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70 and Sunny: Denny and Aleksandar

Two San Diegans, decades apart, talk about their favorite restaurants and being outside

By Erica Nichols

Denny Stoufer, 74, retired ocean lifeguard, Oceanside

What’s your favorite restaurant?

There’s this small Mexican café called Cafe Rosarita off Oceanside Boulevard. It’s family run, and we’ve gotten to know them over the years. They’re really great and so is the food.

Does the ocean ever get old?

I’ve always been a bit of a water baby; but surfing was my main addiction. There were recent years when I thought there were just too many surfers in North County and maybe it was time to stop. But the hook is in too deep. I’ll keep surfing until I can’t anymore. 

What about it is so addicting?

I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one thing. It’s in nature, and nature, in a lot of ways, can be very spiritual if you just slow down and pay attention. There’s also a camaraderie because you usually surf with a crew of people. For the past ten years, every time I go out to surf, I just say “thank you” because I get to do it again.

Do you miss being a lifeguard?

I still work part-time for the California State Parks, which I worked for as a lifeguard for Torrey Pines all the way up to Carlsbad State Beach. I’m a background investigator, so I essentially screen people who are looking to do what I did to make sure they’re the right fit. 

Are you ever out of the water?

I practice and teach yoga, too. But mainly I’m somewhere outside. In my career and even now it’s important to me to be outside, doing something positive, and helping people.

Aleksandar Petrovic, 10, future businessman, Vista

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I have to say In-N-Out—I get a Triple-Triple with extra spread and a Coca-Cola.

What’s better: being inside or being outside?

Inside is boring—I’m not really a video games guy. I like to be outside and play tennis or take my electric scooter down to BMW to look at the cars. When we’re not working the farmers’ markets, my mom and I like to go to the Alta Vista Botanical Garden to check out all the flowers; my favorites are plumerias.

What do you do at the farmers’ market?

We run a crepe booth. My mom makes them and I help run the cash register. I even get to keep the tips!

Any advice on getting tips?

Maybe I’ll compliment someone and say, “Hey, I like your watch,” or they’ll compliment me first and then we strike up a conversation while they wait for their food. That usually works.

You sound like you’ll be a good salesman.

It’d be cool to open up my own sports car dealership one day. Or maybe a flower shop.

What are your favorite kinds of cars?

So long as it’s fast and sporty, I’m game for driving anything, anywhere.

70 and Sunny: Denny and Alex

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