Photos by Brevin Blach
Talia grew up in Fallbrook and now lives in Pacific Beach . For a living, she's a VIP cocktail server at Side Bar Ultra Lounge in the Gaslamp. Oliver is from Sausalito, near the San Francisco Bay area. He lives in the Gaslamp, co-owns the popular Rubicon Deli (with locations in Mission Beach and Little Italy) and moonlights as a professional paintball player.
If Oliver looks familiar, it's either because you're an avid paintball fan, or because you recognize him from his first PacificSD blind date, in the March 2011 issue. Perhaps the second time's a charm (the first time wasn't).
Talia and Oliver met for the first time half-an-hour ago, and are now cruising in an Epic Limo en route to San Dieguito
Park, in Del Mar , where they'll pose as fashion models for this issue's "Let's Go Glamping" photo shoot.
Before they arrive to get made-over and done-up, let's review the pre-date interviews.
What do you do for fun?
TALIA: Food, friends, family and my French bulldog. It doesn't matter where I am or what I am doing, as long as I've got good company, good food and get to bring my dog, then I am having a good time.
OLIVER: I create art.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/ or otherwise?
TALIA: Tall, dark and handsome; a man and a gentleman. I am old-fashioned when it comes to manners of love and how a man should treat a lady.
OLIVER: Anything physical would be nice, maybe a little continuity. Someone capable of healthy conversation and maybe even teaching me something.
Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for looks.
TALIA: Happy, wherever that lands me on the scale.
OLIVER: Eight, but getting better with age.
How about for personality?
TALIA: Nobody's perfect. I just always try to be a 10.
What's your biggest fear?
TALIA: If I see a cockroach, I will freak out. I am absolutely terrified of them. Even thinking about it grosses me out.
OLIVER: Not procreating.
What traits could your date exhibit that would be complete deal-breakers?
TALIA: Poor manners, hygiene or etiquette.
OLIVER: Being typical.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be "blank" and "blank."
TALIA: A gentleman and handsome.
OLIVER: Beautiful and juicy.
Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?
TALIA: Nothing more, could be less.
OLIVER: Always aiming for the stars.
What's the most important thing in the world?
TALIA: All you need is love.
From the first click of the shutter, the daters seem to be enjoying themselves. Talia's smiling; Oliver's cracking jokes that have her and the whole production crew laughing.
Pretending they're on a romantic, backwoods getaway, she pours espresso while he lights an eco-friendly stove. Wardrobe change. Then, he takes an outdoor shower while she chops wood. Wardrobe change. Between outfits, Oliver gives no sign of blushing as he strips down to his underwear. The two seem to be hitting it off.
After the final shot, and a mug of champagne in the Volkswagen van, the two change back into civilian clothes, jump into the limo and head to the launch site for their sunset sojourn in the Hendrick's Gin hot air balloon. As they soar thousands of feet above Del Mar, they'll enjoy cucumber gimlets (Hendrick's Gin, pressed lime and cucumber) mixed by in-flight bartender Joey Weller from downtown's The Lion's Share.
Things are Still Up in the Air
The blind date reaches new highs and lows
As Talia and Oliver arrive at the hot air balloon takeoff location near the Del Mar Polo Fields, the clouds overhead have grown thick and grey. The wind is picking up.
As they wait for a break in the weather, the daters get things off the ground by hopping into the balloon basket and sipping Hendrick's Gin cocktails. Oliver smirks while continuously cranking open the release valve on the balloon's engines. Given the pleasure he appears to derive from sending burning propane roaring into the sky, it's easy to picture this paintballer wielding a flamethrower.
Then comes the deflating news: the flight has been canceled due to inclement weather. What a letdown. Perhaps the silver lining in this cloud is that both daters need to hit the bathroom, which could have posed a challenge, not to mention a cool photo op, in the air.
Back in the limo, the couple rides west to Sea & Smoke, Del Mar's freshest surf 'n' turf hotspot by celebrated restaurateur/chef, Matt Gordon (Urban Solace in North Park, Solace & the Moonlight Lounge
As they arrive at the restaurant, Talia and Oliver take a seat on the courtyard patio. Once they've had a chance to share appetizers, they're split for mid-date debriefings.
What were your first impressions?
TALIA: He had a card for me. I just thought that was really thoughtful, sweet, considerate. It was a picture of an orchid.
OLIVER: She lives in PB. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.
Has your date been fun and interesting to talk with?
TALIA: Yes, he has a great sense of humor.
OLIVER: I really can't get a read on her because I think she likes a different sort of guy. We've had good talks, but I still haven't been able to break her down. I think she's got bigger fish to fry.
What do you think of how your date is dressed?
TALIA: I love his style. He has his own personal attention to detail and swag.
OLIVER: She wore a really vibrant blue dress; it was nice. And she had no bra on, which I'm a huge fan of, by the way.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
TALIA: In all honesty, no. He's really nice and funny, and has a great sense of humor, but I think we're a too much alike. I also think he's a little bit overly confident. I like that he knows what he likes and wants, but that's something that could potentially make us butt heads.
OLIVER: Not really. She's very pretty, without a doubt, and she's got a great body, but I like these open, overzealous girls that are hilarious and super confident in themselves. We haven't clicked yet. I've been trying really hard to be as stupid as hell and make jokes, but she hasn't really given back yet. I like girls that don't take themselves too seriously. I don't take myself seriously at all.
