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Many Reasons to Celebrate

Special deals mark Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day, including meals fit for a first lady.


Looking for ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Border Grill offers discounted prices on happy-hour eats and drinks from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, plus a mariachi band and dinner specials at a la carte prices from 5 to 10 p.m. 1445 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 451-1655. . . . Mission Street Bakery celebrates on Saturday with a four-course menu offered at two seatings: 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. 1423 Mission St., South Pasadena. (818) 403-8498. $30.

Oh, My Mama: C'mon, spoil your mama on May 11 by liberating her from kitchen patrol for the day and taking her out. Reserve now or run the risk of cooking yourself.

The Nixon Library hosts a brunch featuring favorite dishes of former first ladies by guest chef (and former White House chef) Hans Raffert. Two seatings: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda. (714) 993-5075. $45; $25 for children 8 and under.

Champagne brunch with 11 food stations plus live harp music in the Grand Salon of the Queen Mary. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach. (562) 435-3511. $32; $12 children.

Flowers to all mums at Taix French Restaurant. The special menu runs all day. Noon to 8 p.m. 1911 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 484-1265. $10.95; $6.95.

Live classical music and complimentary Champagne at Mission Street Bakery, where chef Ignatius Evans offers a brunch menu at four seatings. 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 1423 Mission St., South Pasadena. (818) 403-8498. $15.

A holiday dessert station and omelet and salad bars await guests at Torrance Marriott Hotel's Grand Ballroom. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3635 Fashion Way, Torrance. (310) 316-3636, Ext. 6100. $21.95; $18.95 seniors; $12.95 children under 12.

Send her to the Caribbean via a reggae-inspired menu at Calypso. 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 2255 Sawtelle Blvd., West Los Angeles. (310) 477-4255. $19; $9.50 children.

Go beyond herring when Gustaf Anders pulls out all the stops with a lavish smorgasbord. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. South Coast Plaza Village, 1651 Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana. (714) 668-1737. $39; special prices for children.

Mandarin, Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines influence the entree choices in Chang's four-course menu. 4 to 10 p.m. 11726 San Vincente Blvd., Brentwood. (310) 207-2295. $16.95.

Mom gets a free glass of bubbly at Sisley's Italian Kitchens in Los Angeles and Valencia. Brunch prices range from $8.95 to $14.95. 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 10800 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 446-3030; and 24201 W. Valencia Blvd., Valencia. (805) 287-4444.

Not every mother wants an entire meal. How about pastries, finger sandwiches and Earl Gray? The Regent Beverly Wilshire offers a Victorian-era afternoon tea that includes a glass of Champagne. 3 to 6 p.m. 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 275-5200. $23.

Sail away from cares for about 2 1/2 hours with a Champagne brunch cruise aboard Hornblower Dining Yachts. Two departures: 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. from Newport Beach or Marina del Rey. $45. Fisherman's Village, 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 301-9900. 2431 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach. (714) 631-2469.

Circus Time: Cirque du Soleil's Quidam has returned to Santa Monica, and two restaurants are offering deals that include a prix fixe dinner and ticket to the performance. Ocean Avenue Seafood and i Cugini Trattoria offer deals for $85 and $80 respectively. The promotion runs through May 11 depending on ticket availability.

* i Cugini Trattoria, 1501 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 451-4595. Ocean Avenue Seafood, 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 394-5669.

Tango Variations: Carlos Bozoghlian and his family, the new owners of Carlitos Gardel, not only listened to their customers' suggestions, they also acted on them by dropping prices a bit and expanding the menu. Now there are more pastas, more daily specials and a seafood paella ($16.50) every Thursday. Live music (tango and other international sounds) sets the scene Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

If the mood strikes and people feel like it, they push back tables and dance. But there's not much space, says Bozoghlian's son, Carlos.

* Carlitos Gardel, 7963 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 655-0891.

Such a Deal: Kids 10 years old and younger eat free at Pinot restaurants in Studio City, Pasadena, Los Angeles and Napa Valley from a special menu. For locations, call (213) 960-1762. . . . Save money on dim sum by watching the clock. Yin Yang Chinese Restaurant drops prices 50% on their tea-time menu from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. And tea (jasmine, oolong, ginseng, green) is on the house. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City. (310) 556-3333.

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