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New Keating bar puts emphasis on the bubbly

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Below the Keating Hotel sits a new champagne bar called MIX at SWAY, located inside the SWAY Lounge, which features a variety of champagnes from $4 to $85.

This champagne bar concept offers a creative spin to cocktails as they allow the customer to choose which fresh fruits, champagnes, herbs and spices they would like in their drinks. Some of the champagnes being served include the following plus some craft and vintage ones down the line: Ferrari, Perrier-Jouet, Moet & Chandon, Louis Roederer, Krug, Dom PĂ©rignon and Verve Clicquot.

SWAY Lounge manager, James Kaen, plans to have tastings for champagne, scotch and bourbon as well as serving cognac and crepes. In fact, it is his dream to have champagne become so much a part of the local drinking culture that San Diego will eventually be known as "the champagne city."

TK&A Custom Catering announces the promotion of Taylor Smith to event coordinator.

As a TK&A Custom Catering event coordinator, Smith will guide clients through the stages of concept development and design, and planning and execution for their event. Smith specializes in building out customized event concept designs and menus for social, networking events and weddings. Most recently, Smith and TK&A Custom Catering staff planned and prepared a benefit gala for the Francis Parker School and are currently finalizing details for a fundraising gala in July benefiting the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, California's first church.

Before bringing his natural talent and interest for event coordination to TK&A Custom Catering, Smith honed his skills for quality client relations, customer service and attention to detail in the mortgage banking industry. After a few years Smith pursued other interests and joined Hospitality Inc. and worked as a part-time on-site event specialist assisting mainly in the area of event wait staff, which provided him with the opportunity to learn the aspects of executing large events.

When Smith is not coordinating events, he can be found volunteering for Mama's Kitchen, which is a volunteer-driven charitable organization that delivers food to anyone in San Diego County affected by a critical illness.

Barona Resort & Casino has declared Plush Puppies Kennel and Daycare Center in El Cajon the resort's "official doggie concierge," which means guests who are traveling with their dogs can give their best friends a relaxing vacation of their own.

Plush Puppies has many amenities that are the cat's meow for dogs including a "doggie limo service" from the resort and a 5,000-square-foot area where dogs can run free with their fellow canines.

At Plush Puppies, dogs receive the same excellent handling, attention and loving care their owners receive at Barona. After a brief on-site pre-screening, all the dogs play together in a fenced area, unless they are busy eating or relaxing in the sun.

It's a perfect way for a dog to spend the dog days of summer -- or any other time of the year -- and that's one reason why Rick Messura, Barona's senior vice president of development, decided to make Plush Puppies part of the Barona family.

"We know that many of our guests are dog lovers who want to enjoy their stay knowing their beloved pet is in good hands," Messura said. "Having Plush Puppies as our official doggie concierge ensures that our guests are able to fully relax, knowing that their dogs are safe, happy and comfortable."

Catz Plush, who has owned and operated Plush Puppies since 2002, is thrilled by the honor of being Barona's official doggie concierge.

"This new partnership is a natural," Plush said. "Barona offers humans some of the finest food, accommodations and gaming and we do the same for their animal friends so everyone comes out a winner."

Wine Spectator awarded Addison at The Grand Del Mar with the 2009 Grand Award, its highest honor for restaurant wine lists. The awards were announced in the magazine's Annual Restaurant Awards Aug. 31 issue.

Addison is now one of 72 restaurants in the world to hold the Wine Spectator Grand Award, which is given to restaurants that offer 1,500 selections or more, and feature serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu and superior organization, presentation and wine service.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious award," said Tom Voss, president of The Grand Del Mar. "It is a testament to Addison's outstanding team and reputation as a world-class dining destination."

Created by Grand Del Mar Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez, Addison's wine list is credited as "one of the best wine lists in California" by Wine Spectator. Since the 80-seat restaurant opened in 2006, Rodriguez has expanded the list to include 3,500 selections and an inventory of nearly 35,000 bottles with an emphasis on grand cru Burgundy and California cult wines. The publication also recognized Addison's extensive half-bottle list and unique wine-by-the-glass program, which features private bottlings from some of the world's top winemakers and in turn allows Addison to offer an exceptional and affordable wine experience.

While the wine list is reflective of Rodriguez's expertise and hard-sought relationships with winemakers around the world, it is also a result of his collaboration with Addison's Executive Chef William Bradley who "takes advantage of California's seasonal bounty and adapts classic French technique to create a brilliant sort of simplicity," noted Wine Spectator.

Addison is the only restaurant in Southern California to earn both Mobil Five-Star and Automobile Association of America (AAA) Five Diamond designations.

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