Mother’s Day is probably the biggest brunch day of the year. I don’t have a clue why. Brunch food is almost always mediocre, overpriced and perfect for inducing a diabetic coma or cardiac arrest. Maybe anesthetizing yourself and mama with mimosas and Hollandaise is an unconscious expression of your childhood rage. Maybe not.
Just so you know, Wikipedia traces the origin of the word “brunch” to an 1896 British essay in which the author effectively praises the hybrid meal as an alternative to the heavy, traditional Sunday dinner after church. He mentions its particular value to “Saturday night carousers.”
That is of course the meal’s ordinary function—guzzling hangover cures and meeting your friends to discuss in excruciatingly boring detail your Saturday night trick. Meanwhile, your friends’ heads snap back and forth, cruising others on the patio and texting Grindr zombies until their drunken fingers lose erectile function.
So where to take mama? Practically every restaurant in town that’s ordinarily open for brunch will feature a special menu. Just call your favorite or a popular fine-dining spot and make a reservation. Here are a few brunch spots that might prove a pleasant change from the usual:
Canton House: An unforgivable sin is taking your mother to a cafeteria or a god-awful, all-you-can-eat buffet. As close as you’re allowed to get is dim sum, and Canton House deservedly remains the city’s favorite. Carts bearing sumptuous small plates of authentic Chinese food continually circle the huge din- ing room. Don’t worry. It’s not all chicken feet. Unchallenging rice dishes, delicious barbecue buns, and shrimp dumplings, among many other mama-pleasing dishes, are available. A party of four or more will have the most fun. Warning: no reservations; the wait can be a bit long. 4825 Buford Hwy., 770-936-9030, www. cantonhouserestaurant.com.
The General Muir: There’s a huge change in Atlanta’s dining scene. People have finally stopped complaining that there’s not a good deli in the city. The General Muir racked up just about every best new restaurant award last year and was cited in na- tional lists too. Chef Todd Ginsberg offers the city’s best Reuben by far, but you’ll also find the likes of smoked hash with crisped pas- trami, French toast made with house-baked challah, smoked salmon over latkes and trout-roe omelets. Sunday brunch is served 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and, alas, no reservations are taken. 1540 Avenue Place, B-230, 678-927-9131, www.thegeneralmuir.com.
Lips: Have you kept mama in the dark? Why not come roaring out of the closet and take her to gospel brunch at this drag dinner theater? She’ll see that Jesus approves your “lifestyle.” Hosted by Bubba D. Licious and the Sequin Sisters, the inexpensive dinner ($14.95) and show ($5), includes a mimosa or Bloody Mary, but you’ll drink much more. The food is the usual chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, and such. It’s the experience that matters. Reservations are taken. 3011 Buford Hwy., 404-315-7711, www.lipsatl.com.
St. Cecilia: Maybe mama wants trendy and new. This is the latest in chef/restaurateur Ford Fry’s empire (The Optimist, JCT, No. 246). The specialty is “coastal European food”—seafood and pasta, in other words. The Mother’s Day menu (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) includes Chef Brian Horn’s wildly popular hearth-roasted octopus; the “fontina melt” with a fried egg, prosciutto, mushrooms and frisee; and more convention- al dishes like eggs en cocotte, smoked salmon and ricotta pancakes. 3455 Peachtree Rd., 404-554-9995, www. stceciliaatl.com.
Woodfire Grill: Does mama have taste and want a real meal? Take her to a special Mother’s Day supper, 3-9 p.m. Sunday at this midtown favorite. Chef Tyler Williams is preparing a three-course meal that includes starters like black cod casserole or a vibrant salad and entrees such as pecan-dusted trout and ratatouille pot pie. 1782 Cheshire Bridge Road., 404-347-9055, www.woodfiregrill.com.
Cliff Bostock, PhD, besides being a longtime Atlanta dining critic, is a psychotherapist-turned-life coach, specializing in creativity, midlife transition and gay issues. He offers individual sessions and group workshops. www.cliffbostock.com.