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Casa de Bandini resurfaces in Carlsbad

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After four long years, Casa de Bandini has relocated. Scheduled to open on June 30, Bandini moves north to The Forum in Carlsbad, bringing with it the same romantic essence of Old Mexico -- reminiscent of the original location with lavish dining rooms and lush landscaping.

For 25 years, one of San Diego's more familiar sights was the long line of locals and visitors awaiting tables at the historic adobe built in 1829 that housed Diane Powers' popular restaurant in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

In June 2005, the eatery, along with Bazaar del Mundo, lost its lease for the property.

"We're thrilled to be open again," said proprietor Diane Powers, "and are ready to welcome our long-time patrons, along with the new ones our Carlsbad location will surely attract."

Casa de Bandini guests will dine under color-drenched umbrellas on the outdoor patios while enjoying the famous giant margaritas in the restaurant's intimate sidewalk patio. Indoor, guests will enjoy the cozy dining rooms, alive with fine Mexican folk art and hand-painted walls -- capturing much of the flavor of the former location.

Mariachis will entertain Wednesday through Sunday from 6-9 p.m.

In The Forum, Powers' trademark style once again enhances the charm of Mexican décor that contributed to Bandini's original success. Back are the comfortable equipale chairs and hand-wrought iron railing and gates; the colorful, hand-woven Zapotec fabric covers; and a charming hand-carved stone fountain framed by a large Talavara-tiled pool. The addition of Powers' antique cantina cabinet from the early 1900s and stained-glass doors -- reclaimed from the former Casa de Bandini -- complete the effect.

Hard Rock honored

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego was recently named "Strategic Partner of the Year" by the San Diego Chapter of Meeting Professionals International at the group's annual installation dinner held earlier this month.

SDMPI, the local chapter of the world's largest professional membership organization for corporate, association and independent meeting planners, recognized Hard Rock Hotel for its event management capabilities, successful operations and unique music-inspired amenities. It also recognized the hotel for its participation in SDMPI's annual holiday party in 2008, which was a charitable fundraiser for Monarch School, a local institution dedicated to providing accredited education to homeless and at-risk children.

"We were thrilled when Hard Rock Hotel San Diego offered to host our holiday party last December," said Bill Yahres, 2008-09 president of MPI's San Diego Chapter. "Being our most important fundraising event of the year, the hotel's amazing team of rock stars stepped up at the last minute and helped SDMPI secure more than $12,000 for our scholarship programs and Monarch School. They spared no expense to make it a night to remember, and we could not have been more pleased with the results."

SDMPI selects one Strategic Partner of the Year annually, based on a company's effect on the city's meetings industry as well as its dedication to helping further SDMPI's mission and objectives.

"Hard Rock Hotel San Diego's goal is to provide a customized experience that redefines the standard formula for meetings and events," said Matt Greene, general manager. "We do this through personal, hands-on service at every stage of the event, and by weaving a client's unique personality and vision throughout each element of the meeting. Hard Rock is a meetings hotel and to be recognized by the leading organization of industry professionals is such an honor. We are proud to partner with SDMPI and look forward to an active partnership in the future."

To meet increased demand for meeting space in San Diego, HRHSD recently unveiled 7,500 square feet of additional space bringing its total events offerings to 40,000 square feet.

Little Italy water source

Numero Water, a company offering premium natural spring waters from Japan with the highest standard quality, taste and health benefits in mind, has opened the doors to its new boutique in Little Italy.

Providing authentic Japanese services and products, the Numero Water Boutique will offer customers the experience and philosophy of Wabi Sabi, the art and healthy lifestyle found within Japanese culture, while being environmentally conscious.

The Numero Water line of three premium natural spring waters is numbered -- 29, 51 and 76 -- to showcase its unique mineral composition, health benefits and refreshing taste. Numero Water has been introduced in the United States through a unique business venture, which encompasses deep-rooted ties to Japan including a lifelong friendship between the company's principals, and a partnership with Miroku, Numero Water's parent company and a Japanese leader in premium spring water. San Diego debuts as the first location where American consumers can sample and enjoy Numero Water's product line.

Hotel Indigo touts art

Demonstrating its commitment to San Diego, Hotel Indigo San Diego is investing more than $300,000 in the local arts' community and is taking hotel art to a new level -- 12 stories up.

Scheduled to open July 13 and following more than a year of design work and two weeks of installation, the hotel unveiled its first piece of public art in advance of the hotel opening next month. Aptly named "Indigo Waters," the 40-foot exterior wall sculpture made up of 33 hand-painted, laminated and tempered blue-colored glass panels is positioned on the western facade of the hotel between the ninth and 12th floors. The sculpture was designed by local artist Lisa Schirmer.

"Designed to mimic the waves and ripples of the Pacific Ocean when the sun hits the glass, our 'Indigo Waters' sculpture will be a bright spot in the San Diego skyline and a visible moniker of our commitment to the local community," said Chris Jones, general manager of the hotel. "Our dedication to the arts will continue well into the future as we plan to host art shows and other soirées to spotlight local artists, musicians and causes that align with the Hotel Indigo brand."

Working with a talented team of local artists, photographers and designers, Hotel Indigo San Diego has captured the vibrant character and inviting coastal culture of the San Diego region by using locally inspired artwork throughout the hotel.

Strauss brews bring home medals

Karl Strauss Brewing Co. is giving new meaning to the phrase "Golden Years." The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary by winning six brewing medals, including two Gold Medals at the Los Angeles County Fair. The company's flagship beer, Karl Strauss Amber Lager, placed first in the Vienna Style Lager category, while their Conquistador Doppelbock won the German Style Strong Bock class.

"Karl Strauss Amber Lager has always been a favorite because it's an extremely flavorful, session beer. As a brewer, it's cool to see the trend of bigger beers gaining a following and I think our Conquistador delivers," says Brewmaster Paul Segura.

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