By David Perloff / Photos by Brevin Blach
As the wind blows in from across Mission Bay, it's so cold in Bay Park you can see your breath. But things should be heating up pretty quickly here.
Carlos Santana 's son, Salvador Santana , is performing live in concert at The Griffin at about 11. Before the show, tonight's blind daters will have dinner and drinks at the new Luce Bar + Kitchen (formerly DaNino's pizza, which was gutted by fire, giving way to the slickest spot in decades to pop up along Morena Boulevard).
Murphi and Liz met half an hour ago in the Epic Limo that's about to drop them off at Luce. Before they arrive, let's review the pre-date interviews.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
LIZ: I was born in San Diego and currently live in Golden Hill, right next to Downtown.
MURPHI: I'm from a small town called Los Angeles. You may have heard of it. Four years ago, I moved to San Diego, to Mission Valley, to pursue my acting career.
What do you do for a living?
LIZ: I'm a coordinator for US Bank.
MURPHI: I do odd jobs like act; model; DJ for kids, teens in the private and club scenes. And I own a small business called ALL N 1 Moving.
What do you do for fun?
LIZ: I love music and going to shows. I love to dance, shop and spend time with my family.
MURPHI: Watch Star Trek, 90210 - the new version; paintball, snowboard, collect music, play with my grandparents, Facebook, follow major league baseball, try to cook.
What are you looking for in a date?
LIZ: Tall and handsome is a good start. Someone who can hold a conversation, who isn't judgmental, has ambition, loves to have fun.
MURPHI: I'm pretty much drawn to an athletic build. Think dancer, volleyball, soccer player. Not pro wrestler. Aside from the physical stuff, I need, need, need a sense of humor and the ability to roll with my jokes. It's my way of life. Jokes make things so much easier.
What traits could your date exhibit that would be deal-breakers?
LIZ: Too cocky, a know-it-all, judgy, wearing more jewelry than me.
MURPHI: Farting, burping, asking for the time, talking about more than six ex-boyfriends, man-bashing, asking for sex, going to the bathroom more that twice in a 20-minute time period, eating with both hands, trying to get wasted. Asking, "Is this free?" Bringing a pet, talking 20 decibels louder than everyone else, acting paranoid, asking to use my cell phone, stealing from the restaurant...the list goes on.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be "blank" and "blank."
LIZ: Happy and rad.
MURPHI: Calm and collected.
What's the best thing that could happen during the date?
LIZ: Finding someone I could talk to beyond this date.
MURPHI: She says, "I love you."
What's the worst thing that could happen?
LIZ: He could suck and totally ruin my time.
MURPHI: She dies.
Anything you'd like to add?
LIZ: Let's have a lovely time.
MURPHI: Are you sure you still want me to go on this date?
Luce Bar + Kitchen
1959 Morena Blvd., Bay Park
The daters arrive and take a seat in a corner booth. Everything's on the house tonight, so they're encouraged to sample anything and everything on Luce's ever-changing menu.
Ready to Rock
It's nearly show time
With the final opening act now on-stage at The Griffin, Liz and Murphi are finishing dinner a few blocks down Morena Boulevard at Luce. They're sitting closer to each other now than they were during appetizers and appear to be getting along well, laughing almost without a break. As they sip/chug cocktails, they're split for mid-date debriefings.
How's it going so far?
LIZ: Fantastic. Having a really good time. We have a lot in common. He's a DJ, and I like music.
MURPHI: I think it's going really well. For my first blind date, it's more than I could've ever expected.
What were your first impressions?
LIZ: He's handsome, which is good. And friendly.
MURPHI: Very pretty girl. Wasn't shy, really complemented my style, just kinda came out of the gate talking and wanting to get along and feeling everything out. It was a good rapport from the start.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
LIZ: Yes. I don't really have a type.
MURPHI: Yeah, I'd say it's kinda right around my alley.
What do you think of how your date is dressed?
LIZ: Really good. He has a button-up shirt and a jacket on. It's nice. Not too fancy, casual.
MURPHI: It's definitely appropriate and very non-slutty. I'm not saying I don't like slutty, but I think she represented herself well.
What have you had to eat and drink?
LIZ: The pork wings - fantastic. And then the red snapper with the crusted pistachio - delicious. And the mules; they have fancy mules that were really good.
