(Matchmaking by Jessica Pelligra)
'Twas the night before New Year's Eve a decade ago when PACIFIC's first blind date appeared in the magazine's inaugural publication, the January 2007 issue (check out 120 covers to celebrate 10 years). Ten years and 120 blind dates later, this evening's blind daters will take a trip back in time, visiting the sights and sites where it all began.
Bri and Pearce met about half an hour ago in the Epic Limo that's about to drop them off at Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa, the backdrop for PACIFIC's first cover shoot. Before they arrive for a sunset sail on Mission Bay, let's review the pre-date interviews.
PACIFIC: Where are you from and where do you live now?
BRI: I'm a global local, or for lack of words, a "military brat." Currently residing in sunny San Diego.
PEARCE: Born in Atlanta, raised in Missoula, Montana. Now I am a resident of North Park, after eight years in Vegas.
What do you do for a living?
BRI: Pour alcoholic beverages and listen to people's life stories.
PEARCE: Marketing scientist and managing partner for Clique Hospitality - currently building three venues at the new Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp.
What do you do for fun?
BRI: I enjoy doing anything outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
PEARCE: I work for fun; I love my job. I also enjoy taking my bulldog to the beach, DJ-ing, reading and getting outdoors whenever I can.
What are you best at?
BRI: Being sarcastic
PEARCE: Making people laugh.
What do you suck at?
BRI: Taking selfies
PEARCE: Making plans.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?
BRI: Athleticism, humorous and down to earth.
PEARCE: Personality, smarts and sense of humor are the most important to me, although my friends will definitely tell you I have a "type" - blondes with names that start with "K."
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.
BRI: Athleticism, humorous and down to earth.
PEARCE: Southern gentleman meets goofy partier.
What do you like least about yourself?
BRI: My blunt honesty gets me into trouble
PEARCE: My receding hairline.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
BRI: I think I'm biased on this one, so a 10.
PEARCE: I would say I am a solid 7 on a good hair day, 7.5 in a finely tailored suit, which is important.
How about for personality?
BRI: My personality is even better than my looks.
What's your biggest fear?
PEARCE: Tarnishing my reputation, nightlights - the old orange ones from when I was a kid.
What traits could your date exhibit that would be deal-breakers?
BRI: If he spent time on his phone during our date. I hate when people aren't present in the moment.
PEARCE: Rudeness towards waiters, super-picky eaters, weird eyebrows, inability to handle her liquor.
How many people have you slept with?
BRI: Define "slept."
PEARCE: I know the number exactly, 51, and I could probably still write down all of their names from memory.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be "blank" and "blank."
BRI: Funny and easy on the eyes
PEARCE: Smart and funny.
What's the most important thing in the world?
BRI: My family and my dog.
PEARCE: Happiness. And naps.
As their limo drops them off at Catamaran Resort, Bri and Pearce walk through the hotel to the dock that served as the location for PACIFIC's January 2007 cover shoot. Next, they board a small boat at Action Sport Rentals and cruise Mission Bay.
As the sun sets, and the frigid (mid-50s) winter wind blows across the water, the couple returns to terra firma and heads inside Oceana for a seafood-forward waterfront dining experience.
As ocean-inspired fish dishes emerge from the kitchen, Bri and Pearce appear to be each other's catch of the day. They're sitting close and laughing without a break as sushi, scallops and ceviche arrive at the table.
A love connection takes flight
After about an hour at Catamaran, Bri and Pearce jump back into the limo for the short ride to Cass Street (between Grand Avenue and Thomas Street), the site of PACIFIC's original offices, where they pose for photos in front of the cupid wings PACIFIC painted on the wall in January 2007 for the February 2007 issue.
Next stop is a block away, the site of the former Good Time Charlie's, where the PACIFIC crew used to take extended lunch/drink breaks. Now, the venue has now been reborn as Good Time Poke and The Grass Skirt.
After arriving at Good Time Poke, Bri and Pearce eventually find the secret entrance to The Grass Skirt, where a bartender sets their night on fire with a flaming cocktail for two. Once they've had a chance to wet their whistles, they're split for mid-date debriefings.
PACIFIC: How's it going so far?
BRI: I was a little nervous, but I am having so much fun. I'm glad I came.
PEARCE: Surprisingly better than I thought, honestly. I've never been on a blind date. And, literally, when she got in the limo, we started to hit it off. It was great.
What were you first impressions?
BRI: I call myself a personality whore - the way you look on the outside has no reflection of what's on the inside. He has such a good personality. He's f**king hilarious.
PEARCE: My first impression was she was funny and witty. She kind of snapped back at some of my jokes; I appreciated that.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
BRI: I have moved around so many times in my life; I have met so many different types of people.
PEARCE: Normally, no. But would I want to date? Yes.
What do you think of the way your date is dressed?
BRI: We talked about this. We were both nervous about what to wear. I think I overdressed, and he did the same. He came straight from work. I think we are both dressed cute and casual.
PEARCE: Amazing. If she was walking by in a group of 20 girls on the street, she'd be the one that I was like, "Yup."
How was your experience at Oceana?
BRI: The food was amazing, and the atmosphere was beautiful. We sat on their patio, which overlooks the bay.
PEARCE: Oceana was cool. The patio was definitely my favorite part; great view.
What did you have to eat and drink there?
BRI: Seafood/modern cuisine. We had crab cakes and a sushi roll. Everything was really good. I was blown away that he did not want to have dessert. I made him.
