This column is for my sons. If you have daughters, please ignore – there’ll be no need to leave this column in some prominent spot in your home. Your daughters, being daughters, have been planning a Mother’s Day treat for months now. I, on the other hand, am pinning it in the fridge. Not to the door, mind you – they won’t notice. This will be clipped to the cold cuts.
Are you aware, my darling boys, what mothers – burdened with the joy of unconditional giving and the anxiety of deeply caring – most want on our super-special day? Allow me to enlighten you. We want thoughtful preparation by those to whom we give and over whom we fret.
Pre-planning: nothing left to the last possible second so that everything fine is already booked. (Booked by daughters. And the occasional spouse whose daughter has reminded him that something needs to be done.) Pre-planning means that the super special day comes together in such a way that mother isn’t left to do it herself. Which it often is, and which she often does and which, you may recall, makes her grumpy.
So I am giving you a week – seven long days – to get your plans for Mother’s Day. (It’s May 11th.) A celebration on Saturday May 10th would be fine too. Friday works just as well. I don’t care. Check the calendar. (It’s on the wall in the kitchen – the thing I write everything on.) Herewith a few suggestions.
A picnic. Check the long-range forecast.
I’m thinking maybe sushi… the MHK Sushi on Richmond Road would work well. Or Genji on Lisgar Street. You will need to pre-order the stuff – the menu is on their web sites. (All this useful information at the end of this.)
If not sushi, why not Thai? Best places to pick up? Well, in Ottawa West there’s Nokham Thai, or its sister restaurant, Chaba Thai on Rochester. And for gentle salad rolls, crowded with crunch and fragrance and dunked into a jumping good sauce, there’s Som Tum on Nepean Street. If we are picnicking in the Gatineau Hills (now there’s a thought!) Chez le Thai on rue Laval is delicious.
Fancy a curry? My favourites? Little India Café on Wylie Avenue, close to the Coliseum on Carling (and no, I don’t want to go see Harold and Kumar after butter chicken for Mother’s Day). Coconut Lagoon on St Laurent, or Ceylonta, either location on Carling or Somerset, both fantastic for south Indian/Sri Lankan fare.
Other ideas for pick-up-for-a picnic might include a Mexican feast at Ahora in the Market, a Chinese one at Mekong on Somerset or at Veranda d’Or at Conroy and Lorry Greenberg, or the fine seasonal offerings at Delish in Hull. Feel like chicken? Pick up some succulent spit-roasted birds at the newly reopened-after-fire, Les Grillades on Holland. I would think we’d need two whole chickens, and don’t forget an order of their roast potatoes doused with olive oil, lemon and coriander, extra tabouli, extra pita, and a large container of their smoky baba ghanouj.
Pick up dessert at Three Tarts. They are CLOSED ON SUNDAY. You will need to order this AHEAD OF TIME.
Most mothers I know like chocolate. This one does. Good chocolate. In a pinch, you can pick up a slab of the fantastic Green and Black milk chocolate. (Mothers need calcium.) I know Herb And Spice on Wellington carries it. If you’re not too tired from all your ordering – I am aware this is likely overwhelming for you – head straight to our neighbourhood chocolate queen, Truffle Treasures, and pick some choice treats. Treat yourself to a gelato. Tell your dad it’s on him.
Don’t forget a blanket. Leave your cell phones at home. If you sense flowers for the picnic blanket are in order (and you do sense that) don’t nick them from the Experimental Farm.
If the weather isn’t screaming picnic, take me to a restaurant out of town – this will force you to spend the day with me. How about Castlegarth in White Lake Village, or The Good Food Company in Carleton Place, Chez Eric in Wakefield, or Les Fougeres in Chelsea? (If this is your idea for playing it safe, here’s another hint: book a table now. You will not be the only son out there playing it safe.)
Please note, if you take me to a pub on a hockey play off night, I’ll see right through it. But if you do take me to a pub, I like Chez Lucien on Murray and TheManx on Elgin, though TV’s aren’t in great abundance at either. (Sad for you, but fine for me.) And for a pub-like atmosphere but with an exceptional wine list and great pizza, there’s the fun Piz’za-za on rue Laval.
To make your life easier, here are the Coles notes. You could also check out the very handy book Capital Dining – which your mother wrote just for these sorts of event-planning challenges.
I love you all very, very much. And being your mother is the joy of my life. Since eating is the joy of yours, we should get along fine. Chose wisely.
MHK Sushi, 429 Richmond Road, 613-798-0800; open daily
Genji, 175 Lisgar Street, 613-236-2880 www.genji.ca
Nokham Thai 747 Richmond Rd., 613-724-6620; open daily
Chaba Thai, 540 Rochester St., 613-321-2704; open daily
Som Tum, 260 Nepean St., 613-789-7355; www.thaitaste.ca
Chez le Thai, 39 rue Laval, Gatineau, 819-770-7227; www.chezlethai.com
Little India Café, 66 Wylie Ave., 613-828-2696; open daily
Coconut Lagoon, 853 St Laurent Blvd., 613-742-4444; open daily www.coconutlagoon.ca
Ceylonta, 403 Somerset St. W., 613-237-7812 or 2920 Carling Ave., 613-828-7812; www.ceylonta.com
Ahora, 307 Dalhousie Avenue, 613-562-2081; www.ahora.ca
Mekong, 637 Somerset St. W., 613-237-7717; www.mekong.ca
Veranda d’Or, 4 Lorry Greenberg Dr., 613-736-1965; open daily
Delish, 45 rue Laval, 819-771-3456; open Monday to Friday (call ahead!)
Les Grillades, 85 Holland Ave., 613-792-3224; open daily
Three Tarts, 1320 Wellington St. W., 613-729-9832; closed Sunday/Monday
Truffle Treasures, 348 Richmond Rd., 613-761-3859
Good Food Company, 31 Bridge St., Carleton Place, 613-257-7284, open for lunch/brunch Tuesday to Sunday, dinner Friday only
Chez Eric, 119 chemin Valley, Wakefield, 819-459-3747; closed Monday
Les Fougeres, 783 Route 105, Chelsea; 819-827-8942; www.fougeres.ca
Castlegarth, 90 Burnstown Rd., White Lake, 613-623-3472 www.castlegarth.ca
Chez Lucien, 137 Murray Street, 613-241-3533; open daily
The Manx, 370 Elgin St., 613-231-2070; open daily
Piz/za-za, 36 rue Laval, Gatineau, 819-771-0565; www.pizzaza.ca