Columbia’s quirkiest and most beloved restaurant celebrated its 20th birthday on Monday — Cinco de Mayo, as it happens. Blue Cactus sells fantastic traditional Korean food and a little bit of Southwestern-American food. (And somehow, it won the Best Cuban Food category in last year’s Best of Columbia awards, to its dismay. It does serve those tasty Cuban beans, though.) The kitchen can move slowly there; the service can be intentionally a bit curt; you’ll have to bring your own beer or wine; there are numerous tinned meats on humorous display; and the list goes on. Yet to its fans, it might well be the best restaurant anywhere, not just in Columbia. I would personally crawl great distances on my hands and knees for some of Mary Reese’s kimchi. So happy birthday, Blue Cactus. It’s sure hard to imagine Columbia without you.
Hey, It’s Mothers Day
Sunday is Mother’s Day. And what mothers across our great nation demand, apparently, is brunch. At least one must assume so, judging by the preponderance of brunch options on this most maternal of holidays.
And where to brunch?
There are the usual higher-end brunch suspects, all of them excellent choices: Motor Supply Co., Oak Table, Mo Mo’s Bistro. And check with your favorite restaurant — places like Rosso Trattoria are opening for brunch this Sunday, which they usually don’t.
There are the midrange classics: Café Strudel, @116 State (one of my favorite brunches in town, but I’m not your mom), California Dreamin’, DiPrato’s, Harper’s.
If nobody’s going to want a mimosa, Original Pancake House, Just Us Café and Lizard’s Thicket are good options. And don’t overlook some of the great bar brunches around if your mom’s more the beer-for-breakfast type: Cock ‘N Bull Pub, Pizza Man.
If you’re looking for something different, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden hosts a Mothers Day brunch in its Magnolia Room, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The brunch runs $39.95 for adults, and $15.95 for kids ages 3-12. Register online at riverbanks.org.
Or you could check out the South Carolina Railroad Museum, which runs a Mother’s Day brunch train this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Visit scrm.org to reserve a spot.
Gervais & Vine Now Takes Reservations
Not much more to say than what’s in the headline: After years of footloose, reservation-free living, Gervais & Vine is now taking reservations, and has even signed up with Open Table so you can make reservations online. Call the restaurant at 799-8463 or visit opentable.com.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info