Fiesta Martin Mexican Grill in Inglewood, Ca

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

I hate the airport.  Going to the airport in LA – for me (and likely you, too) – means that I am about to face too many hours hours in a too-small seat with too little to do, read, eat & drink and that I am likely to do these things to the dulcet tones of screaming babies.  Or – it means (half the time) that I am dropping someone off – someone I am sad to see going.  Today – it was the latter.  Today – I dropped off my boyfriend at the end of his Thanksgiving visit so he could head home to Little Rock.  😦

One thing that has made the airport run business more fun, though, has been seeking out little restaurant gems down in that neighborhood – areas I typically only ever drive through (over) on the freeway.  It was an airport run that helped me discover the INCREDIBLE soul food dished up at  The Serving Spoon and the awesomeness that is Pepy’s Galley (A diner AND a bowling alley?  Hey, what the…?).  Today resulted in another incredible find.

Let me introduce you to Fiesta Martin!!!  Mexican food, really good Mexican food, is abundant in Los Angeles.  I can’t believe I let myself squander decades pacified by adequate-at-best Mexican joynts like El Coyote, Mexico City & Mexicali – places that left me saying, “Ooof, OK.  Fine,” with disappointment and some irritation any time anyone insisted we go Mexican for dinner.

Tacos Delta in Silverlake always stood out as the best of what I’d experienced but lately – it seems amazing taco stands & trucks & shacks are popping up everywhere & dishing out incredibly fresh & clean Mexican fare.

Fiesta Martin is a full-blown restaurant with a decent selection of beer & margarita’s – one served with a mini bottle of Corona upended in it like this (images pilfered from Yelp):

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I’m not sure what a margarita tastes like with a mini-beer poured into it & I was unable to sample one today – but they sure look cool.  And check out the festive interior there:

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It would appear they do a $1 Taco Tuesdays thing – which it seems everyone is doing lately.  These never work for me because I do not eat meat or chicken & these $1 taco days always exclude the fish & vegetarian tacos.  But full price tacos are $2 – so what the fuck?  I can swing that.

Today I ordered both the shrimp & fish tacos (soft tacos) and a crunchy potato taco.  Miles, my boyfriend, ordered a chicken quesadilla.  I’d love to show you a picture of him enjoying his traditional Bud Lite & his massive quesadilla – but he isn’t one to be happily photographed.  So – I will just show you how he looked as we waited outside the vet for my pug, Memphis’, nail trimming appointment.

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Aren’t they a cute pair?  Miles looks distinctly suspicious & Memphis looks a bit concerned – but everything, I am happy to report, turned out delightfully there.

While we waited for our food, a huge basket of hot corn chips was delivered along with a salsa that was spiced to perfection.  Then the food came.  Miles’ quesadilla – huge and THICK with cheese & chicken:

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And my three tacos:

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also HUGE (on full-size corn tortillas) and outrageously good.  The two seafood tacos had battered & deep fried seafood in them & were doused with pico de gallo, Mexican crema & thinly shredded cabbage.  The potato taco was simpler with a crunchy taco casing & simply tomato, cabbage & shredded cheese on top with what seemed to be steamed, sliced potato inside.  I am a huge fan of the potato tacos at Senor Fish and the potato taco here was no match for those but, in fairness, it was no match for the two incredible fish tacos that I tried before it, either.  I’m not sure I’d be so impressed with the Senor Fish potato tacos either – if I tried them right after a few bites of a Fiesta Martin shrimp taco.

The other impressive thing about Fiesta Martin is the pricing.  Miles’ quesadilla was $5.99, my tacos were about $2 each and beers were $2.99.  Our bill came to $25 with three beers & a diet Coke on the tab.  Ridiculous!  Just awesome!

While there – I checked in on FourSquare & noticed that someone had mentioned giving the art by the front door a close inspection.  From where I sat in the back, they looked like standard sorta fantasy portraits of old men.  Up close – they are much more.  Take a peek:

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At any rate – our experience here was pure pleasure.  Some folks on Yelp mentioned this place used to have bad service – but that is no longer the case.  Cheerful ladies tended to us very carefully.  The place is lively with all its traditional decoration & music & everything looks very clean.  Yelpers complained the taco bar on Tuesdays can get crazy – but I cannot comment on that.  What I can say is that this place is CHEAP and delicious & I wish it was MUCH closer to my house because I would eat there on a weekly basis.  I recommend it VERY highly as a stop for anyone on the way to drop off a traveler at LAX – especially if that traveler prefers to travel well-fed & content.

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