmwood Café offers its breakfast sandwiches on sliced bread that’s been pressed on a panini grill. Choose from spinach, bacon, egg, and cheddar on sourdough or mushroom, egg, havarti and gruyere cheeses on levain. While you’re at Elmwood, you can pick up some pastries, cookies, house-made granola, honey, almond butter and other spreads.
Elmwood Café, 2900 College Ave. (at Russell), Berkeley
Quiche and savory breads
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop This bakery is a local favorite amongst savory baked good lovers. One of its specialties is its quiche, which its fans love for its flaky, buttery crust and its luscious custard filling, which is both rich in flavor and light in texture. The quiches change daily, but when I stopped in earlier this week, the bakery said that it would probably be serving its ham, spinach and swiss quiche and its asparagus and swiss quiche. Should you want to order a whole quiche, call at least a day in advance. Other savory baked goods from Sweet Adeline worth noting are its focaccia and ricotta cheese galettes. And of course, it has a bounty of sweet treats, too.
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, 3350 Adeline St. (at 62nd), Berkeley
Fournée Bakery If your mom loves croissants, she’ll love you even more if you bring her an assortment of buttery, flakey sweet and savory croissants from Fournée. On a recent visit, we enjoyed the mushroom and cheese croissant topped with sunflower seeds. We also love its ham and egg croissant, which is a full breakfast in a compact, handheld form – perfect brunch food. And of course, we can’t forget the chocolate almond croissants, which blow away any chocolate or almond croissant we’ve had before. Its crunchy sugar-coated crust gives way to an oozy almond filling and a deep, rich chocolately interior; it’s a wonder. Note, street parking is limited and traffic can be congested on Domingo, so your best bet is to park a block or more away.
Fournée Bakery, 2912 Domingo Ave. (at Russell), Berkeley
Casa Latina Maybe your mom is more of a fan of Mexican breads and sweets. If so, pop by Casa Latina on San Pablo Avenue to pick up a selection of freshly baked, lard-free pan dulce, like concha (a sweet bread with a shell-patterned crackled crust), cuernos (horn-shaped pastries) and polvorones (shortbread cookies) from this West Berkeley panaderia. Casa Latina also has a bevy of savory made-to-order foods, like tamales, pupusas, tortas, burritos and more.
1805 San Pablo Ave. (between Delaware and Hearst), Berkeley
Temescal Farmers Market We know, we said we weren’t going to make you cook, but most of the foods you’ll get at this North Oakland farmers market, tucked within the DMV parking lot, require little to no cooking or prep. Pick up farm fresh fruit, salad greens and other veggies, pastries and breads, pasture-raised eggs, cheese, local honey, yogurt, coffee, and a bounty of other fresh offerings – basically everything you need to have yourself an amazing brunch spread. The market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Temescal Farmers Market, 5300 Claremont Ave (at Cavour), Oakland
*Fenton’s Creamery If your mom has a sweet tooth and doesn’t mind waiting in a long, sometimes chaotic line, Fenton’s Creamery is offering a free petite sundae for moms. This offer is good for both dine-in and take-out customers, but mom must be there. That’s OK, because that sundae would never make it back home to your mom intact (or uneaten) anyway.
Fenton’s Creamery, 226 Piedmont Ave. (at Entrada), Oakland