Wind and Dine
By David Perloff / Photos by Brevin Blach
Thank you for dining with us, dearest Date Fan. Specials this evening include a chef ‘s custom dinner at Lotus Thai, handmade desserts at D Bar and a craft cocktail nightcap at Starlite.
Blind daters Vicky and Jeff met about half-an-hour ago in the Epic Limo that’s about to drop them off at the redesigned (in July) Lotus Thai in Hillcrest. Before they arrive, let’s review their pre-date interviews.
PacificSD: Where are you from and where do you live now?VICKY:
I was born in England, but I’ve lived in San Diego since I was six years old. I’d love to tell my upcoming blind date that I have a British accent, but I’m just a typical Cali girl living in Bankers Hill.
From Boca Raton, Florida, and I live in Crown Point.
What do you do for a living?VICKY:
I’m a sales rep for a company based out of San Diego.
Why are you going on a blind date in Pacific Magazine?VICKY:
I thought it would be a fun experience and more exciting than all the online dates I go on. I’m also an avid reader of Pacific Magazine and always enjoy reading the Blind Date section. Can one of the previous guys be a repeat for tonight?
I’ve never actually been on a blind date, so this seems like an opportune time to cross that off the list. Pacific Magazine handling all of the planning is certainly a plus, as well.
What do you do for fun?VICKY:
I’m very social and I’m always checking out the new hot spots in San Diego. I enjoy working out, traveling, wine tasting, karaoke. And who doesn’t enjoy dancing the night away?
Play or watch sports, outdoor activities, live music, travel, competitive eating.
What are you best at?VICKY:
Currently, I’m a really good Yelper! I Yelp everything. Whether it’s a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, exhibit, a service or even a purchase I’ve made, it all gets documented. I’ve actually just been accepted into the Yelp Elite Club, which I’m very excited about.
I am exceptionally fast.
What do you suck at?VICKY:
Sports. I was a dancer my entire life but I never played any sports so I’m not the person who can play beach volleyball or be on the co-ed softball team. A little fun fact about me: I danced in the 1998 Super Bowl. Not many people that suck at sports can say they’ve been to the Super Bowl.
What are you looking for in a date, physically and/or otherwise?VICKY:
Obviously, a physical first impression is important. But in the long run, he needs to be a traditional gentleman with a good personality, who enjoys traveling and thinks the world of me.
I like to be challenged, and a good sense of humor is always a plus.
Describe your special brand of sex appeal in five words or less.VICKY:
Smart, cute and sexy.
Rugged, yet refined.
What do you like least about yourself?VICKY:
I’m a very structured and routine person, especially during the week, so it would be good for me to be a little more spontaneous now and then.
I care too much.
Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for looks.VICKY:
I’m happy with my looks and I seem to match with the minimal amount I swipe right to. Does that give me a higher number?
Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 for personality.VICKY:
I think I have a very fun and outgoing personality, so I’m closer to a higher number. Others may think I’m too much, but hey, I’m in sales!
What’s your biggest fear?VICKY:
I was absolutely petrified of dogs until I was 21 years old and I’m still quite nervous around them. Since I got over my main fear 10 years ago, I’ve been bitten twice and I think any dog at any time is just going to bite me.JEFF:
What traits could your date exhibit that would be complete deal-breakers?VICKY:
Someone who wants to stay home on a Saturday night with a movie. We can do that on a Wednesday; I like my dinner-and-wine dates.
Bad table manners, lackluster conversational skills; and hopefully she doesn’t cause a scene. Actually, the latter is okay.
Fill in the blanks: I want my blind date to be “blank” and “blank.”VICKY:
Outgoing and nicely dressed.
The best blind date I’ve ever had.
Will the night end with a kiss, something more or something less?VICKY:
Hopefully he’ll be my type, and I’ll want to kiss him.
All’s well that ends well.
What’s the most important thing in the world?VICKY:
Family, friends and a few airline tickets.
Life, health and the pursuit of happiness.
