Mother’s Day tradition is pretty well established: Reservations someplace nice, maybe some flowers from hubby or a handmade card from the kiddos.
But what if mom is in the mood for something different? I’ve compiled five events or things to do on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 14, or that weekend, that don’t fit the traditional mold. You can eat at all of them and yes, there’s wine at most.
Most people know Wonder Valley Ranch Resort as a place that hosts weddings or retreats. But the picturesque 75 acres (technically in Sanger) with a man-made lake also hosts special occasion meals like Mother’s Day – and there’s adventurous activities like horseback riding and trampoline jumping available too.
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“It’s only a 35-minute drive or so from Fresno, but you feel like you’re a world away,” says general manager Kalene Ramirez.
Diners can sit indoors or go outside for lakeside dining. The Champagne brunch is a full buffet with a little bit of everything: Ham carved to order, beef, salmon, barbecue pork ribs, omelets, pasta and dessert.
The brunch runs from 9:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. with reservations available every 15 minutes on Mother’s Day. Cost: $34.95 for adults (that includes Champagne), $15.95 for ages 6 to 12 and $5.95 for ages 3 to 5. Under age 3 are free.
The activities cost extra and come in various packages. A sample of what will be available that day: Trampolines, water slides, trolley rides and horseback riding. More information is available on Wonder Valley’s website. Call 559-787-2551 for package details or to make reservations.
Eat dessert first
A pop-up bakery is happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Vintage Market at 601, Sunday, May 14. That’s the store selling antiques, vintage finds and art at 601 W. Shaw Ave. near Palm Avenue. The bakers are inviting customers to “bring their favorite mom” and let her pick out her own gift at the store before chowing down on something yummy.
Customers grab a box and fill it with different baked goods that are priced separately. These bakery pop-ups are growing in popularity, with people lining up beforehand to get a first crack at the goodies, so don’t come late.
This is the last pop-up bakery of the year hosted by Ooh De Lolli’s Donna Mott and friends (this time it’s Deandra Miller of the Clovis bakery Sweet Delicates and Brian Williams, macaron maker and baker at website Follow the Baker).
The pop up is mostly sweet treats, with the exception of quiches and focaccia bread, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go home and celebrate mom by eating dessert first.
Also available that day: Colorful French macaron sandwich cookies, traditional coconut macaroons, brownies, carrot cakes, rhubarb galettes (like mini pies) and more.
OK, this one is a traditional restaurant, but it’s not exactly a special occasion place. I mention it because of how many times I hear readers rave about Al’s. This one is for the moms who care more about good food than the frilly stuff.
Al’s is at 1823 W. Olive Ave., near Highway 99. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. serving Mexican and American food.
Its portions are huge.
“(When) we feed you, you don’t need a snack after,” says Anna Contreras, who runs the restaurant with her father Al.
The restaurant is best known for its red chile verde. The menu is online and also includes pancakes, sandwiches, salads, tacos and burritos.
They don’t take formal reservations – and expect it to be packed – but you can call the restaurant at 559-233-9226 when you’re five or 10 minutes away and they’ll put your name on the waiting list.
Wine first, food second
Wine lovers have several different options on Mother’s Day. The Madera Spring Wine Trail happens Saturday, May 13 (if you want to beat the mom’s day crowds) and Sunday May 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Participating wineries have all sorts of things going, some pairing wine with nibbles, including chocolate. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 the day of the event. Specifics are available at the MaderaWineTrail.com.
Wine lovers who don’t want to drive can join a mini bus tour of five wineries in Madera County. This happens only on Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $45 per person and the last day to purchase tickets is Wednesday, May 10. Buy them by calling 559-275-2910.
What about the food?
Wineries will have some food vendors available and guests are welcome to bring snacks or a picnic lunch. One group ordered a pizza delivered to the next winery they were visiting.
The tour leaves from Golden Eagle Charter’s office at 4133 W. Alamos Ave. in Fresno.
If you’re looking for wine tasting with a proper meal, Kings River Winery in Sanger is hosting a Mother’s Day lunch at 4276 S Greenwood Ave. Lunch is from noon to 2 p.m. by Honeydew Catering. The menu includes skirt steak, lemon-thyme chicken, crispy risotto balls, pasta and mini crab cakes. A glass of wine is also included.
Cost: $31.95 for adults, $28.75 for wine club members and $14.95 for children ages 5 to 12. The deadline to reserve a spot is Wednesday, May 10. Tickets can be purchased at www.kingsriverwinery.com or by calling 559-259-3286.
Outside the box
Hotels often host special occasion meals and two hotels in Fresno and Visalia are doing just that.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center at 2233 Ventura St. in Fresno is hosting a Mother’s Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are a ton of food options to choose from, including prime rib, lobster ravioli, cedar plank salmon, and a seafood selection that includes crab legs. Traditional breakfast dishes, salads and dessert are on the menu too. There will be a kids menu.
Cost: $38.95 for adults, $30.95 for seniors, $14.95 for children ages 5 to 12. Children 4 and under are free. Reservations: 559-268-1000.
The Wyndham Visalia Hotel is hosting a Mother’s Day Champagne brunch buffet. The menu includes prime rib, ham, a seafood buffet that includes caviar and oysters on the half shell, along with a kids dessert station.
Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Café California inside the hotel. Cost: $28 for adults, $26 for seniors, $15 for kids. Children age 6 and under are free. Reservations: 559-651-5000 ext. 2617 or ext. 2314.