By John Grossi | Photo by Monique Kuhlman
It was New Year’s Eve in 2008. Katie went to dinner with some friends and then decided to go out to Sachi Nightclub, which used to be attached to the Seaport Marina Hotel at 2nd and PCH. At the time, Katie lived in the College Estates neighborhood with some roommates. Sachi was one of the few nightclubs they knew in Long Beach and they decided to try it out for New Year’s Eve.
George lived in Arcadia and was single for the first time in six years. When one of his best friends said he was going to Downtown Disney for New Year’s Eve, George decided to reach out to some other friends to perhaps latch onto a more exciting plan; those other friends were going to Long Beach.
As Katie puts it, “We were the two tallest people in the club. We sort of naturally locked eyes and started dancing and talking to each other.” George bought Katie a drink… the two ended up sharing a New Year’s kiss. And when Katie slipped down the stairs as they were leaving, George was there to catch her! The two exchanged numbers before parting ways..
The First Date
The next week, George drove down to Long Beach to take Katie on a date. Katie remembers laughing when the 6-ft 7-in man pulled up to her house in a tiny Hyundai Elantra. As she watched from her window, his legs rolled out of the car and he came to pick her up at the door. They went to Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach. They sat at the bar and talked the whole evening. Katie was very nervous that he might not like the regular non-nightclub version of her (she seriously exaggerated how much she liked watching football that night… which is not-at-all); and was happily surprised at how well they got along.
The Rest is History...
15 years later, Katie and George Balderas own a home in College Estates, just a few streets over from where George picked up Katie on that first date. They have two kids, ages 3 and 7, and now enjoy going on outings with their kids, especially ones that involve discovering the best playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants in Long Beach. Funny enough, Katie and George still go to their first date spot regularly these days… although it is much more fitting for their current lifestyle. Sachi Nightclub is now a Whole Foods!
Date Ideas from Katie and George
• Go watch Knyght Ryder play at the Gaslamp on a Friday night. Eat, drink, and dance!
• Have dinner at Marri’s Pizza.
• Explore hole-in-the-wall places in the WHOLE city not just 2nd Street.