By Jessica Pelligra
Photos by John Mireles
Surviving this evening's blind date requires good attitudes, not to mention an altitude adjustment. Swinging singles Jerdani and Anastasia met half-an-hour ago in the Epic Limo that's about to drop them off at Mesa Rim Rock Climbing & Fitness Center. Before they arrive to try their hands at indoor rock climbing, let's review their pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?
ANASTASIA: I'm from the East San Francisco Bay Area and I now live in North Pacific Beach .
JERDANI: I was born in Chicago, raised in San Jose and I'm in San Diego now.
What do you do for a living?
ANASTASIA: My job is amazing. I work for an action water-sports company and guide for Sea Cave Kayak Tours in the La Jolla Cove. I also work in the office for this company and help the owner with design ideas and sales for our rad appeal brand called Everyday California.
JERDANI: I model and go to school. I'm training to be a firefighter.
What do you do for fun?
ANASTASIA: I love to get outside and be active, whether that be ocean paddle-boarding amongst dolphins or finding cool hiking spots around San Diego. I also am pretty much always down for dinner and cocktails with girlfriends.
JERDANI: I go to the beach and wakeboard. I also write poetry, workout and go to the movies. I really enjoy spending time with my family whenever I can.
What are you best at?
ANASTASIA: I am best at anything to do with fashion and starting a conversation with pretty much anyone. I used to be a personal stylist for years, and putting together looks is still a passion of mine.
JERDANI: I think I'm best at making others laugh.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?
ANASTASIA: Physically, my date needs to be taller than me and look like they workout and take care of themselves. I also need someone who can carry a conversation. He also gets bonus points if he can make me laugh.
JERDANI: Intelligence, someone with great style and a nice smile.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.
ANASTASIA: Always craving more. There's nothing wrong with a little mystery.
JERDANI: I'm a fitness model.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
ANASTASIA: Eight-point-five to nine.
JERDANI: Nine... no one is perfect.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for personality.
What's your biggest fear?
ANASTASIA: My biggest fear is heights, specifically jumping off somewhere high.
JERDANI: My biggest fear is ending up alone.
What traits could your date exhibit that would be deal-breakers?
ANASTASIA: Maybe if I found out he had already dated one of my friends or vise versa. He may be hot and awesome, but there's plenty of fish in the sea, and I'm not trying to stir up any drama.
JERDANI: If she is untrustworthy or if she's not driven. I'm attracted to highly motivated people.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be "blank" and "blank."
ANASTASIA: I want my blind date to be smart and a babe.
JERDANI: Intelligent and funny.
When they arrive at Mesa Rim, Anastasia and Jerdani strap on climbing shoes, chalk their hands and get a grip... first on the climbing wall, and then on each other's backsides. The hands-on experience seems to agree with both daters thus far - no ifs, no ands, no buts. Er, make that "know butts."
Mesa Rim Fitness & Climbing Center
10110 Mesa Rim Rd., Kearny Mesa
Returning to Earth, the love connection takes root
After a high-flying hour at Mesa Rim, Anastasia and Jerdani jump back into the limo and head downtown to Rustic Root, the new Fifth Avenue restaurant acclaimed chef Antonio Friscia calls home. When they arrive, they walk inside hand-in-hand and grab a private booth, where they sip craft cocktail shots and look over the menu.
Over the course of the next hour, plate after plate arrives at the couple's table. The array of cuisine and the décor create a feast for the eyes - elk chops jumping off the menu, a metal deer sculpture emerging from an enchanted wall.
When dessert is served, Jerdani goes in for a sweet kiss. Then, with the taste of cheesecake and each other on their lips, the daters return to the limo for ride north to Pacific Beach for a nightcap at the all-new Firehouse. Before heading inside, they're split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
ANASTASIA: It's going really good. It's a lot more fun than I expected. I'm having a blast, actually. I'm really stoked on it.
JERDANI: Great. Better than I expected.
What were your first impressions?
ANASTASIA: I thought that he was really good-looking. He's very well spoken. He's only 21 but he doesn't act or seem like it.
JERDANI: Beautiful, well dressed. She seemed nervous, a little shy. She thought it was cute that I got her flowers and knocked on the door.
Is this the type of person you would normally date?
ANASTASIA: Probably not. It's the kind of person I'd like to date.
JERDANI: Yeah. I don't really have a type. I just like what I like: cute, intelligent, attractive.
What do you think of the way your date is dressed?
ANASTASIA: I think he's dressed very well. He told me he's looking for a girl that has style and he told me he thought I had that.
