By David Perloff
Photos by Brevin Blach
Just another day in paradise. Waves breaking, seagulls squawking, tourists saying "Cheese!" and pointing at sea lions. Not a cloud in the sky.
An ideal spot for soaking in the waterfront scene is Brockton Villa, a cozy restaurant perched atop the cove in La Jolla. The historic oceanfront structure was erected in 1894 as a weekend retreat for a city-slicking physician who paid $165 for the home site. At the time, La Jolla was a four-hour journey from downtown San Diego.
The restaurant sits among trees a few steps up from Coast Boulevard, offering seclusion in the heart of the village. Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Geisel) is said to have written and found inspiration for some of his books here. "Quaint" would be an understatement.
Will perfect day equal perfect date? Let's see. Blind daters Nikki and Daniel are about to meet for the first time on the patio at Brockton Villa. Before they arrive, let's review the predate interviews.
PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?
DANIEL: I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area, originally, and now live in Mission Valley.
NIKKI: I'm from Santa Monica, but live in San Diego.
What do you do for a living?
DANIEL: I'm a personal banker with Wells Fargo.
NIKKI: I'm in outside sales. I sell food, specifically fresh produce. I work with chefs at restaurants, hotels and country clubs.
What do you do for fun?
DANIEL: I enjoy playing sports and being active. I love being adventurous and trying out new things to do.
NIKKI: Luckily, I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen. I also enjoy being active, working out, hiking, et cetera. Time with family and friends is a big part of my life. A cocktail by the pool never hurt anyone, either.
What are you looking for in a date?
DANIEL: I look for someone who is bubbly, positive and cheerful. Ideally, someone who enjoys being active and is physically fit.
NIKKI: Physically, a handsome face, fit physique, polished look. Personality would be down-to-Earth, goalorientated and keeps me laughing.
What is your biggest fear?
NIKKI: Being too focused on the past and future that I forget to enjoy the present.
What's your sign, religion or spiritual belief system, if any?
DANIEL: I'm a Capricorn. I'm of the Christian faith, but definitely don't go (to church) as often as I should.
NIKKI: I'm a Taurus, very loyal and a little bullheaded, too. Ok, stubborn, fine. I'm Jewish, more so culturally than religiously.
What kind of music do you like?
DANIEL: All kinds. You name it and I'll love it. Well, except for country.
NIKKI: I'm such a girl. I like upbeat, fun stuff that makes me feel energized. Yes, Britney!
What's the best thing about San Diego's beaches?
DANIEL: They are vibrant and full of life.
NIKKI: The view, sunset happy hour.
What's the worst thing about San Diego's beaches?
DANIEL: The water is a bit cold.
NIKKI: The randoms from all over that come visit. Go home.
If you could do anything on any beach in the world right now, what would you be doing and where?
DANIEL: Surfing in Costa Rica.
NIKKI: I would love to be on the coast in Italy; the Amalfi coast sounds like heaven.
The daters meet and sit at a table on the patio. They toast with pomegranate mimosas and begin to get acquainted.
1235 Coast Blvd., La Jolla
A Room with a View
Dinner on the waterfront
After talking over wine and appetizers at Brockton Villa for more than an hour, Alex and Nikki head to La Jolla Shores for dinner. They're in for a treat: at legendary gourmet restaurant, The Marine Room, executive chef Bernard Guillas and chef de cuisine Ron Oliver have prepared an exquisite tasting menu of seafood delicacies.
The couple sits in a booth by a majestic picture window that seems to bring the beach indoors. (Waves have crashed through these windows in the past; the replacement panes are now made of much sturdier glass.) As they sip wine in advance of their underwater culinary adventure, they're split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How's it going so far?
DANIEL: It's going good. Fantastic locations. I'm having a good time.
NIKKI: Very nice time. He's easy to talk to, and we've had some good laughs and good food.
What were your first Impressions?
DANIEL: She had a great smile. Didn't like the shades, but she had, you know, a good body. She's very easygoing and I could tell that she is very mature and very professional. And part of what she does for her job makes her that way, but I had a good vibe in terms of her level of maturity, which I liked a lot.
NIKKI: He looked friendly and really nice, easygoing.
How was Brockton Villa?
DANIEL: It was good. I had the crab cakes, which were phenomenal. Good view of the ocean, very intimate setting. It was a great place to go on a date.
NIKKI: The view was beautiful. It was a nice place to go.
Is this the type of person you'd normally date?
DANIEL: I do like her demeanor. I like blondes, also, typically. Yeah, I think so. I think I can probably date someone like Nikki, definitely.
NIKKI: Um, not right off the bat. I have a type-a little bit more edge, I think. But we've had a nice time hanging out.
What's the most attractive thing your date has done so far?
