Taco Sampler at Mission Cantina in Hollywood & The Museum of Death

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

Typically – I’m not a big fan of Mexican restaurants.  I don’t eat meat & I find that pretty limiting with most Mexican menus.  The shrimp dishes can either be way too buttery or fatty or whatever – or downright funky.  Bay shrimp?  Who the fuck eats – if any other choice is available – BAY shrimp????  They sell them at Gel$on’$ and I am always tempted to wait there and watch & see who the these weirdos are that buy them – and then ask WHY.  Anyway – at Mexican restaurants, I tend to fill up on chips & beer (and the inevitable seafood tacos) & leave feeling vaguely cheated but stuffed to bursting.  If I’m gonna be forced to eat fish or shrimp tacos (because ordering a quesadilla in a restaurant is tantamount to ordering a PB&J sandwich) – I prefer to go to little taco stands that seem to deal with these things with more authenticity & flavor – and they don’t load you up with lard-based refried beans & rice – and they are usually very cheap.

So – the other day when my boyfriend requested a Mexican lunch – I had to give in & take him to a local restaurant – rather than one of the many far more colorful stands around Hollywood.  Why?  Because my guy likes his beer and those taco stands never serve alcohol.  OK, so fine.  A restaurant.  Mexican.  Open at noon.  NOT El Coyote – with the worst food on earth.  Not an icky Acapulco-type chain.  Hmmmm.

I settled on one that is very close to where I live, opened fairly early & had beer – the Mission Cantina.  There was one parking meter on the entire block – and it was available!  OK – that’s a good sign.  We stepped inside & it was bright & cheery – which I like – and we were the only ones in there.  We sat at the bar & ordered beers.

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The beer was a Craftsman 1903 Ale – made right in Pasadena & it was awesome!  The bar is wide & welcoming & the bartender was super friendly.  There is outdoor seating – just as an FYI – but the interior is so pleasant – I recommend it highly.  Chips & a really great salsa were placed before us as we perused the menu.  There was a $12 taco sampler – so we chose to split that.  I got a fish taco & their verduras (veggie) taco.  Miles got the carne asada, carnitas & the highly recommended (by the bartender) – beef barbacoa.

When the tacos arrived, they were served with a selection of pickled things:

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These tacos were clean & light & I suggest you try them.  If you really love tacos – try Mission Cantina’s Taco Tuesdays – with $1 tacos all the live-long day!!!  That is an awesome deal.

We left Mission Cantina satisfied but not needing the naps that are so often the case after eating exhausting Mexican meals – so we decided to drop into the nearby Museum of Death – just a few blocks away to kill some time.  🙂

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Free parking in the rear…

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There is a really spooky old trailer back there – no explanation.

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Predictably, no photography is allowed in the Museum of Death.  The museum tour begins with a gallery of art created by famous serial killers as well as some background on the more famous ones (Ed Gein, Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy – etc) & rare documents.  Then a few novelties – like a mummified head of guillotine victim (a convicted serial killer) – the crime scene & autopsy photos from the Manson-Tate murders, Victorian post-mortem dead baby portraits & generally just a lot of stuff you’ve probably seen (or seen similar) if you have had any kind of history of a fixation with the morbid (as I have).  Footage of an autopsy proved too gross to watch.

The most compelling collection in house was a series of photos depicting a nude wife holding her dead husband (killed at the hands of her boyfriend – also depicted but not nude, I don’t think) – and the progressive dismembering of said husband & then the loving portraits of his severed head with his severed foot in his mouth – and then with his severed hand putting his severed penis in his own mouth.  The photos are from the seventies – shot (hilariously to me) on a 110 camera.  I think only subject matter as unusual as a party-style mutilation could really distract you from the other novelties in the images – her vintage, 1970’s winter bush & tiny, seventies natural bud-like breasts.   Oh – and her wickedly smiling face as she poses – nude & squatted – with the castrated torso of her late husband.  It seems this naked butcher had a pal at a Fotomat or something but she didn’t realize that the developing & printing process involved more than one employee.  I’m not sure why she thought even her own mother would look at the developed photos & not turn her in – but the stranger involved in the photo processing did just that.  Thank heavens – or I never would have gotten to digest fish tacos looking up into the neck hole of a beheaded man.

As an aside – I worked at a little Fotomat-esque storefront in high school & routinely stole the embarrassing images from the stuff that came through.  The shop was near Boston College & I have a lot of nudes & images of men’s penises & mooning arses etc – all typically a result of the pyramids of empty beer cans college kids seem to enjoy building so much.  So – if you went to BC around 1981-83 – and had a tendency to nude up for the camera at keggers – I might have some things that would interest you.

The Holocaust got surprisingly little coverage – too obvious perhaps?  Overexposed?  Who knows?  I think it is a gross oversight because the Holocaust has more horror to offer than the combined elements of the entire rest of the museum.  But maybe that’s just me.  Anyway – Heaven’s Gate & Jim Jones get some exposure.  Jayne Mansfield’s dead & taxidermied chihuahua is in the collection along with a series of stuffed albino animals & some jarred animal “abominations” of the two-headed or 9-legged variety.

All in all – it was worth the $15 each, I’d say, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone.  Mission Cantina & Taco Tuesdays, on the other hand – I recommend without reservation!

4 thoughts on “Taco Sampler at Mission Cantina in Hollywood & The Museum of Death

  1. Pingback: Beer Drinking Woman! And Seafood Three Ways – Birds, Dillon’s & Franklin & Co – All in Hollywood | Delightful-Delicious-Delovely

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  3. Pingback: BEER! And other lunch items at Spitz, 3 Dog Cantina, Mission Cantina & Golden Road Pub – in & around Hollywood, California | Delightful-Delicious-Delovely

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