On the Fright Track


By Michael Benninger / Photos by Brevin Blach

Krissa has acrophobia, the fear of heights. Tonight, she has agreed to ride a zip-line that traverses the new Adrenaline Zone at Belmont Park. Johan had a bad experience on a roller coaster when he was 14. He wouldn’t elaborate, but he did say he’s terrified to ride the roller coaster in Mission Beach tonight.

When pairing Krissa and Johan for this evening’s blind date, PacificSD‘s illustrious matchmakers were unaware of their phobias. Strange, but true - zip-line and roller coaster was always the plan. The fear is a bonus.

The daters met almost an hour ago in the Epic Limo that’s about to drop them at Draft, the new restaurant/bar (formerly ‘Canes and Sound Wave) with 69 beers on tap and the sun fading over the ocean. Before they arrive for pre-terror drinks, let’s review the pre-date interviews.

PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?KRISSA

: I’m originally from Monterey Bay Area and I now live in Solana Beach.


: I was born and raised in Sweden and lived there until I was 16. Then I moved to San Diego to try high school for a year and ended up staying. I now live in South Park.

What do you do for a living?KRISSA

: I’m a clinical analyst for a medical lab. I can be pretty nerdy.


: I own and operate restaurants. I opened Fig Tree Café in PB in 2008, then opened Fig Tree Café in Hillcrest in 2011 and Fig Tree Café in Liberty Station in 2013. Then I opened Café Cantata in Del Mar in June 2014 and bought a restaurant in North Park that I will remodel and reopen as Breakfast Republic in 2015. A second Breakfast Republic location is also coming late 2015, but I can’t disclose the location yet.

What do you do for fun?KRISSA

: Is “eating nachos” an acceptable answer? Exploring new parts of San Diego and traveling are also up there.


: I love traveling to new places. I try to travel at least two to three months out of the year. I also love kayaking, snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding.

What are you best at?KRISSA

: I’m a good friend and I’ll laugh at your jokes, if they are at least semi-funny.


: Creating new restaurant concepts.

What do you suck at?KRISSA

: Sports, really. I tend to injury myself anytime I try.


: Playing guitar, but I’d love to get better.

What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?KRISSA

: A gentleman with a great sense of humor.


: Witty, smart, with a healthy side of sarcasm.

Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.KRISSA

: Pretty fly for a white girl.


: Swedish country-boy turned Cali entrepreneur.

What do you like least about yourself?KRISSA

: I have a really hard time sharing nachos or chocolate.


: I always procrastinate.

Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for looks.KRISSA

: I get my fair share of right swipes.


: Eight.

Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for personality.KRISSA

: You tell me.


: Eight.

Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be “blank” and “blank.”KRISSA

: Outgoing and funny.


: Sexy and smart.

Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?KRISSA

: Don’t hold your breath.


: A kiss.


858.270.LIMO (5466)

Rush Hour

Time to get the adrenaline pumping

Krissa and Johan talk over cocktails and nachos (her choice) for about 30 minutes before walking around the corner to Belmont Park’s new Adrenaline Zone, featuring a rock-climbing wall, the Leap of Faith free-fall and one of tonight’s main attractions, a 30-foot-high zip-line.

Their harnesses secure and white-knuckled hands gripping the handrail, Krissa and Johan ascend the spiral staircase to the third-story zip-line platform. Three, two, one, go! The operator releases safety buckle, and the couple flies through the air, traveling 300 feet across the amusement park. Krissa doesn’t scream, but she does cover her face during most of the ride. During the second pass, she keeps her eyes open.

Now it’s Johan’s turn to man up, so he and Krissa walk to the Giant Dipper, Belmont Park’s nearly 100-year-old roller coaster, for a private ride under dark skies. They assume the position in the front seat and hold on for dear life.

