By David Perloff
Photos by Brevin Blach/Illustrations by Court Jones
Oscar Wilde once said, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." Tonight, with the help of illustrator Court Jones, the impassioned work of artistic chefs and cocktail mixologists and a private viewing for our blind daters at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) La Jolla, we'll put Mr Wilde's assertion to the test. Brooke and Alex are about to meet for the first time at Whisknladle, the celebrated gourmet bistro in downtown La Jolla. While Court's preparing his sketchpad, let's review the pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?
I'm from St. Louis, Missouri, and just moved to Del Mar six months ago.
I'm originally from Michigan, but have lived here for almost seven years. I love it here.
What do you do for a living?
ALEX: I'm a salesman-think plaid blazer and thick lenses.
BROOKE: I'm currently exploring different opportunities in my career. I was an office manager for a construction company for six years.
What do you do for fun?
ALEX: Almost any form of exercise, cocktailing, vlogging, laser tag and dance-offs. I can really have fun doing anything.
BROOKE: I love the arts and music. I also love hiking, cooking, gardening and yoga. I'm also a huge advocate on volunteering and giving back. I think volunteering can be one of the most selffulfilling things you can do, for fun.
What makes you a good catch?
ALEX: I'm fun, easy on the eyes, charming, will always have you laughing and I enjoy treating women like princesses.
BROOKE: I'm a down-to-earth girl with good values and like to have fun. I'm a nurturer by nature and love taking care of others. I'm independent, but caring, with a strong sense of who I am.
What are you looking for in a date?
ALEX: I love an outgoing, strong woman who can laugh at herself and smile a lot, someone who enjoys being with me, but has their own life. Physically, I love dark skin, light eyes and a lady that takes care of her body.
BROOKE: I'm pretty petite, so I appreciate some height in a man, but it's not required. I would just say they have to be fit, well groomed, smell nice and dress with some sense of style. Personality-wise, I am looking for someone who has a great sense of humor and can be a little goofy but can also have serious, intellectual talks. I also like little tokens of affection, like holding hands when you walk down the street, the door being held open, et cetera.
What is your biggest fear?
ALEX: Being eaten by a shark, which is why I admire the ocean from afar.
BROOKE: My latest thing is heights. Very odd, this fear came up after 32 years of not being afraid of them.
What's your favorite thing about yourself?
ALEX: Always being able to put a smile on people's faces.
BROOKE: I'm open-minded.
What do you like least about yourself?
ALEX: I'm a huge procrastinator. I hate that I always wait until the last minute.
BROOKE: I tend to procrastinate when making changes in my life. I mean, what am I waiting for? Change is good.
Alex and Brooke meet at Whisknladle, grab a table in the patio dining room and begin to get acquainted over glasses of wine and a decadent antipasto platter of olives, cheeses and housecured meats. As more wine arrives, they seem to be loosening up. Their conversation becomes more animated, and Court captures the moment.
After talking for about an hour, the daters depart Whisknladle for a private, after-hours tour of MCASD, La Jolla. The museum's current installation, Mexico: Expected/Unexpected, features more than 100 works from one of Mexico's most comprehensive contemporary art collections.
Laughing as they tiptoe through a maze of dried ginger husks suspended inches above the floor by strings attached to the ceiling, Brooke and Alex seem to be hitting it off. At times arm-in-arm, they stroll through the museum. When they receive a tip from their tour guide that four-letter words are hidden in a huge black and white mural, they work together to locate the would-be offensive gems.
In the next room, they fall in love...with a jackass.
And other works of art on display at MCASD
And other works of art on display at MCASD
After walking through the museum for nearly an hour, Brooke and Jason head a few blocks north on Prospect Street for dinner at Nine/Ten, where celebrated chef Jason Knibb practices his art-fresh, seasonal cuisine, which Zagat classifies as "extraordinary to perfection."
The daters sit by the bar and sip innovative cocktails created by resident mixologist, Sarah Lemke, and are then split for middate
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
ALEX: Good times. She's very cute, energetic and bubbly. Maybe she used to cheerlead. I feel like she's a top-of-the-pyramid kind of girl. She's tiny.
BROOKE: I'm having a really good time. He's really energetic. He's a handful, but I really like that, because he's outgoing and he's confident, and sometimes I'm shy.
How was Whisknladle?
ALEX: That's a cool spot; I liked the atmosphere. The antipasto that we shared was really good. I enjoyed the meats, the salamis. I had a house merlot; it was good. I'm a wine guy-I don't know sh!t about wine, but I like the taste.
BROOKE: I loved our cheese plate. It was amazing. It had a lot of different cheeses and the taste was great. The service was great, and the overall atmosphere was really good, too. It was very warm, very rustic, and it had really good lighting. It was a really good place to have a date.
What did you think of MCASD?
ALEX: Very cool. I'm not like a huge art guy, but it was definitely interesting. The big wall with the filthy words on it-very cool. There's nothing better than a first date when your date says the word "c---" and "bitch," 'cause it's written on the wall. Can you put that in the magazine? "C---" and "bitch"?
