by Anneli Rufus
All mothers get free mimosas with brunch this coming Sunday at Pasta Pomodoro, whose East Bay restaurants are in Oakland, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, and Union City.
PP's special Mother's Day Brunch menu, which includes strawberry-mascarpone-cream French toast, uova asparagi (baked cage-free eggs with asparagus and parmesan), homemade scones, and other items, is among many innovations throughout the restaurant group, which is under new ownership and rolled out a new menu last month. Along with a promotion aiding Bay Area food banks and an expanded wine list focusing on small, family-owned outfits such as Lodi's Macchia, the new menu emphasizes locally sourced ingredients such as Belfiore cheeses and Niman Ranch and Zoe's Meats, and features many seasonal, lighter, and vegetarian versions of Italian classics such as chicken Marsala with organic spinach, juicy (and chemical-free) shrimp on grilled bread, linguine in lemony cream sauce, gnocchi with smoked Scamorza cheese, and succulent eggplant parmigiana. The menu helpfully cites the number of calories in each dish.
At the Oakland PP, whose outdoor seating is augmented by patio heaters and candlelight, general manager Marco DiTano — the former owner of San Francisco's Mondo Caffe — can advise diners on regional Italian specialties, and chef David Bolosan has devised a revolutionary recipe for Brussels sprouts. (Those who miss Mother's Day and/or aren't moms can still score free birthday desserts year' round.)
Other East Bay Mother's Day deals include complimentary champagne cocktails for mothers having brunch or dinner at Berkeley's Adagia and free champagne or mimosas for moms at Lafayette's Chevalier. Good news for moms with little angels: Kids aged four and under eat free at two different Mother's Day brunches — at Miss Pearl's Jam House in Jack London Square AND at the Claremont Hotel's Meritage.