DANIEL: When she opened up and she started laughing, I liked her humor. I like the fact that she is very ambitious and driven, so there's a lot of attributes that I find very endearing with Nikki.
NIKKI: Been a gentleman.
What would your parents say?
DANIEL: Gosh, um, so my parents have a negative history with my brother dating blondes, and some of the wives that he picked were kind of questionable, so her first reaction would be, 'Why a blonde?' But then they'd probably warm up, because she's a pretty good girl.
NIKKI: They would probably say he's really nice, easygoing demeanor. They'd probably think he would be different than my type.
Rate your date's looks on a scale from one to 10.
How about for personality?
Do you want to kiss your date right now?
NIKKI: Not particularly.
Does your date want to kiss you right now?
DANIEL: I have a feeling, no.
NIKKI: Who knows?
Scorching summer romances begin with a spark. This date seems to be starting out all-wet. Perhaps a fantastic meal (with more wine and fewer photos) will help.
As their first course is served, the daters are finally given more privacy-not much more, however. The magazine crew stays to eat dinner in another part of the restaurant, out of the couple's sight. No way we were going to miss chef Guillas' tasting menu. We start with a squid ink sesame cone filled with ahi tuna tartare. Next comes a spice-dusted wild prawn on top of a scallop (perfection), followed by a goat cheese brûlée. The thymerubbed free-range veal tenderloin is divine. Topping it off is a dessert trio of hazelnut chocolate crunch, ginger crème and pistachio halvah.
The Marine Room
2000 Sp indrift Dr., La Jolla Shores
Eating it, that's another story...
Sunset dinner at The Marine Room is fabulous. As the magazine crew fights over the last piece of pistachio halvah, here come Alex and Nikki, walking toward our table. They pause a few paces from where we're sitting and, in an awkward exchange, say goodbye and head toward the door.
WTF?! The daters leaving before the crew? That never happens.
The rest of us stick around, sipping espresso and trying to guess what made the couple bail so early. Or maybe the seafood was an aphrodisiac, and they ran out to the car for a quickie? Our imaginations run wild. We call the next morning to find out what we missed.
PacificSD: Overall, how was the date?
DANIEL: I absolutely loved the restaurants and the food was amazing. Nikki seemed to be a nice, attractive girl, so overall I had a good time.
NIKKI: The date was fun. My perspective on most things in life is "you only live once" and I thought it would be something interesting
to add to my rap sheet. I'm such a private person in many respects, so it was challenging to open myself up to the cameras and questions during the date. I'm glad that I tried something new and met a new, fun person.
How was the Marine Room?
DANIEL: The view was quite amazing, and the staff gave exceptional service. I enjoyed the entrees, the desserts and the wine selection.
NIKKI: The Marine Room was great. Gorgeous views of the water and sunset. Couldn't ask for a better place to eat dinner. Funny part is, I
don't eat any seafood. They were very accommodating at swapping out all of the seafood on the prix-fixe menu for me with other stuff. The desserts were a nice end to a great meal. (EDITOR'S NOTE TO SELF: Ask future daters if they won't eat food from a certain category before taking them to a restaurant famous for said category.)
What was the best part of the date?
DANIEL: We had good food and drinks in a great place without burning a hole in my wallet.
NIKKI: The best part of the date was trying two new places neither of us had tried-and gorging on the desserts. Yum!
DANIEL: The wardrobe malfunction during one of the photos.
NIKKI: Funniest part was that I kept having a wardrobe malfunction. My sweater kept sliding off my shoulder and dropping too low. I didn't even charge for the free show. I think the photographer has a few pictures of me on display. Photog, I better not see those online anywhere. I may want to run for office in the future. Oops!
Describe any romantic connection between yourself and your date.
DANIEL: I wouldn't say there was a romantic connection, but she was good company and we had fun.
NIKKI: We shared a napkin, since I lost mine.
Was there a kiss or romantic moment?
DANIEL: A good night hug was as close as it got.
NIKKI: Not really. I think we connected in many ways, but would only be good friends.
Will there be a second date?
DANIEL: I would say probably not.
NIKKI: I enjoyed his company-smart, funny and very much a gentleman, which is very attractive in a man. I see us hanging out as friends, rather than a date.
AFTERMATCH: For your reading pleasure, PacificSD had hoped to kickstart some summer lovin' last night. The formula seemed so perfect-the blue skies, the sunset, the panoply of gourmet flavors. Despite our effort and the delicious food, however, the date fell flat. It lacked spice.
Long story short, we took bland to the beach. The good news is, at least nobody got crabs.
(PacificSD is selling Nikki's wardrobe malfunction photos on eBay. Sorry, Nikki, we bet our bookie that you and Daniel would at least make out-we have to recoup our losses somehow.)