3761 Sixth Ave., Hillcrest
Thai OneDinner is served
When they arrive at Lotus Thai, Vicky and Jeff grab a booth and toast lychee soju (rice wine vodka) martinis. For the next hour, chef Ton Sangkapong spotlights his seasonal menu, presenting a (large) sampling of his latest dishes - Thai chicken satay, salmon curry and grilled lobster tail with calamari, among a few others. Both daters are smiling and laughing during dinner, but Vicky appears to be doing most of the talking. Jeff doesn’t look bored per se, but he doesn’t appear enthralled, either. If there is a love connection here, it isn’t outwardly apparent.
After the meal, the couple walks around the corner and up Fifth Avenue to D Bar, former Food Network Challenge host Keegan Gerhard’s restaurant/bar and late-night dessert hotspot. Dessert comes in many forms at D Bar - tonight, it will come in most of them, beginning with a brightly colored dessert martini and continuing with more martinis and made-to-order desserts from the hands of pastry sous chef Briana White.
(Editor’s note: Gerhard, himself, was supposed to show up, but he wussed out. Kidding, buddy. Get well soon. I hope they’re just pulling a sweet tooth or something.)
An hour or so later, when they’ve had their fill of dessert (except for maybe another handmade chocolate and one last French macaroon), Vicky and Jeff depart D Bar for Starlite, the late-night dining destination in Middletown. Once inside, they peruse one of the city’s most celebrated craft cocktail menus before being split for mid-date debriefings.
PacificSD: How’s it going so far?VICKY:
Fantastic! Great time, great food, great drinks and great limo service - you guys are awesome.
It’s going great. I’ve actually enjoyed every aspect of it thus far.
What were your first impressions?VICKY:
I will say, I was at home thinking, “Oh, god, is this gonna be a guy that I’ve been matched with in online dating and I never responded to?” The second I met him, I didn’t have any connection with him, at all. He’s a nice guy. He’s not my dating type, but he’s a nice guy.
I thought she was a very attractive girl. She seems like a really cool chick.
Is this the type of person you’d normally date?VICKY:
No, not at all. You either click with someone or you don’t within 10 seconds, and I just didn’t.
Normally... I’d go out with younger women.
How was Lotus Thai?VICKY:
All the food was amazing. The lobster was delicious; everything was fantastic. The martini with the lychee thing in it was good.
The vibe was cool and the lobster dish that we had was phenomenal.
How was D Bar?VICKY:
The vibe at D Bar was fantastic. The drink was delicious; I had some kind of chocolate martini that was good. The food was fantastic as well.JEFF:
The desserts were amazing; so were the cocktails. Desserts are made right in front of your face. They’ve got the best talent there, and everyone was really friendly.
What kind of food is your date most like and how?VICKY:
He’s like a burger, because he loves food and he can just eat.
We had this dish at Lotus Thai; it looked like corn on the cob shrimp or fish. We couldn’t really figure it out. It was covered with a spicy curry sauce. That’s how I’d describe her. [Editor’s note: WTF?]
What’s the most attractive thing your date has done so far?VICKY:
He’s been pretty good about pulling chairs back and opening doors.
She seems like a free spirit who’s up for any kind of activity.
What’s the least attractive thing your date has done so far?VICKY:
My one deal-breaker about dating a guy is how they eat. I eat everything with a knife and fork. He cut his chicken in half with a fork and no knife, and that’s really unattractive to me. My parents are British, and I grew up very European, so we eat everything very proper.
I wouldn’t say she’s done anything unattractive thus far.
What would your parents say if you brought your date home?VICKY:
They’d probably think he was a little quiet for me.
My parents would actually like her quite a bit. She’s got a good job, really stable, and they’d be happy to actually see me bring someone home.
Rate your date on a scale from one to 10 for looks.VICKY:
How about for personality?VICKY:
Do you want to kiss your date now?VICKY:
Does your date want to kiss you?VICKY:
I don’t think so.
D BAR RESTAURANT
3930 Fifth Ave., Hillcrest
858.270.LIMO (5466) epiclimo.com
D Bar’s decadent date offerings
Raspberry Coulis: Vanilla cake brushed with simple syrup, macerated raspberries and raspberry sorbet, adorned with white chocolate décor.
Faux Foster Banana Imposter: Rock sugar waffle with milk chocolate cremeaux, rum roasted bananas, caramel sauce, caramel Ice cream and banana tuile (thin, crisp wafer).