BROOKE: I thought it was great. I wish I could have stayed there longer, because I love looking at art. I love interpreting it.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
ALEX: She's touchy-feely, dude-grabbing, holding hands, that stuff. We took pictures of me holding her. That was funny.
BROOKE: In the museum, he really appreciated the drum display. He really kind of took a minute to talk about it and to explain it...and he wasn't joking. He was a little bit more serious and I really appreciated that.
Is this the type of person you would normally date?
ALEX: I normally like brunettes with dark skin, and taller, but she's refreshing-refreshingly different.
BROOKE: He is, but he's the kind of guy where I would like to have a second or third date to really reach a different kind of level with him.
Do you want to kiss your date now?
ALEX: Sure, why not? I'm a guy, dude.
BROOKE: I don't think I'm ready to kiss him now. Maybe after dinner and talking I'll feel like kissing him.
Does your date want to kiss you?
ALEX: Duh, winning!
BROOKE: I'm just going to go ahead and say probably not, but that's just because he hasn't really taken the initiative to hold my hand or do anything like that.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
ALEX: Let's go with an eight.
BROOKE: I'd say, like an eight. He's attractive and really good looking, good dresser, well groomed, great eyes, great smile.
How about for personality?
ALEX: We'll do an eight again. No, let's do a nine.
BROOKE: I'd probably say a seven. I've yet to have dinner with him, so we'll see if maybe it can turn into an eight.
Two "eights" dine at Nine/Ten
Two "eights" dine at Nine/Ten
As their entrees arrive, the daters are finally left alone to enjoy their evening without a photographer or caricaturist documenting their every move. We call the next morning to see what we missed.
PacificSD: Overall, how was the date?
ALEX: Overall, I'd say I had a good time, plenty of laughs and good conversations.
BROOKE: It was a great date. I had a blast. I really enjoyed the combination of the museum with food and cocktails.
How was Nine/Ten?
ALEX: Nine/Ten was good stuff. We chatted about everything, from family to work. She did, however, make me share the booth with her. I always hate on couples that do that at restaurants.
BROOKE: He really began to open up a little more during dinner and I felt I got more of a sense of who he was. We talked about family and some other more personal things.
What did you eat and drink?
ALEX: My pork belly appetizer was incredible-actually had a chance to compliment the chef-and our mixologist put together an incredible cocktail. I forgot the name of it, but it had blueberries and eucalyptus in it. Super refreshing.
BROOKE: They started us off with these amazing gin cocktail concoctions. One was made with eucalyptus. It was delicious and refreshing. I'm not much of a gin girl, but that cocktail wasamazing.
What was the best part of the date?
ALEX: That's tough, since the experience was all great, nightcap included.
BROOKE: I really enjoyed the museum. Alex had a lot to say about the different pieces; I liked hearing his input. I especially liked the burro-was kind of an eerie yet fascinating, rather odd piece. And I really loved the drum display. I loved how it was suspended in the air, much like the notion of how sound is. It took an idea and placed it into something tangible.
What was the worst part?
ALEX: Sitting next to each other in a booth at Nine/Ten-just not my thing.
BROOKE: The beginning was a little awkward. It was good conversation, but there was a sense of nervousness on both sides.
What happened after the magazine crew left?
ALEX: We had a cocktail or two at The Spot, then finished our evening at a friend of mine's house party in La Jolla. That's all the info I'll share.
BROOKE: We decided to go to another venue and have some drinks. I think at this point he accepted the fact that I like to sit on the same side of the booth together. So we sat on the same side, laughing and continuing to have fun.
Was there a romantic connection?
ALEX: Wouldn't call it romantic, but we know how each other's lips taste. No Disney endings, but we did some kissing and maybe some
BROOKE: We definitely connected. I'm not sure if it will transpire into another date, but I would like to see him again. There was a romantic moment or two. It was really cute, actually. I usually don't kiss and tell, but-yes, we shared a smooch.
Will there be a second date?
ALEX: You never know.
BROOKE: I would like to see what would happen on a second date. But I'm a girl who believes in chivalry and courting, so he will have to ask me.
Picture this: Like a piece of art, a date is subject to conflicting interpretations. Regarding his connection with Brooke, for example, Alex
"wouldn't call it romantic." Brooke, however, said, "There was a romantic moment or two."
In the end, the couple managed to find common ground, sharing an appreciation not only for art, but also for enjoying a spectrum of
culinary flavors on their palates.
The moral of the story: In dating, as in art, there are different strokes for different folks (insert seventh-grade-groping joke here).
THANK YOU! Whisknladle Bistro & Bar, 1044 Wall Stree t, La Jolla, 858.551.7575, whisknladle.com MCASD La Jolla, 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858.454.3541, mcasd.org Nine/Ten Restaurant & Bar, 910 Prospect Stree t, La Jolla, 858.964.5400, nine-ten.com
Whisknladle Bistro & Bar,
1044 Wall Stree t, La Jolla,
MCASD La Jolla,
700 Prospect Street, La Jolla,
Nine/Ten Restaurant & Bar,
910 Prospect Stree t, La Jolla,