PEARCE: The food was awesome; ceviche was amazing. We did get a little bit of food on us because we were feeding each other for the photographer a couple times - then we just started doing it ourselves.
How was your experience on the boat?
BRI: I did not expect to go on a boat. But it was fun and kind of funny going seven miles per hour while they're taking your pictures. Also, my hair was not wind-resistant.
PEARCE: I didn't expect to drive a boat. Luckily we didn't drink a lot before. No, BUIs.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
BRI: Most attractive is he is very caring and listens, and he paid attention to what I was into.
PEARCE: Ordered a whiskey; I like a whiskey drinker. And she is blatantly honest.
What's the least attractive thing?
BRI: He didn't want dessert.
PEARCE: She told me I wasn't supposed to say this, but she did spill some food on herself. In retrospect, it was hot, because I actually spilled on myself first, and she said she didn't see it, then I caught her spilling on herself. But if I had to say least attractive thing - saying she didn't like country music.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
How about for personality?
BRI: A f**kin' eleven. He has the best personality.
Do you want to kiss your date right now?
BRI: I don't know. I mean, this is awkward - even if it were to happen, I'm such an awkward person.
PEARCE: I 100-percent would.
Does your date want to kiss you?
BRI: Dude, I don't know. I'm such a nerd. I don't know how to read people.
PEARCE: I think so.
In this game of chance, everybody wins
As the blind date clock goes tiki-tock, the PACIFIC crew finally leaves Bri and Pearce alone at The Grass Skirt to enjoy the rest of their evening away from the camera. The next day, we call to see what we missed.
PACIFIC: How was your experience at The Grass Skirt?
BRI: It was the first time either of us had visited The Grass Skirt, so we had been looking forward to it. The overall experience was a perfect addition to our night - great food, drinks and service.
PEARCE: Grass Skirt was awesome. I had definitely been wanting to go there; such a cool concept with the hidden entrance from the poke shop, all of the cool cocktails and presentations. And the staff seemed stoked to show off their concepts.
What did you eat and drink there?
BRI: We definitely came in hot to The Grass Skirt and decided to order their flaming punch bowl before we even sat down. The kimchi fried rice and drunken noodles were amazing.
PEARCE: We went with the drunken noodles and kimchi fried rice, both delicious. And, of course, a ton of drinks.
What did you do after dinner?
BRI: We took the limo for a bit of a cruise while we chatted, mostly laughed, and ended with ice cream from Ghirardelli's in the Gaslamp.
PEARCE: We had the limo for the rest of the night and really wanted ice cream, so we went by Ghirardelli downtown. And then we were both so tired and hammered, we called it a night. I had to work super early, and we had had a ton of Old Fashioneds.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?
BRI: He was a gentlemen and took me home first, walked me to my door, and there may have been a goodnight kiss.
PEARCE: Not ashamed to say there was a goodnight kiss. And still a text message chat going on - about another date.
Fill in the blanks. I wish my date had a bigger "blank" and a smaller "blank."
BRI: I wish my date had a bigger sweet tooth and a smaller drinking tolerance. It's actually not a bad thing; I just know we could've drank all night.
PEARCE: I wish my date had a bigger night's sleep the night before, so we could have stayed out longer, and a smaller alcohol tolerance. Girl can drink some whiskey, gave me a run for my money.
What's the funniest thing that happened during the date?
BRI: Let me preface that we both hate photos and may be even more awkward around the camera. So, hands-down funniest moment for me was at the Catamaran. The photographer was trying to stage a good photo while we were eating dinner and asked him to feed me a chip. It was an ultimate fail, and I hope no one ever has to see those photos.
PEARCE: Probably us sneaking away mid-date to escape the pressures of pretending to be models. We both equally hate having our pictures taken, so it was taxing.
What was the best part of the date?
BRI: I can't think of one moment in particular, but we got along really well from the start. We were dying laughing the majority of the time, especially being followed around by a photographer while drinking. Neither of us would make it as celebrities, something we found out together.
PEARCE: The best part of the date was the solid matchmaking. Props to the man or woman behind the curtain - really nailed this one. We really hit it off. And I liked that she was a whiskey drinker.
Will there be a second date?
BRI: There has been talk about a second date. We had such a great night getting to know each other; I honestly think we laughed through most of it.
PEARCE: Absolutely, there will. Already planning it. I would love to get to know her better. She was witty, funny and had a great personality. I mean, she was also super hot, too. Definitely my type.
AFTERMATCH: The first 10 years of PACIFIC blind dates spawned several love connections, two of which culminated in marriages - one of which produced a lovely little girl who's already 5 years old now. As year 11 begins, Bri and Pearce both gave each other 11s for personality during a magical evening that began where PACIFIC was born... and ended with a kiss. Could wedding bells be in PACIFIC's matchmaking future once again? Stay tuned or help speed things up by emailing a photo and a couple of sentences about yourself and what you're looking for in a mate to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PACIFIC thanks our promotional partners for making last night's blind date a smashing success: Epic Limo, 858.270.LIMO (5466), epiclimo.com; Oceana Coastal Kitchen (at Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa), 3999 Mission Blvd., Mission Bay, 858.488.1081, catamaranresort.com; Action Sport Rentals, 3981 Mission Blvd., Mission Bay, 858.538.8896, actionsportrentals.com; Good Time Poke, 910 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach, 858.999.0257, goodtimepoke.com; The Grass Skirt, 910 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach, 858.412.5237, thegrassskirt.com.