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.
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.
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.
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