Photos by Rick Nocon | Matchmaker: Jessica Pelligra
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Blind daters Julia and Alex met half an hour ago in the Epic Limo that's about to drop them off at the new H2O Sushi & Izakaya in Hillcrest. Before they arrive to rock some rolls, let's review their pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?
JULIA: Long story short, I was born in Romania, grew up in Orange County and moved to San Diego for school.
ALEX: Originally from Reno, Nev. I now live in La Jolla.
What do you do for a living?
JULIA: I am a creative strategist, beauty blogger - holla at cho girl @juliapaulescu - and full-time student. So, I basically don't sleep.
ALEX: I shoot freelance commercial photography.
What do you do for fun?
JULIA: Makeup, makeup, more makeup; watching "Gossip Girl" and "Suits." I'm obsessed with reading fashion magazines and am an avid Pinterest pinner.
ALEX: Attempt to surf, hike, yoga and reading, when I have time.
What are you best at?
JULIA: Giving advice.
ALEX: Having fun.
What do you suck at?
JULIA: Making my cat love me.
ALEX: Surfing, for sure.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?
JULIA: Knows the difference between "there," "they're" and "their"; is sarcastic; is ambitious and has a good smile. Brownie points for blue or green eyes.
ALEX: Someone that can hold a conversation. Intelligence is essential.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.
JULIA: Always classy, never trashy.
ALEX: Adventurous, fun.
Describe your personal style in five words or less.
JULIA: Mary-Kate Olsen meets Kendall Jenner.
ALEX: Beachy, but cleans up nice.
What do you like least about yourself?
JULIA: Over-thinkers anonymous.
ALEX: I'm terrible with names.
Rate yourself on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
JULIA: I don't know.
ALEX: I'd give myself a seven.
How about for personality.
JULIA: I'm giving myself a solid 9.5 here, for sure.
ALEX: Probably an eight.
What's your biggest fear?
What traits could your date exhibit that would be deal-breakers?
JULIA: Arrogance, Debbie Downer and thinks he's above others.
ALEX: Being rude or entitled.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be "blank" and "blank."
JULIA: Handsome and intelligent.
ALEX: Goal-oriented and fun.
What's the most important thing in the world?
JULIA: Family, hard work, dedication, doing what you believe in, being good to others. Oh, and good eyebrows.
ALEX: Family, for sure.
As the limo pulls up along Fifth Avenue, Julia and Alex step out and head inside H2O (at the previous site of celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard's D-Bar), grab a booth and look over the menu.
H2O Sushi & Izikaya
3930 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest
Pennies for thoughts, fun with quarters, clothes for free
Julia and Alex sit close to each other during dinner, talking and laughing as they get acquainted over sushi.
An hour and an enormous blue cocktail later, they jump back into the limo and head to Fashion Valley for twilight shopping in style.
Armed with $200 gift cards (provided by the fashionable folks at Fashion Valley), the couple struts over to Scotch & Soda for a mini shopping spree, where they browse the latest trends, select a few to try on, and then hit the dressing room.
After passing judgment on each others' outfits, they make their final selections. Then, with the shopping part of the date in the bag, they exit the mall and head to Coin Haus, the new bar/arcade next to BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden in La Mesa.
Inside Coin Haus, once they've had the chance to cruise the brews and grab a roll of quarters, the couple is split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
JULIA: It's actually going really well. I'm actually very pleasantly surprised with the person I was picked to go out with on this date.
ALEX: I think it's going really well.
What were your first impressions?
JULIA: I walked out and I was like, "Oh, god, we're matching."
ALEX: She came out; she was dressed amazing. Seems super fun and upbeat, and I like that. It was nice.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
JULIA: Yes and no. He's definitely a lot sweeter than what I'm normally used to, definitely a different person, definitely artistic like me. And, no - he doesn't have that bad-boy personality, but there's something about him that's actually really attractive.
What do you think about how your date is dressed?
JULIA: He's cute; he looks cute.
ALEX: I thought she looked great. Her fashion sense was killer.
