This L.A. food trailer is making perfect, golden flautas
For Steven Orozco Torres, owner of Los Dorados L.A., it was love at first bite. After tasting his father-in-law’s tacos dorados at a family party, he knew he wanted to make them himself.
“He was making these flautas in a big charola and I said, ‘Oh, my God, we have to get these out.’”
Torres, who was bartending at the time, got his chance in the summer of 2019, when a taquero didn’t show up in front of the Holiday Bar in Boyle Heights.
“We took their spot, and that was it,” he said.
I first heard about the Los Dorados flautas from the Los Angeles-based food and news website L.A. Taco. If you haven’t checked the site out yet, I recommend you do as soon as possible. If there is a taco that needs to be consumed in the Los Angeles area, it’s been written about, and most likely discovered, by L.A. Taco.
Torres, who started frying flautas at a makeshift stand under a tent, eventually upgraded to a small truck and now has a large trailer. And he’s been making the same four flautas since the beginning: chicken, lamb barbacoa, chorizo and potato.
The flautas come two to an order ($6), each plump with filling and as long as your forearm. The lamb barbacoa is made using a family recipe that Torres’ father-in-law learned to make in his hometown of Texcoco, Mexico. It’s steamed and roasted, which Torres says helps eliminate any gaminess. The meat is succulent, fatty and fortifying and almost melts into the crisp shell.
The chicken filling is a densely layered chicken tinga that starts with fresh chicken stock with lots of onions and garlic and chipotle. The chicken is cooked until it pulls apart and the strands are practically engorged with the rich broth and smoky chipotle flavors.
Then there’s the potato flauta, made with soft mashed potatoes. The filling is simple but takes on a creamy, almost cheesy quality after a dip in the fryer. Torres also makes a chorizo con papa flauta with house-made chorizo that he dry-ages for a while before mixing it with the potato.
After failing to find the perfect tortilla at various markets, he decided to develop his own.
“Usually when you see flautas — some people call them tacos dorados, or rolled tacos — it’s usually a thicker tortilla that absorbs a lot of oil,” he said. “The tortillas we make in-house are special tortillas for frying.”
Torres isn’t sharing any details about their composition but he did say that his tortillas are lower in moisture, which cuts down on oil absorption. They’re crisp and flaky but don’t fall apart, and they have a deep corn flavor that works to accentuate all the fillings.
The flautas are fried to order, and each one gets a stripe of both salsa de verde guacamole and crema, a zigzag of red salsa and a sprinkle of cotija cheese.
The green salsa has a guacamole base, giving it a thicker consistency that clings to the flautas. It’s tart and vibrant, tinged with tomatillos and chile peppers. And Torres says he uses just enough of his secret red salsa to add a punch of heat.
If you want to try the flautas, you’ll have to track them down on Instagram @losdoradosla. Torres isn’t planning to open a bricks-and-mortar anytime soon, if ever.
“I really love the feel of the truck, being out in different locations and having people come out,” he said. “There’s something special about being in the street serving food, and I think I’ll keep that going for a long time.”
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