Mother's Day is the time to treat mom to a meal she didn't have to make herself.

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As a mom of a rebellious poodle pup, I tend to celebrate Mother's Day the same way every year: brunch with my family at one of our favorite dog-friendly restaurants. I shower my mom with gifts and my husband gifts me with a new pair of shoes, as my little Lucille Ball a.k.a. "Lulu" has usually destroyed a pair over the course of the last year. Like most moms, it is one of my favorite days of the year, and no matter where you end up celebrating, it's who you are celebrating with that makes the day special. While Mother's Day has long been linked to brunch celebrations, there are no shortage of special lunch and dinner destinations to help you "celebrate out of the box" with mom this year.

Mother's Day Brunch

Coppa Osteria
5210 Morningside Dr.
713-522-3535
coppaosteriahouston.com

As a native Houstonian, I've spent years exploring all the nooks and crannies of our ever-expanding city. From Uptown to downtown, West Ave to CityCentre, I enjoy getting to know all of the different shops, museums, restaurants, hotels and more in each neighborhood. Native or not, however, it's fairly obvious that one of the most popular shopping and dining destinations in the city right now is Rice Village, adjacent to the posh West U. With rows and rows of high end stores, boutiques, coffee shops and cafes, Rice Village is an all-around hot spot for Houstonians who want to spend a day soaking it all in.

Within the past year, a new crop of eateries have been popping up in Rice Village. The dynamic scene includes newbies such as Punk's Simple Southern Food, Cyclone Anaya's and Fellini Cafe all located in the retail plaza at Morningside and Dunstan. The plaza also houses famed Houston chef Brandi Key's swanky Italian restaurant Coppa Osteria. As it is, Rice Village is heavy on pedestrian traffic (rare for Houston), but the addition of these new patio restaurants only enhanes the lively outdoor scene.

Brunch at Coppa offers a sophisticated al fresco experience with menu options including Italian baked eggs and sausage or house-cured salmon pizza, along with classic brunch cocktails (the Coppa frozen peach bellini topped with Champagne is my favorite!). The dishes are simple but elegant, and prepared with high quality, super-fresh ingredients. While Coppa boasts a stellar fine dining atmosphere, the brunch scene is definitely child-appropriate. A nearby courtyard makes for a fantastic place to explore after brunch with the little ones. If brunch is what your mom has her heart set on this year, then the patio at Coppa Osteria in Rice Village is the place to celebrate.

The s'mores crepe at Sweet Paris, decadent layers of nutella and melted marshmallow

Image: Megha Tejpal

Mother's Day Lunch

Sweet Paris Crêperie
CityCentre
797 Sorella Ct.
832-770-9086
sweetparis.com

When you don't "always have Paris..." you have Sweet Paris in Houston, oui oui! A most charming restaurant known for its mouth-watering sweet and savory crêpes, Sweet Paris takes the crêpe craze to a bold new level with a distinctive menu and heavenly French decor. After finding success in its original space in—where else?—Rice Village, Sweet Paris opened a second location at CityCentre, and it's this location, surrounded by an array of clothing and jewelry stores, that's a perfect place to celebrate Mom. The scenic main lawn at CityCentre is often filled with live entertainers, art shows, farmer's markets and more. The weekends bring about people from all over the city who want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the bustling scene. While CityCentre is home to many unique restaurants, Sweet Paris offers food so flavorful and a dining room so delightful, no mother can resist!

The menu at Sweet Paris places a heavy focus on breakfast, lunch and dessert crêpes, but also features soups, salads, panini, a full coffee bar and a selection of beer and wine. The restaurant boasts a variety of vegetarian crepes as well as the option for vegan, gluten and dairy-free batters. The team at Sweet Paris proves to be adventurous in their crêpe-making as some of the flavors go above and beyond your typical crêpe. After all, we do live in Texas and there is no doubt a high demand for a chicken enchilada crêpe, which Sweet Paris thoughtfully offers. But if your mom is anything like mine, she may enjoy a lighter option—perhaps the truffled caprese crêpe for lunch—with a hearty s'mores dessert crêpe to follow!

Take Mom for a "no reservations" dinner at Coltivare.

Image: Kate LeSueur

Mother's Day Dinner

Coltivare
3320 White Oak Dr.
713–637–4095
coltivarehouston.com

For the mom who has seen it all as far as local restaurants go, there is only one place that reflects the new age of the Houston restaurant scene: Coltivare. Choosing to forego the typical layout of most restaurants, Coltivare's unique design integrates an on-site garden in which over chef Ryan Pera grows up to 90 percent of the fruits, vegetables and herbs used in the dishes his team serves each evening. This one-of-a-kind concept surely gives new meaning to the term "farm-to-table."

Located along White Oak Dr. in the Heights, Coltivare is visually striking at night as the quaint restaurant spills onto the patio, and the patio into the well-manicured garden. The garden doubles as a waiting area on most evenings, in part due to Coltivare's no reservations policy, which it's had in place since opening in 2014 (though the hostesses will take your number and text when your table is ready if you feel like taking a stroll down the street). When dinner service starts at 5 p.m., diners begin strolling in for a glimpse of the lush garden and a taste of the fresh fare. Signature menu items include the heirloom carrots and roasted beet salad, charred octopus with local potatoes and grapefruit and pizzas topped with prosciutto, fresh tomato and sage. To wash it all down, Coltivare proudly spotlights a full bar complete with craft cocktails created by co-owner Morgan Weber and substantial wine list.

I consider the Heights an alluring pocket of Houston with so much left to explore. From antiquing on West 19th to taking a stoll down the Heights Trail, there are plenty of "mom-friendly" places in the area. Planning on dining at a restaurant that doesn't take reservations—especially on Mother's Day—may sound crazy but somehow the time passes quickly when you feel the warmth of this Heights gem.

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