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    Marty’s Chili Nights in Indian Lake

    So Herman and I were trying to figure out what to do one Saturday evening and he suggested we try a new restaurant. Seems he was looking through the yellow page listings of restaurants and saw one for a Mexican in Indian Lake.

    Now, you need to know Herman and I really like Mexican food. And let’s not forget, I lived many years in Southern California where Mexican food is like Italian food is in our neck of the woods.

    There were literally great taco stands all over Southern California. Herman and I went to one such stand across from USC where the staff didn’t speak any English. Needless to say, what we got from the menu was somewhat of a surprise. We had to point to what we wanted to order. Fortunately, they had pictures of each dish on the wall.

    We first contacted Marty’s through their Web site, www.chilinights.com , asking about access. Nancy, one of the proprietors, got back to us very quickly to let us know we could enter through the back door where there was no step.

    From the moment we came in, it was like being at a totally Mexican restaurant. They weren’t just putting a few Mexican dishes on a dinner menu. The music was an actual authentic Mexican FM radio station brought in digitally and the décor was all Mexican as well.

    Having worked in many restaurants in Southern California, I was looking forward to introducing Herman to some native Mexican beer, specifically Dos Equis (pronounced “dossekki”), which is as popular in California as Budweiser is here. Herman tried it in amber and liked it a lot.

    I, of course, started with Guacamole and warm tortilla chips. Herman got into it as well with nachos and a combination dinner plate. I went for the black bean quesadilla, which was fabulous as well as huge.

    Herman and I both brought leftovers home with us since we left enough room for fried ice cream. It was about an hour trip to get there, but we both agreed it was well worth the trip.

    Nancy and Walt run the place, which used to belong to Walt’s father, named Marty, for whom the restaurant is named. There were pictures on the wall dating back to the 1930s with the structure which is now Marty’s, though I don’t think his father took it over until the 1970s.

    Nancy told us she and Walt wanted to have something different, and they gradually changed the mostly bar patrons to mostly restaurant patrons. The recipes are a result of her research and trial and error and they’ve been at it here for about ten years.

    The experience for both Herman and I was great. I didn’t mind the drive at all, though I am the passenger. Directions, hours and menu are all on the Web site. If you don’t have computer access, their number is 648-5832. Bueno!

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com