The antique wooden track makes creaking sounds as the roller coaster lurches forward, climbing slowly to the top of the 70-foot-tall structure. Then... showtime! Once over the hill, the coaster plummets back toward earth, making sharp, banked turns during its half-mile, 105-second round-trip. After jolting to a stop, the daters are grinning from ear to ear as they take another lap to show the Dipper who’s boss.

After a quick visit to the arcade, Krissa and Johan back into the limo for the ride to dinner at The Patio on Lamont Street. Once they’ve had a chance to look over the menu and taste their appetizers, they’re split for mid-date debriefings.

PacificSD: How’s it going so far?KRISSA

: It’s going well. We survived!


: It’s going good. I conquered my fear of roller coasters. That’s a good start, I guess. I don’t do roller coasters. I’m scared sh!tless of them. But I guess I got past it.

What were your first impressions of your date?

: He was nice and cool; he was what I expected. He seemed very confident and relaxed, even though he was terrified of roller coasters.


: Good. I generally like petite girls, and she falls into that bracket. She’s cute.

Is this the type of person you’d normally date?KRISSA

: No, probably not. But that’s not a bad thing. He’s really nice. Usually I date jerks. It’s a good change.


: Yeah, I think so. It’s a little early to tell. I like people who kinda let loose, but I realize that, in this blind date situation, I might not see that part of her. But she seems cool so far... a little timid.

What do you think of the way your date is dressed?KRISSA

: I like the way he’s dressed. It’s appropriate for what we’re doing. We were going zip-lining, but he still wore a nice shirt, not, like, gym clothes. He looks perfectly presentable and classy.


: I think she’s dressed a little conservatively, but only because we went on a zip-line, which isn’t the best time to wear a skirt.

How was Draft?KRISSA

: Delicious. They gave me nachos. There was a lot of guacamole, which I love, and a lot of cheese and chips. It was a good portion. And the view was gorgeous. We watched the sunset. I would definitely recommend going there. The blackberry gin drinks were delicious as well. And it wasn’t so crowded that you couldn’t concentrate. It’s also great for people-watching.

: Draft was good. The cocktails were great. The waitress recommended this blackberry gin drink. I don’t normally drink gin, but it was tasty. There was a nice sunset that we both enjoyed. It seems like Krissa is a nachos connoisseur, and the nachos passed her test, so that’s a good thing. We also had the artichoke, which was really tasty, too.

How was the zip-line?KRISSA

: The zip-line was terrifying, but fun. I’m terrified of heights. The stairs were a little windy and tall, and I remember thinking that I was going to die, and this was my last moment in life. Johan was really nice and supportive. He kept checking in and asking me if I was okay and how I was feeling. He told me that he was afraid of the zip-line, too, or that he wasn’t very comfortable with it.


: Krissa was really scared of the zip-line, but she managed to get over her fear, so I wasn’t going to stand there and not get over mine.

How was the roller coaster?KRISSA

: The roller coaster was fantastic. I love roller coasters. Johan hates roller coasters, and it was kinda fun to go with someone who’s terrified of them and hasn’t been on one since he was a child. We all have fears, it just happens to be that we both had one on this date. It was fun to kinda conquer it with him.


: The roller coaster wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Half the battle is getting over this mental mountain that you’ve build in your head, but once I got past that, it was all good. Krissa pushed me in the right direction.

What’s the most attractive thing your date has done so far?KRISSA

: Asking me multiple times during the zip-line if I was okay. It was nice to be supported in that way.


: On the roller coaster, as we were getting on, she said, ‘Hey, let me know whatever you need, whatever I can do to make it better for you.’ She was very supportive. She wasn’t like, ‘Oh, come on, don’t be a baby.’ That was a nice little gesture. She seems easy to talk to and down-to-earth. She doesn’t seem like one of these Southern California chicks who are very materialistic.

What would your parents think of your date?KRISSA

: My parents would be okay with him. They’d be happy. He seems nice and caring.


: My mom would like her and think she’s a cute, sweet girl.

Rate your date on a scale of 1 to 10 for looks.KRISSA

: Nine.


