One of my friends from college recently made the big move to Los Angeles, and she’s basically become my hetero life partner. She lives only a couple miles away, she’s one of my few single friends who’s always available for activities (yes, we ARE building bunk beds so we have more room), and she’s cool and smart and funny and shit. What up, Cate? I just raved about you on the internet. Congrats.
Cate, excited about coming to the land of supposedly great Mexican food and eager to shove her face into it, suggested we start hitting up taco places around LA every week to determine where has THE BEST TACOS, and I was like, “Well, yeah.” Tacos are pretty great on most days, but especially on Tuesdays, for a lot of restaurants do Taco Tuesday specials. And so it was settled.
Our journey began a few weeks ago and she kept going “you should blog about this” but I was doubtful. Yelp exists, after all. But a Facebook post inspired me to try it so here I am, letting you join us via your imagination on our most recent Taco Tuesday journey!
The places we’d tried so far were nothing noteworthy, so for this one we decided to follow I Love You, Man‘s lead. You remember that scene in the movie where Jason Segel promises Paul Rudd he will have the best fish tacos of his life and then they go to a restaurant, get drunk and rave over the amazingness of them? Well that place is real, it’s in Venice Beach, and it’s called James Beach. Because why not name yourself a beach when you’re a restaurant? Fuck it, that’s what I say. We wanted to determine if those fish tacos really are the tits, as Sydney Fife promised.
So we get to the place and I instantly bleat out a “OH YEAH, I TOTALLY RECOGNIZE THE OUTSIDE OF THIS PLACE FROM THE MOVIE WHEN SYDNEY FIFE MAKES PETER KLAVEN NOT DRIVE HOME CUZ HE’S TOO DRUNK LOL.” Why not start off our experience obnoxiously?
We make our entrance and it’s all pretty lights and nice white tablecloths and beachside charm. I like it! There’s a pink glow in the room, and who can resist that? Not me. This is a classy establishment, and I’m not being sarcastic for once. Well, there are swimming trunks hanging from the ceilings, but hey.
A hostess who clearly models in her spare time seats us at a hightop table.
(Did you know that to get a serving/bartending/hosting job in LA you have to apply with a fucking headshot and an actual resume? What do you even write on that shit? “I have plenty of experience carrying trays and delivering food to people. I have done so much side work you can’t even handle it. I’m pretty enough to work in your establishment, probably. Might need some implants, but the rest should be okay.” I mean Jesus. Get a life, LA. )
The Taco Tuesday “special” is actually a $15 platter of grilled mahi mahi fish tacos, marked down from $19 for the occasion. It’s my opinion that a Taco Tuesday deal should consist of a la carte tacos in the $1-$3 range, but who am I to argue with an establishment that a movie told me has the best fish tacos I’ll ever taste?
But screw that for a minute, the first order of business is obviously going to be the margarita situation. Cate and I both decide on the Jalapeno Margarita. Fuck off if you don’t like pink, because even our drink is pink! Our very nice, helpful waiter tells us that’s the result of the prickly pear puree they put in there. We didn’t even ask. Maybe he’s fighting an internal battle everyday about why he’s working at a place where he’s bathed in pink at every turn. Or maybe he’s proud of it.
In lieu of the standard chips & salsa that a lot of places offer, James Beach gives you a plate of random vegetables. I have no idea what those white things are. Parsnips? What the fuck is a parsnip anyway? Jicama? That’s just a damn fun word to say.
The fish tacos come out quickly, and it looks all fancy and pretty. The tortillas are flour, which I love but Cate doesn’t, and come on the side, with the fish, guacamole, salsa and beans on the plate. So you have to assemble your tacos yourself like some sort of goddamn plebeian. The fish is grilled pretty perfectly, but the seasoning is lacking some much needed acidity. Can I get a few squirts of lemon juice on this shit? Something? That’s pretty much my only complaint taste-wise, though.
They did not knock our socks off and leave us gasping for air in ecstasy, which is what I usually look for in a good meal, but they are a solid contender in our list so far. It also would have been nice if they offered a fried option, because as wonderful as grilled fish tacos are, frying the hell out of anything is most of the time going to taste even better. Calling them the Best Fish Tacos in LA was a total oversell, and now I know that Hollywood lies. BUT STILL. They were good and I would recommend them for a perfectly swell taco experience. And don’t forget the Jalapeno Margarita. Fuck, this sounds like a Yelp review. Fart.
On the way out, we saw an older man at the bar pretending to blow another old man at the bar, which is now my most recommended way to end a dinner. I like my tacos with a side of sexy.