When the Gonzales family opened Ciro’s in 1972, not only was it a struggle to find traditional Mexican ingredients, but also to find traditional Mexican cooking equipment.
In Mexico, flautas are cooked in a cazo—a wide-brimmed sauce pot generally made from copper—filled with oil, but Oscar Gonzalez’s parents were faced with buying an expensive deep fryer, which doesn’t cook the same. Their solution in order to make their Ciudad Juarez-style flautas was to cut them in half and pan-fry the individual taquitos and just lay them out on the plate in a line to make one long, broken flauta. Add some beans and rice for the working families of Boyle Heights and that’s how one of L.A. most iconic Mexican-American dishes was born.
Today, Ciro’s still makes delicious food with many flavors and plates from the Chihuahuan border city with some of the Mexican-American touches that are beloved by locals. On weekends there’s a waiting list at this cash only institution personally attended by Gonzalez, whose level of service and attention would put most fine dining establishments in the city to shame. There are many great dishes like cocido (beef stew), machaca mixed with eggs (Cd. Juarez style), steak picado, chile verde, and of course the legendary flautas.
The flautas are filled with beef or chicken (or get both) then bathed in a tomato sauce and covered with thick guacamole and sour cream. Shredded lettuce with a shot of vinegar adds the finishing touch of a regional style of corn tortilla flautas, only cut into smaller taquitos due to the width of the frying pan—a tradition that Ciro’s is keeping. The guacamole is thicker than it is in Ciudad Juarez because that’s the way people like it here in Boyle Heights, and the beans and rice were added to make sure hard working and hungry locals went home with a full stomach.
Flautas are antojitos served at cenadurias, fondas and street stands in Mexico for a light meal—some vegetables and sauce to eat with your deep fried masa flutes, but at Boyle Height’s Ciro’s it’s Mexican-American hospitality.
Ciro’s, 705 N Evergreen Ave., Boyle Heights, (323) 269-5104