It is a truth universally acknowledged that lobster rolls taste better when consumed at sunset on the Malibu coast.
After a day that started at 8 a.m. with Georgia and Oklahoma press conferences, my Sports Capital Journalism Program colleague Alaa Abdeldaiem and I finished our first stories with enough time to squeeze in a surfside sunset supper (which is great motivation for writing quickly, by the way — you should try it sometime).
Nestled beneath a heat lamp (ooh, 60 degrees, so cold!) as the sun sets over the crashing Southern California swells, Alaa, our professor Malcolm Moran and I savor seafood at Gladstones, our conversation punctuated by seagull squawks, as we linger over the last rays of light leaving the contiguous 48 states.
“We’re literally the last corner of the country to see the sunset,” Alaa says as I bite into the buttered-and-breaded banquet.
She captures a 27-second time lapse on her iPhone, propped against a salt shaker, condensing nearly an hour of vibrant colors and swooping seagulls to less than half a minute.
Though we polished off our plates long ago, we’re looking for excuses to linger as the sun sinks slowly toward the horizon.
Fortunately, there’s a sweet solution.
“Would you like any dessert this evening?” our server asks.
We shrug at one another, not wanting to abandon the spectacle in front of us. He grabs three menus.
We linger over the cakes, creams, and tarts for a good five minutes, aiming to savor the sunset a few seconds longer. But he returns all too soon.
“We’re still thinking,” Malcolm says.
“We could think about it — for 10 more minutes,” Alaa suggests, giving the sun just enough time to set.
But we surrender to the sweets — mountains of berry-topped sorbet scoops for Alaa and Malcolm (the menu lied about the “light” part), and a pillowy slice of graham cracker-crusted vanilla cheesecake for me.
At the end of our post-deadline feast, we lament that we don’t have any leftovers because it means we won’t leave with one of the restaurant’s famous aluminum-foil dolphin or swordfish containers — hand-shaped by servers on the spot — encasing tomorrow’s dinner.
“We could order another entree. . .” Malcolm suggests, only half-joking.
But we return to the rental car, forsaking sunset and surf for streetlights and stars.
The crawl along the freeway back to Los Angeles takes nearly an hour, but it’s worth it. After all, there could be worse scenery than Malibu Bay and California Boulevard, brake lights bouncing off rows of beach houses, and Taco Bells in beachside cantinas (“That’s the strangest Taco Bell I’ve ever seen in my life,” Alaa says).
Flying down the freeway past the Hollywood sign, sandwiched between mountains and the ocean, in temperatures closer to the SPF on my sunscreen than Indy’s ridiculous face-numbingness. . .
Don’t be surprised if I “lose” my return plane ticket.
You’ll know where to find me.
By Sarah Bahr | @smbahr14