How was the photo shoot?
TALIA: The shoot was fun. I think he managed to make every moment not awkward. He's just lighthearted and funny and tried to make everybody on the shoot feel included and not uncomfortable.
OLIVER: The photo shoot was great. The Grand Artique does a hell of a job, and we had the Beach Bum Blazers VW there. They made us look good. My date looked really good, actually. I was very impressed. It was a good shoot. It was funny to be in it.
How was almost hot air ballooning?
TALIA: I'm glad it was too overcast. I would have been terrified. I was so happy with exactly what happened.
OLIVER: I've always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon... and now I guess I still do. Put it on the I.O.U. for PacificSD. The bartenders from The Lion's Share were great, though. The cocktails were delicious, the Hendrick's was good, and we're still alive.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
TALIA: I think that he actually handles himself like a true gentleman, at all times. He opens car doors, makes sure I'm comfortable and happy.
OLIVER: The most attractive thing she's done so far is definitely not-wear a bra. She's 28, she knows what she likes and she's got an agenda, which is also attractive.
What's the least attractive thing your date has done?
TALIA: I haven't gotten there yet.
OLIVER: She got into the limo and started text messaging, and that's just kinda lame, in general. If anyone goes on a date, you should be with the person. I mean, we've all got lives, we all want to check our Instagram, we all want to be those selfish social mediaers, but it's just not very polite to do it on a date.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.
And for personality?
Do you want to kiss your date now?
OLIVER: No. I'd probably like to grab onto her boobs, though.
Does your date want to kiss you?
TALIA: I have no idea, I hope not.
OLIVER: Probably not, no.
Sending a Clear Message
Dinner, with a little texting on the side
As their entrees arrive, Talia and Oliver are finally left alone to enjoy the rest of their date away from the cameras. The next morning, we call to find out what we missed.
How was dinner at Sea & Smoke?
TALIA: The food was amazing, the service was impeccable, and I loved being able to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful San Diego summer night.
OLIVER: Dinner was nice. The place is the new, trendy place-to-be in Del Mar.
What did you eat and drink?
TALIA: A lot. I am not a picky eater, and Oliver has a true love for food, so I let him do the ordering. We drank a delicious bottle of red wine and, honestly, everything I ate and drank was good, especially the French fries.
OLIVER: We had some delicious Hendrick's cocktails at our mock hot air balloon ride, so I was feeling a little loose. We ordered the mussels and yellow tail crudo, as well as a decanted red wine. We shared the pork shoulder and the salmon. We did really good at ordering.
What happened after the magazine crew left you two alone?
TALIA: I was ready for bed. I had the limo drop me off at home and let Oliver take it out on the town. The ride home was actually one of my favorite parts of the day. It was pretty obvious at that point there was no romantic connection.
OLIVER: The date became a little mundane. I could tell she wasn't very excited to be there anymore when she noticed her ex-boyfriend at the bar with another girl. I wasn't interested in any sort of drama occurring, or being even slightly involved. She couldn't hop out of the limo fast enough. I think my garlic breath from the mussels must have been singeing her eyelashes.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?
TALIA: No, nothing of that sort.
OLIVER: No, she was too busy texting other people and worrying about her dog for me to even try to put the effort in.
What's the funniest thing that happened during the date?
TALIA: There are too many to choose from. Oliver knows how to make a girl laugh.
OLIVER: When we were leaving, she tried to make me go talk to her ex with her, but I fled up the stairs. I wanted no involvement at all, and then I heard someone take a big spill right at the foot of the steps. I could only imagine it was right in front of her ex. Then she confirmed it was her, and embarrassing. We laughed about it.
What was the worst part of the date?
TALIA: Being on different pages. I just felt really bad, because from what I have seen so far, he really is such a great guy. He was so attentive, funny, thoughtful, and went out of his way to make the date special. It just wasn't the perfect match for me.
OLIVER: I just wish my date was more into the experience. These things are about having fun; the stories are everything. I wish we had more excitement, like we took the limo to Vegas and got hitched.
Will there be a second date?
TALIA: Romantic date, no. As friends, yes. We shook on it.
OLIVER: Considering she wouldn't even hold my hand, I'm gonna say probably-definitely-maybe no, for sure.
What's one thing your date really should know before his/her next date?
TALIA: Try to always remember to open the car or limo door for her.
OLIVER: Texting while on a date is just rude; that goes for everyone. Excuse yourself to the rest room and connect with your outside life. When you're together, try to be present. If you can't stand it, excuse yourself from the date and don't waste anyone's time.
AFTERMATCH: Despite a picture-perfect start, Talia and Oliver's blind date never really took off. At the mid-date break, she said, "he's really nice and funny," and he said, "she's very pretty... and she's got a great body." But much like the balloon, the romance was going nowhere.
Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope when Talia said, "he actually handles himself like a true gentleman," but hopes were dashed when Oliver said, "I'd probably like to grab onto her boobs." Probably? The point is, he wasn't sure.
Like the wind did to a would-be hot air balloon adventure, the PacificSD matchmakers blew it. We didn't forge a love connection, but the good news is that the Glamping pics turned out great. As for love at first sight, you'd have to be at least a little campy to believe in that.
Sea & Smoke
2690 Via de la Valle, Del Mar