Thomas J. Story

We love Mother’s Day because it’s an excuse to share the bounty of the West with our moms. Here’s the Best of the West this special week

Sunset Staff  – May 6, 2019

A New Organic Skincare Line for Adventurous Mommas

“I’ve long been a fan of Boulder, Colorado-based skincare line Pangea Organics for its eco-friendly and effective products as well as its green-minded packaging containing seeds that can be planted. Founder Joshua Onysko recently launched a sister line, Alpine Provisions, that consists of soaps as well as outdoor-inspired fragrances like fir + sage and cedar + sandalwood. Made with all-natural ingredients and 100% biodegradable, the products also support a scholarship fund for children to attend the Colorado Outward Bound School outdoor leadership program. And the 2oz. adventure-sized bottles are perfect to stash in a pack on your next camping trip.” –Jen Murphy, executive editor

Botanical Garden Outing

“Rather than give Mom the standard bouquet, bring her to the flowers—thousands of them. A Mother’s Day visit to your local botanical garden offers Mom and all who are celebrating her a chance to connect with nature, take in a whole lot of floral eye candy, and enjoy a picnic with all of Mom’s favorite foods (you can even pick up some premade picnic fare if you’re pressed for time). My local family members have gone to the San Francisco Botanical Garden together for the occasion for the past several years, and all the moms present have loved it—we can now say it’s become a favorite family tradition.” –Jessica Mordo, associate digital director

Unitravel Vintage Suitcase

Courtesy of Amazon

“For a travel-obsessed mom like mine who loves her last-minute trips to Hawaii, London, or even Egypt (yes, really), this Pan Am-inspired suitcase from Unitravel (Amazon, from $169) is chic, easy to roll through the airport, and will remind her of her favorite child (me) while she’s away. An annual Mother’s Day brunch is always fun, but I also want to get her something that she’ll use all year.” –Maya Wong, assistant editor

A Mother’s Day Brunch My Wife Actually Wants to Go To

“When I told my wife Porridge & Puffs was doing Mother’s Day brunch, complete with floral arranging and natural wellness products like rice bran facial scrubs and beet lip balm, for the first time in her life she said “Maybe we should have brunch with the kids.” And my wife hates brunch. And frankly so do I. But we like what Minh Phan is doing at her airy spot in Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles, which is basically anything she wants, and all of it delicious. She’s composing salads of ridiculously fresh produce, some of it fermented, hand-cutting rice noodles, making rice porridges studded with braised meats, and basically improvising a Vietnamesque, Angeleno, but essentially sui-generis utopian corner restaurant that I could go to on any day of the week. Mother’s day included.” –Hugh Garvey, food editor

(Food) Bowl Her Over


“Attention Los Angeles! Instead of taking your favorite lady out to brunch this Mother’s Day, opt to take her to the Food Bowl Night Market happening at Grand Park at 200 N. Grand Ave. Give Mom an array of food options to choose from as well as plenty of entertainment in the form of pop-ups, chef collaborations, art installations, and live music. A bonus? Admission is free.” –Kelsey Maloney, editorial assistant

Come for the Food, Stay for the Drinks

The Food Bowl event I’m most excited to take my mom to is this All-Mom Comics and Whiskey Tasting. An all-female team of whiskey pros will bring you the drinks while an all-female team of comics entertains. I’m not sure who will be funnier by the end of Sunday afternoon, my truth-telling mom or host and whiskey expert Kat Aagesen, but I’m looking forward to finding out. –Dakota Kim, staff writer

Roses Are Red

“The Mother’s Days of my youth were always spent visiting my local botanical garden. My mom’s love of gardening has been passed down to me through taking inspiration from these visits to the backyard I grew up in. My favorite local spot this time of year is the Berkeley Rose Garden where you can find 1,500 rose bushes and 250 varieties. May is optimal rose-viewing time and the tiered pathways overlook a view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.” –Zoe Gutterman, associate digital producer

Plug-and-Plant Vertical Garden

Courtesy of Florafelt

“I bought my son an Xbox a couple years ago. It’s so much more complicated than those old video game consoles such as Atari, Nintendo, or Sega Genesis where you plug it in and it just works. So now I’m always on the lookout for the best plug-and-play anything. The Florafelt Compact Vertical Garden Kit is a plug-and-plant dream. It comes with a digital timer that waters plants daily for 30 minutes. That mom in your life who loves houseplants, herbs, or any other botanical wonders will love this gift. It may look a little pricey but come on, it’s for Mom! Plus, it lasts a lot longer than flowers.” –Thad Orr, garden editor

Only the Best Bubbly for Mom


Dave Kotinsky/Stringer/Getty Images

“I get it: Mimosas can be amazing, and they’re a fantastic way to make an okay sparkling wine drinkable. Moms deserve some bubbly every day of the year, but raising a glass on Mother’s day (or the nearest available weekend) is especially warranted. I’ve been digging into the American sparkling scene of late and have enjoyed a number of producers. Oregon may be better known for its Pinot Noirs but the grape just so happens to be one of the primary constituents in many sparkling wines. Elk Cove’s wonderful Brut Rose is 100 percent pinot noir grapes and delivers as toast, strawberry, and fresh-baked-bread on the palate. ($50, For a more traditional taste, I’ll reach for the 2012 Late Disgorged Brut from Domaine Carneros in Sonoma. A mix of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, this sparkler spends 6 years on the lees, or yeast, providing depth and complexity beneath the peach and lychee front end. And for a real splurge, grab Mom a bottle of the 2000 late disgorged J. Schram signature wine; with 17 years on the lees this one’s something to be savored thanks to its creamy, nutty presentation. No orange juice allowed.” –Matt Bean, editor-in-chief

The Gift of Worry-Free Gardening

Courtesy of Orta Gardens

“Mom will love having one less thing to take care of in the garden, thanks to this self-watering seed starter. The beautiful terracotta pot is handmade in Oakland and comes in a beautiful array of colors. The simple technology here is impressive, too–terracotta is porous, which means that plants only bring in as much water as they need. No drowned seedlings! Better yet, the pot saves Mama Earth from a buildup of disposable plastic containers.” –Kendra Poppy, audience growth editor

Chocolate Factory Tour

My mom and I share a love of chocolate, so the dark stuff will undoubtedly play a part in this year’s Mother’s Day celebration. Dandelion Chocolate is a favorite—their intense bars are made from nothing more than single-origin cocoa beans and sugar. We will both be traveling outside of the Bay Area Sunday, so we can’t take advantage of a Dandelion factory tour that day—but you can, if you act quickly. (They happen daily, so no worries if you miss this particular Sunday.) You could also give your mom the gift of a chocolate-related class—or, of course, a gift basket of their intense, hand-wrapped bars. –Nicole Clausing, digital producer