: Eight.

How about for personality?KRISSA

: Nine-point-five or 10.


: Eight.

Do you want to kiss your date right now?KRISSA

: At this point, no. I’m usually a bit more traditional and like to wait a little longer before a kiss.


: Maybe. We’ll see.

Does your date want to kiss you?KRISSA

: Probably not. I don’t know if Johan’s reserved, but he seems very respectful.


: I don’t know.


3105 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach

3146 Mission Blvd., Mission Beach


Know Fear

The daters get acquainted over dinner

After the mid-date break, the PacificSD crew leaves Krissa and Johan alone at the Patio to enjoy the rest of the evening away from the camera. The next morning, we call to find out what we missed.

PacificSD: How was the vibe/ experience at the The Patio?KRISSA

: I really liked the feel of the place and location. I had a Beehive drink, which was delicious. We had the cheeseboard and the duck and the ahi tacos and dessert. The service was fantastic. I loved our waiter; he’s my new BFF.


: It was great. I’m a huge fan of The Patio and go there quite frequently, so I’ve had a lot of their stuff. We had the ahi tacos, a ribeye skewer, a duck apple salad and the meat and cheese board. All were fantastic. We had blueberry cocktails and a number of tequila shots. People seemed to think we were celebrities.

What did you talk about during dinner?KRISSA

: We talked about American culture and how Americans eat horribly, and traveling. We talked about things we’ve done.


: We talked about traveling. She spent a year teaching in Paris, and I’ve traveled in Europe quite a few times since I grew up in Sweden. So we had a lot in common there. We talked a lot about our fears, too. The conversation flowed. She was easy to talk to.

How long did you stay at The Patio and what did you do for the rest of the evening?KRISSA

: We stayed at The Patio too late, like until 11:45. Then we took the limo back to his house, and I called an Uber.


: We left the Patio at 11:45. [We took the limo] to my place, and she got an Uber.

Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?KRISSA

: A short goodnight kiss that he initiated.


: Yeah, there was a little making out in the limo and afterwards.

How will your date answer that question?KRISSA

: Hopefully, he’ll be a gentleman and not tell you guys any information.


: She’s gonna say, “He kissed me in the limo.”

How did the night end?KRISSA

: It ended with me on the phone, giving directions to Uber, and Johan telling me where to tell the driver to go. We exchanged phone numbers. He texted me today to make sure I was okay, which was nice.


: We exchanged phone numbers and said goodnight.

What are your date’s two best qualities?KRISSA

: I think he’s very easygoing and very polite.


: I would say she’s very down-to-earth and easy to talk to. And she’s well traveled, that’s something that’s huge for me. Traveling is a big part of my life.

What was the highlight of the date?KRISSA

: Seeing his face terrified on a roller coaster and me requesting strongly that he please raise his hands like people typically do when riding roller coasters. I also really enjoyed Draft and just sitting and talking with the beach right there.


: Probably at The Patio. I kinda had this mental monster with the roller coaster thing that I had to overcome, but once that was in the past, I felt that I could let loose in a way. So, at The Patio, we both had a few more drinks, we were both laughing and having a good time. Dinner and the conversation was the highpoint for me.

Will there be a second date?KRISSA

: I’m not sure how he’s feeling about things, but I would be open to going out again and having a normal date, like one where we’re not terrified and aren’t being photographed. Not that I didn’t have fun.


: We didn’t make plans to hang out again, but I texted her in the morning to see how hungover she was. It’s to be determined, I guess.


Regarding the likelihood of there being a kiss last night, Krissa said in her pre-date interview, “Don’t hold your breath.” Turns out Johan didn’t need to - he must have gotten that out of the way on the roller coaster. While last night may not have produced love at first sight, at least the daters managed to overcome their fears and go for it (talking about the rides, not the kiss in the limo). Perhaps Mr. Fright will turn out to be Mr. Right after all.


4445 Lamont St., Pacific Beach

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