JERDANI: I love her style. That's the first thing I pointed out.
How was rock climbing at Mesa Rim?
ANASTASIA: Mesa Rim was so fun. It was definitely a cool way to break the ice on a first date and do something different. I would definitely go back there.
JERDANI: It was more tiring than I thought it would be. It was challenging but it was cool because we got to go through the challenge together and be there for each other.
How was dinner at Rustic Root?
ANASTASIA: Rustic Root was awesome. We got to meet the chef and everything. It's only been open for three weeks, but the menu is incredible.
JERDANI: That was one of the best places I have ever eaten at.
What did you have to eat and drink there?
ANASTASIA: I got the ravioli, and it was delicious. We had the special house whiskey shot with lemon, and then we also had a Moscow Mule.
JERDANI: I had the New York steak, the mac 'n' cheese, the meatballs, a bite of her raviolis and the cheesecake. I sipped on a Long Island and the signature shot. It was really good.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
ANASTASIA: So far, the most attractive thing he's done is open the car door for me, hold my jacket, make sure I'm doing okay - just paying attention. He'll just pause and look at me and tell me that I'm beautiful. I haven't heard that in a while.
JERDANI: Physically, I like when she bites her lip or when she gets nervous. When she gets nervous, it's kind of like a schoolgirl nervous. It's pretty cute.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks?
ANASTASIA: He's like a nine, nine and a half.
How about for personality?
ANASTASIA: He's a nine. I want to get to know him more.
Do you want to kiss your date now?
ANASTASIA: (whispers) I've kissed my date.
JERDANI: It happened in the limousine. It got... intense. It was just really good kissing. She's a really good kisser.
Rustic Root, an RMD Group Property
535 Fifth Ave., Gaslamp
Striking a Match
Hot times smolder at Firehouse
After the mid-date break, Anastasia and Jerdani head inside the redesigned and rebuilt Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge. Once they've settled in by the fireplace, the magazine crew finally leaves the couple alone to enjoy the rest of their evening away from the camera. A couple days later, we call to see what we missed.
PacificSD: How was Firehouse?
ANASTASIA: Firehouse was a cool venue. The wine was also killer, so I definitely will be back.
JERDANI: It was really classy, really cool.
What did you do for the rest of the evening after the magazine crew left?
ANASTASIA: We had our own cozy section by the fireplace downstairs, so we stayed there pretty late.
JERDANI: We continued our conversation at Firehouse pretty late into the night.
When did you get home?
ANASTASIA: I got home around 12:30 a.m.
JERDANI: I got home around 2:30 a.m.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?
ANASTASIA: Yes, there was a kiss. I couldn't help myself.
JERDANI: There was.
How and when did the date end?
ANASTASIA: The date ended after Firehouse when the limo took me home to my house in Pacific Beach.
JERDANI: The limo dropped her off at her place and I went back to my house around 3 a.m.
What's the funniest thing that happened during the date?
ANASTASIA: The funniest part of our date was when we were taking photos outside the front of Rustic Root. The photographer started telling passers-by that we had just gotten married, and that's the reason we were taking romantic photos together. The funniest part is I think some people believed it.
JERDANI: Her holding my butt while rock climbing.
What was the best part of the date?
ANASTASIA: The best part of was trying new things like rock climbing and checking out a rad new restaurant I probably would not have known about otherwise.
JERDANI: I think dinner was the best part of the date, because we got to be a little more serious and form a deeper connection.
What was the worst part of the date?
ANASTASIA: The worst part was waiting for my date to arrive. I was so nervous with the fact I had no idea who my date was and if we would have fun.
JERDANI: I think the way to her house, because my nerves were starting to kick in.
Will there be a second date?
ANASTASIA: There actually will be. We plan on going to see a movie later this weekend.
JERDANI: There's already been one. She's really great.
AFTERMATCH: Anastasia and Jerdani rose to the occasion at Mesa Rim, where they scaled indoor cliffs by using (and squeezing) their best assets. They smooched at Rustic Root, made out in the Epic Limo and kept the heat going at Firehouse and beyond. This hot summer romance left little to the imagination, except, of course, what happened in the two-or-so hours between when Anastasia got home and Jerdani got home. Hmmm... where could he have gone? (Insert inappropriate "root" or "rim" joke here.)
Date update: The kissing continued a week after their blind date, when Jerdani and Anastasia arrived together at Jerdani's photo shoot for this magazine's feature story (see Body of Work).
Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge
722 Grand Ave., Pacific Beach