From La Jolla with love: Author writes about his intrigue with San Diego’s ‘main attraction’
by Claire Harlin
Published - 10/14/10 - 06:00 AM | 7901 views | 2 2 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Palm trees are jostled during a storm at La Jolla Cove. Photos courtesy of Paul Burlingame
To Olivier Dalle, La Jolla is somewhat of a paradoxical place.

“It’s a place that is so wealthy and so elegant, but it also feels like home,” Dalle said of La Jolla, which he profiles in his new book “La Jolla/92037.”

Dalle will discuss and sign the release today at Warwick’s, located at 7812 Girard Ave. The book is the first of a series of coffee-table books written by Dalle and photographed by Paul Burlingame, chronicling different ZIP codes in the San Diego region.

Dalle, a French professor at Palomar College, fell in love with La Jolla when he moved from Paris to the Windansea area seven years ago. He spent four years researching the community, meeting notable La Jollans and experiencing local businesses and landmarks. The final product is a series of photos, facts and 37 poetry-like tales bound by a single black cover and adorned with a delicate lavender-colored skyline of rooftops and palm trees.

The number “37” is inscribed on the left corner, representing not only the last digits of La Jolla’s ZIP code but the average age of people living in the community. This statistic, like many others used in Dalle’s book, was collected from

He tells the story of Peter Schumaker, owner of the Brick & Bell Café, who came to La Jolla from Germany as a soccer coach in the 1980s and ended up running one of the community’s busiest eateries, which he opens at 4 a.m. to serve strong coffee to the area’s most serious bankers.

Dalle writes about La Jollans and their cars — from classic ones as old as the 1930s to the luxury sports cars sold in the Village. He chronicles a successful realtor who’s been blind for four decades and interviews the “surfing pioneers” of Windansea. He mentions Bird Rock’s mysterious Maitre D’ restaurant, located at 5523 La Jolla Blvd., which he calls “one of the best-kept secrets of San Diego,” and highlights Pannikin Coffee & Tea, a place where he said he feels at home — where “people seem to come right from bed to the café.”

Amanda Morrow, one of Pannikin’s owners, said she loves the way Dalle uses statistics to make his book unique, with several pages that tell stories through numbers.

“It’s not just pretty photos,” said Morrow, who will help host a book-signing reception for Dalle at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15. There will be music and sangria, and since Pannikin has been a part of La Jolla since 1968, Morrow said the location for the 92037-inspired event is more than fitting.

Since the book is about local neighborhoods, the author decided to keep the offering exclusive to local, non-chain bookstores. It’s available at Warwick’s and D.G. Wills Books, located at 7461 Girard Ave.

Dalle has two more books on the way, which will highlight the community of Hillcrest and city of Tijuana, Mexico.

“San Diego is not just San Diego,” said Dalle. “It’s a metropolitan area including Tijuana.”

He considers La Jolla to be “the main attraction of San Diego,” yet interestingly contradictive.

“There’s a weirdness of living in a place that’s like paradise,” said Dalle, who has traveled much of the world and published several books about Cairo and Beirut. “Everything seems perfect, and it is perfect. But it’s also a crazy place. People have this craziness in them.”

But he doesn’t mean “crazy” in a derogatory way. For people living in La Jolla, Dalle said, “its so nice — where can you go after that?

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July 06, 2012
"The Pannikin is an uber-cool Coffee & Tea house in the upscale beach town of La Jolla, California..." --Tommy O'Pepper
October 22, 2010
Loved this article!!
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