How was your experience at H2O Sushi?
JULIA: Honestly, that sashimi roll was the best thing I've ever had in my entire life. The drinks were amazing. He was super sweet.
ALEX: It was awesome. The staff was super amazing; they were very friendly. Food was great there. Awesome.
What did you have to eat and drink?
JULIA: Too much to name.
ALEX: Literally everything. The staff just kept bringing out delicious items. Then, for drinks, I tried the Japanese whiskey, and we both had this refreshing cucumber drink.
How was your experience at Scotch & Soda?
JULIA: I loved it. All the clothes were so sick. They were kinda like a very vintage-y sort of feel, and I had fun trying on everything with him. It was a very cute date, and I especially appreciated it because I love fashion so much. I loved running around and picking clothes for Alex. He looked so handsome in what I helped him pick out.
ALEX: Awesome, but definitely under pressure. She definitely knows her way around a fashion store. But we both ended up with some really cool stuff. It was awesome; the staff was very knowledgeable.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
JULIA: I think hold the door open for me. And he has this little sly smile that I think is really cute.
ALEX: She's a good DJ, but I think the most attractive thing is just being able to hold a conversation. She's super intelligent, and I like that.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks?
JULIA: There is no scale. He's very handsome.
And for personality?
ALEX: Definitely a 10.
What's your date's most attractive quality?
JULIA: His ambition.
ALEX: Intelligence, by far.
What would your parents say if you brought your date home?
ALEX: I think they'd like her. I think it's cool that she's not from the U.S.
Do you want to kiss your date right now?
JULIA: As Stephanie Tanner would say, "How rude!" Yep, that's my final answer.
ALEX: I would.
Does your date want to kiss you?
JULIA: Not sure.
ALEX: Yeah, I hope so.
SCOTCH & SODA
7007 Friars Rd., #835A, Mission Valley
The daters prove they've got game
After the mid-date break, the magazine crew finally leaves Julia and Alex alone to enjoy the rest of their evening away from the camera. The next morning, we call to see what we missed.
PacificSD: What did you think of Coin Haus?
JULIA: It was such a hipster place.... The games were fun. I kicked Alex's butt in air hockey, so that was a plus.
ALEX: I thought Coin Haus was great. We played air hockey, and I lost.
What did you drink there?
ALEX: Copious amounts of beer and wine.
Where did you go and what did you do for the rest of the evening after the magazine crew left?
JULIA: We had pizza, and he showed me some cool tricks with my camera.
ALEX: We got dropped off downtown to hit a few bars, followed by some late-night pizza, and then cruised home.
Describe the experience in the Epic Limo.
JULIA: The limo was so fun. I've actually never been in a limo before, so this experience was super cool. I got to DJ, too, so that was fun.
ALEX: The limo was fun. We had stocked Milagro Tequila and Blue Moons, so definitely no complaints while we cruised the city.
When did you get home?
JULIA: I honestly lost track of time. Maybe one?
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?
JULIA: I beat him at air hockey. Does that count?
ALEX: I don't kiss and tell.
How and when did the date end?
JULIA: With pizza and some conversation about photography. He taught me some pretty sick things.
ALEX: The night ended with us getting pizza downtown, and then exchanging numbers.
What was the best part of the date?
JULIA: The amazing sushi and conversation.
ALEX: I loved the limo rides. It gave us alone time to chat, and it was fun not knowing where we were going next. Plus, she killed it as DJ.
Will there be a second date?
JULIA: Maybe, maybe not. We'll see.
ALEX: I'd be surprised if there wasn't. I think we got along great.
AFTERMATCH: Last night, Julia and Alex got the chance to size each other up and try on new clothes for size. And both turned out to be a good fit. Her first impression was, "Oh, god, we're matching." His was, "She was dressed amazing." She said, "He's very handsome." He said her most attractive attribute is her "Intelligence, by far." It was a match from the start, and it appears both daters may give each other a second look for fall. But will the trend last or fade with the new season? Seams like it could go either way.
8361 Allison Rd., La Mesa