MURPHI: A lot of body parts. We've been eating pork forearm, we had bone marrow, we had fish. I think I had something from every food group so far, and it's been delicious. It's been top-notch, really good stuff I never thought I'd try.
Tell me about the ambience.
LIZ: It's really good. I like it here. It's rad.
MURPHI: The ambience is great, food's great, service is great. It's like something you'd see in a movie.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
LIZ: Just his personality; he's really nice. I get along with him really well. He's not judgmental. He knows a lot about all the stuff I like, like EDM, electronic music. I go to festivals - it's like, my life - and he knows about all the festivals I go to.
MURPHI: Not burp and not fart. Not be rude.
What would your parents say if you brought your date home?
LIZ: That he's very nice. I'm sure he'd open doors and be very gentlemanly.
MURPHI: "Hi, we're Murphi's parents." Well, my parents are divorced, so actually I'd take her home twice.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
And for personality?
Do you want to kiss your date now?
Does your date want to kiss you right now?
MURPHI: No. Wait, yeah, of course she wants to kiss me. I think.
If you could leave now with $100 cash or stay and make-out with your date at the booth, which would you choose?
LIZ: I'd take the hundred dollars. I hope he doesn't say that. I guess I'll read it in the magazine.
MURPHI: I want to get to know Liz. I'd stay for sure.
After the mid-date break, the daters jump back into the limo and head over to The Griffin (formerly O'Connell's).
Rockin' a Hard Place
As the lights come down, the crowd goes wild
Liz and Murphi are seated in a booth by the stage at The Griffin when Salvador Santana takes the mic and starts playing keyboards, singing and blending spoken-word lyrics with synth effects and high-energy pop rock.
After a few songs, seemingly out of nowhere, the daters appear in front of the stage, dancing, laughing, Salsa-ing. When they head back to their seats, the PacificSD crew leaves them to enjoy the rest of their evening away from the paparazzo. We call the next morning to see what we missed.
How was The Griffin?
LIZ: The Griffin was great. Everyone there was having fun. The music was really good. Nice to hear some live music and see Carlos Santana's son play.
MURPHI: We were immediately impressed by the rush of energy that the place gave off as soon as we stepped inside.
You danced by the stage for a moment. Talk about that.
LIZ: Murphi said he had some dance skills, so I challenged him. It was awesome. We got in the middle of the dance floor and broke it down. He definitely had some moves; he even dipped me.
MURPHI: One word: amazing. Such a rush. I asked Liz if she was down to go dance in front of the stage, even though no one else had begun dancing yet, and she said yes. She had some pretty good moves - not as good as mine, but still pretty good.
What happened after the magazine crew left?
LIZ: We went into Hillcrest and saw another show at the Ruby Room. We danced and hung out some, then we had the limo take us both home.
MURPHI: We went to a Drum 'n' Bass show at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest, where we danced a little more and hung out with some mutual friends.
How was the limo?
LIZ: It was nice to be able to drink and not worry about having to drive. Plus, it looked really cool pulling up to all the places in a limo and having people looking at you, wondering what was going on.
MURPHI: We felt like celebrities all night long. It really felt like we were in a private jet, flying around to different cities around the world, but we never left San Diego.
What was the best part of the date?
LIZ: The dinner was great. It was fun to try new foods and have conversation.
MURPHI: The moment Liz stepped into the limo - once I saw that she was a beautiful, normal, fully functional girl, it really put me at ease.
What was the worst part?
LIZ: The hangover this morning - possibly six too many shots happened.
MURPHI: When we had to say good-bye. I enjoyed myself immensely and there was a bit of a sad face when the date was over.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?
LIZ: Bear hug.
MURPHI: I couldn't let Liz get away without giving her a sample. So, yes, we had a slight exchange of salivary fluids.
Will there be a second date?
LIZ: Maybe. Murphi is really cool, and I had fun hanging out with him.
MURPHI: If she accepts my Facebook friend request, then yes. If not, then no. I need to stalk her profile first.
AFTERMATCH: Last night's blind daters started out as strangers and ended up being the first ones dancing in front of the band. Like Gloria Estefan sings, "The rhythm is gonna get you." It always does. As for Murphi's lyric, "a slight exchange of salivary fluids," that sounds a little more like Bret Michaels. Rock on!
1310 Morena Blvd., Bay Park