Make the most of Mother's Day with outings and cups of cheer

(Written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

The wider practice of the day encourages us to honor the moms in our lives who have passed away. They may not be with us, but we can humbly appreciate the way their love shaped us and remember that we carry them with us daily. A single dad playing the role of both parents should be celebrated for his maternal side. And the women who lean on one another for uniquely female comfort and strength can gather in gratitude for the motherly forces in their lives.

Of course, with this extension of the holiday, popular brunch spots might have lines wrapping around the block. The fix: expand our ideas of where to celebrate mom and mom-figures.

For a maternal figure who would love nothing more than some quality time at home, declare the day a screen-free one and head outside. After weeks of increasingly warm weather, May means that the ground has enough heat in it for seeds to thrive. This makes Sunday a super day to replant garden boxes and vegetable patches. For nongardeners, a simple herb box or a flowerpot for the front step will bring life and color into their lives.
Once the seedlings are in the soil, an herbaceous cocktail and relaxing lunch menu can extend the gardening theme. Pick up a quiche or other prepared food items from a local market, and while you’re there, buy the ingredients for my Pink Dog Cocktail.

The Pink Dog gets its name from brightly colored Aperol, an Italian aperitif made of bitter orange, rhubarb, the gentian flower and a variety of other lush ingredients. Gorgeous in color, it is bitter and refreshing. I’m delighted to use the aperitif in my perfect-for-Mother’s Day revision of a Salty Dog.


  • 1 ounce gin (can use vodka)
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • 3 ounces pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
  • Slices of grapefruit for garnish
Fill old-fashioned glass with ice. Add all ingredients and stir, garnish and relax.

Last year, my husband planned a hike for Mother’s Day that checked all the right boxes. It was short enough for our children to do without complaint and ended at a winery. He packed a picnic in his backpack and designated himself the driver to the Zinfandel Trail in Cupertino.

Butterfly along the Zinfandel Trail

In less than two miles, we arrived at Picchetti Winery. Built in the 1890s, Picchetti can boast about being one of California’s oldest wineries. Since last year’s visit, I’ve thought how lovely it would be to do this same hike with a group of friends.

Picchetti was such a good idea that loads of other people had already thought of it. The parking lot was jammed with cars, and every spot of the lovely grounds was full with families and friends enjoying the afternoon. Despite the sheer number of people, we did not feel crowded. The mood was one of good cheer. And the employees working in the tasting room were well able to manage the surge in visitors.

Picchetti’s wines are as charming as its location. Guests can do a tasting or purchase a bottle to enjoy on the property.

That day, our lunch was a curry chicken salad, roasted vegetables and Brie. A bottle of 2016 White Pavone ($28.95), the winery’s signature white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewurztraminer, proved the ideal accompaniment.

If your picnic features charcuterie, Picchetti’s 2017 Mattie Rosé ($29.95) would be a super choice to drink beside the cured meats.

Castro Street in Mountain View is bustling with a seemingly ever-growing list of restaurants. One particularly family-friendly spot is Bierhaus. Communal tables in the outside dining garden mean multiple families can gather together. A selection of board games provides great entertainment for children.

It’s not just the atmosphere they’ve gotten right at Bierhaus – the menu is varied enough for all diners to find something. Traditional German fare along with dishes that lean more toward Middle Eastern cuisine give a great spectrum of options. A well-curated beer list and a small but interesting wine list encourage a lazy afternoon with family.


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