This blog post marks the first of what I hope to be a series of articles about fun places to hang out with your pet in San Diego county. Now that my husband & I have adopted a new dog, we are experiencing the latest offerings in pet friendly businesses. One such  establishment is the Hotel Indigo in Del Mar. Specifically, I’ll be reviewing the new “Bow wow Brunch” series they just stated a couple months ago with dog behaviorist, Linda Michaels I’ve been to the first two brunches. Here’s how it went down….

6/8/14– Went to the brunch without my dog, Slugger, this time, as he’s still in training for some dog aggression issues and I wasn’t sure if I could trust him. Met my friends with their dog. Reservations are recommended, and I’m glad I had them, as the outdoor patio overlooking the ocean in the distance gets crowded quickly. There’s seating for about  25-30 I’m guessing, including the tables & couches. It’s a beautiful venue right on Camino Del Mar, off Del Mar Highlands exit off the 5.

The waiter bright us a small brunch menu, with all of the prices blacked out. When asked what that was about, he said they’re currently a little bit in flux because they got a new chef (who used to be personal chef for Bill Gates, so no slouch!), and new management, so pardon the disorganization. He took the menus to make it clearer & brought them back with almost everything on the menu blacked out! We all laughed, but the waiter was very embarrassed & apologetic. He explained that nobody told the chef about this special doggie brunch, so he wasn’t prepared & they were out of almost everything. My friends are vegan, so we were disappointed there were no vegan options. He assured us the menu would be ready for the next event next month. He was going to suggest to the chef to include vegan options. I ordered the one thing I could have wanted on the sparse menu. Basically eggs, potatoes in a cheesy sauce & fried chicken. We had mimosas too, made with Prosecco, no champagne there. A good meal, and my friends dog got my fried chicken since I don’t eat meat. No complaints from either of us.

Linda spoke for about 1/2 hour on dog issues. Interesting and useful info, especially new dog parents. There were about 10 dogs there, most on leashes and all well-behaved. Some of the attendees were visitors from out of town who were staying at the hotel. Most were locals who heard about the event from Linda. After she spoke, Linda did a Q&A session & answered all our questions, which was great. Then we had time to mingle and get to know other pet parents and meet their dogs. It was a fun time, and I always appreciate the networking aspect with other pet professionals and rescue folks.

7/13/14 -This time I brought Slugger, and my husband, along with my friends and their dog. Slugger did great and settled in after about 1/2 hour of excitement. The wait staff seemed slow and not very knowledgeable, calling a carafe “caraft”. We had two servers sort of bumbling around, and the female seemed like she was “on something”, if you catch my drift. There was still NO brunch menu. We had no choice but to order lunch. I ordered fish tacos, which the chef screwed up, but made me a third one on the house. They tasted OK, but he burned the fish, so it wasn’t quite up to expectations. I wonder if it was even the same chef as last time, sure didn’t seem it.

Linda spoke about how to teach your dog a reliable recall, and from a distance. She also discussed proper dog beach etiquette. A good discussion, with helpful tips for all. She did another Q&A session after her talk, which is always appreciated.

These events are expected to be held the second Sunday of the month, so I assume the next one will be 8/10 at noon. Try to make it, with your dog, I bet you’ll get something valuable from it! Even if the food is so-so, it’ll be a great time, and socializing your dog in public is always good practice.

I hope to see you at the Indigo!

-Gina McGrath

co-owner, Claws and Paws Pet Sitting Service