Creme Brûlée: Made with almond orange caramel biscotti and fresh berries.
Minis: Hand-rolled truffle, pistachio French macaroon, passion curd tart, raspberry pate de fruit and a rocher (fancy chocolate bonbon).
Pace yourself , there’s more...
As the daters toast cocktails served in frosty copper mugs, the magazine crew finally leaves them alone to enjoy the rest of their evening away from the camera. The next morning, we call to see what we missed.
PacificSD: How was Starlite?VICKY:
I loved the lighting in there, and the mules were delicious.
Starlite is a hidden gem. There were a good amount of people there, but it wasn’t too packed. Great place to take a date.
What did you do after Starlite?VICKY:
We talked about going to Barleymash, but ended up staying at Starlite. After a six-course meal, four courses of dessert and eight cocktails, I’m not sure that anyone would have let us in anywhere.
We actually ended up basically closing down Starlite. We had ambitious ideas of taking the limo downtown, but I think the mules kicked in a bit.
When and how did the date end?VICKY:
A little after one. I think Juan, our driver, was actually supposed to drop each of us off by one, but he had a hard time getting us out of Starlite. After lots of dancing, laughter, fun, drinks and bites, we went our separate ways.
One-thirty-ish. We parted ways with a goodnight hug, and then I had to head home to pack for my seven a.m. flight, which I miraculously made it to on time.
Was there a kiss or romantic exchange?VICKY:
How can you not kiss a nice-looking guy?
Lil’ bit at Starlite and possibly in the limo, but nothing that you couldn’t tell mom about.
What two things would you change about your date to make the person a better fit for you?VICKY:
He was a really nice guy, but he’s probably a little quiet for me, although maybe I need a quieter person to balance me out in life.
I would say, conversationally, a little more attention to my side of the discussion would be a plus.
What will be your date’s biggest complaint about you, if any?VICKY:
That I’m a klepto? We may have stolen a mule glass, but we’ve all done that before though, right? Sorry, Starlite, I’ll bring it back next time, or please send me the bill - okay, him! I think he’ll also say I fix my lipstick often, was really nervous when I first got in the limo and can ramble now and then.
Probably my clothes. I severely lack style.
What’s the funniest thing that happened during the date?VICKY:
It was pretty quiet in Starlite, as it’s more of a lounge-type place, but there was some music on, and we ended up dancing for awhile. It was really fun, very random, and I imagine we got some looks. He was a good dancer; we were just giggling and having such a good time.
Midway through the date, we both brought up at the same time how we weren’t each other’s types. Ironically, we got along much better from that point on.
What was the best part of the date?VICKY:
Besides having a fun time, we had awesome servers. I really think that a server can make or break a wine-and-dine night. Alex at Lotus Thai was so funny, informative, and he guessed what wines we’d like. We got along with him really well and we even got a picture with him. Then, Devin at D Bar was hilarious and nice. He brought us so many desserts and a few dessert martinis; we just had a good laugh with him.
Slow dancing at Starlite was the highlight for me. You really can’t beat that. Surprisingly, nobody else joined us on the makeshift dance floor.
Will there be a second date?VICKY:
No. He’s a really nice guy and good-looking guy, but I don’t think we had that first initial click. But I have a feeling we’ll bump into one another in the near future, possibly at Barleymash. It sounds like we both go there often.
There was no exchange of numbers, so I would say no. I think we were both expecting someone different. However, seeing as how we both frequent many of the same places, I am sure that I will run into her again.
At the mid-date break, Vicky and Jeff were smorgas-bored with each other. But by the time their desserts had settled, the night started cooking, and their nightcap simmered into slow dancing at Starlite. What a tasty turnaround: from “not my flavor” to an acquired taste in three courses.
Vicky said Jeff was too quiet; he said she didn’t listen. So the kiss at the restaurant and in the limo was a surprisingly sweet twist to a date that had begun on a somewhat sour note. For this Dining Issue blind date, however, we had hoped for a happier, spicier ending - like spooning (or forking) after the meal. Buon Appetito!
3175 India St., Middletown