You are entertaining Mom on Mother's Day (May 8) and want to do something really special.
Here's a grab bag of ideas to start you thinking.
--Purple peonies are in season, and what a lovely surprise on Mother's Day, wherever this romantic Mom may be. Lilacs, irises and tulips are also available nationwide.
--Give Moms who love things cultural a museum membership or a subscription to a stage play or concert series. After a trip to her favorite play, concert or museum, treat her to lunch or dinner at a favorite spot, such as the Museum of Contemporary Art's Il Panino cafe.
--If Mom loves to cook by video, tapes are available at video and bookstores that feature kitchen gurus Mary Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Madeleine Kamman and Julia Child.
--Also unusual are the beautifully arranged baskets of exotic produce (from $39.95) at Stanford Gift Baskets. Or you may want to treat your adventurous Mom to a special outing by hot air balloon over local wine country. Stanford Gift Baskets will arrange the balloon trip, limousine pickup and a gourmet dinner, complete with violin or chamber music. Information: (213) 626-GIFT.
--Mom on a diet? Le St. Germain, 5955 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, offers low-fat dishes for weight-conscious mothers. Chez Melange, 1716 Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, a Pritikin-licensed restaurant, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner items that contain low calorie, fat and sodium counts.
--Take a vegetarian mother on a picnic with a meal from Naturally Fast (11661 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles (213) 444-7886, or 13206 Washington Blvd., Culver City (213) 301-3304), featuring vegetarian fast foods packed to go. No chemical additives, no meat, fish, fowl, eggs or refined sugars.
--Give Mom, the gourmet cook, a subscription to cooking courses at any of the numerous classes taking place throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. (A list appears in Thursday Food Sections of The Times.) Or give Mom a coupon for future classes at some of the Napa Valley wineries, such as Beringer Vineyard's School for American Chefs in St. Helena (Antonia Allegra, (707) 963-7115) or Monticello Winery in Napa (Richard Alexi, (707) 253-2802), where classes are scheduled for June, July and August. Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville offers classes in October, November and December. Information: (707) 944-2866.
--Dessert lovers? Have Mom's favorite dessert delivered. Pearly Gates will deliver luscious gateaux, tortes (Sachertorte ), tarts, mousse cakes, petits fours, cookies and baklava. Desserts average $25 delivered in Los Angeles. Information: (213) 254-0593.
Renta Yenta (818) 907-7807 will deliver their cheesecake (Aunt Rose's comes in 18 flavors, including raspberry cream cheese, $28 delivered) or the Golden Truffle cake (made with chocolate mousse and 24-karat gold leaf, $50 delivered). Renta Yenta can also bring high tea to Mom's home, complete with a tea mistress serving tea from Trumps.
--Mom is a kid at heart? A little fun in the amusement park could be her cup of tea. Knott's Berry Farm, for instance, will feature special Mother's Day dining for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
--High Tea is served at many hotels and restaurants, but how about at an Indian restaurant? Gitanjali, 414 N. La Cienega Blvd., (213) 657-2117, will serve tea blends from India along with finger sandwiches, scones and petit fours.
--If Mom's not available on Mother's Day, some restaurants, such as Siamese Princess, 8048 W. 3rd St., West Hollywood, (213) 653-2643, will celebrate Mother's Day throughout the weekend with a Bangkok-style menu.
--If planning breakfast in bed for Mom, pick up a basket of oatmeal scones or freshly baked scones. Some Crust Bakery, 119 Yale Ave., Claremont, (714) 621-9772; Tudor House, 411 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (213) 451-4107, and Paddington's Tea Room, 729 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 652-0624, have lovely scones, but order a day or two ahead.
--Take your fun-and-pranks Mom to a magic show and Sunday brunch at Magic Island, 3434 Via Lido, Newport Beach, now open to non-members. Information: (714) 675-0900.
--Mom loves a picnic, but not just any picnic? A courier from Perfect Picnics--Specially Delivered, 1308 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach, will deliver baskets for two or more, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Information: (213) 316-2727.
It's in the Bag!, 18730 Oxnard St., Suite 215, Tarzana, delivers gourmet meals, health-conscious meals or prime rib fare. Information: (818) 342-2598.