It’s almost impossible to live in Southern California and not become a true aficionado of Mexican food. Here in Santa Monica, we have Casa Martin, a fabulous restaurant with a menu based on authentic Jalisco style Mexican food.
Three Martin brothers: Orlando, Sandro and Fernando were born in Mexico and raised right here in Santa Monica. They attended local Santa Monica schools (Edison, John Adams, Santa Monica High, Santa Monica College) and love to bring the traditional dishes of their native region in Mexico to Santa Monica.
The Martin brothers are from Tepatitlan, a town near Guadalajara nicknamed “Tepa” It is a pork-producing area and as such, some of the best dishes on the Casa Martin menu are pork based. Fernando Martin recently told me about one of the dishes that Casa Martin is becoming best known for: A traditional dish from Tepatitlan Jalisco Mexico that his mother made.
It’s my Mom’s secret recipe called Mar Cielo Tiera Molcajete, which indicates sky, land, and sea. It contains a slice of chicken (sky – even though they don’t fly)” says Fernando with a laugh, “steak (land), Chorizo (pork – land), and shrimp (sea). It also contains a slice of cactus (very traditional plant in Tepatitlan that has the same texture as a bell pepper, but not the same flavor), cheese, Tomato, and Cilantro, accompanied with beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, and handmade corn tortillas or flour tortillas.
It’s cooked and served in a hot bowl carved from lava rock, which is a variation on traditional clay pot cooking. Casa Martin has great happy hours Monday through Thursdays and have $6 house margaritas and $2 tacos. Another great feature in Santa Monica? They have a parking lot! You can see more delicious food on their online menu and learn more about the restaurant by checking out their website.
And what goes perfectly with great Mexican food? Great tequila! Here are 10 that you should know about.
Casa Martin is at 1654 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica. Open daily at 11 a.m., close at 10 p.m. Su-Thu, and 11 p.m. Fr/Sa. Lot or street parking available, wheelchair access OK, full bar, children welcome. 310-663-1732.