My Lunch at Flautas (and Your First Look at the Inside of Jamie & Ramiro’s Mexicano)
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with food courts, a passion that dates back to my childhood. So I was excited to hear the news that the famous chefs behind La Casita Mexicana in Bell have just opened a new food court concept called Flautas in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall. Like 101 Noodle Express in the Fox Hills Mall or Loteria’s Torta Company in Fig At 7th, it’s just the latest development in a food court renaissance that has been sweeping through Southern California malls over the past few years.
The menu features 9 different flautas, a long fried thing that you probably know as a taquito. Each comes rolled with a different filling (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or fish) before being fried and topped with a variety of sauces, salsas and/or toppings. They range from the basic, which comes with a tomato salsa sauce, crema, tomato, onions and cotija cheese, to more complicated creations featuring a habanero chili sauce, a creamy chipotle sauce, and the chef’s famous mole poblano.
Each individual flauta costs $3, but you get a discount for ordering multiples (2 for $5.50, 3 for $7.50). The bad news is you only get the discount if you order multiples of the same one, so if you’re looking for a variety be prepared to walk away with 2 or 3 separate plastic packages each with a single flauta inside. (Traditionally these are served as a street food snack, not necessarily an entire meal.)
In addition to the flautas, there are also toto-chips (aka nachos) with toppings like beans, cheese, chorizo, guacamole, pickled carrots and jalapeños, plus a pretty delicious esquites, the off the cob roasted corn snack with crema, cotija cheese, and chile powder, and aguas frescas.
If you’ve ever been to La Casita Mexicana, then you can pretty much guess how awesome everything tastes. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares against Panda Express, and evolves into a concept that could be rolled (no pun intended) out to malls all over the country. For example, having photos of every flauta on the menu is not something they originally planned.
As for their brand new full service restaurant Mexicano, opening in the same mall, it looks like our long wait is finally over.
The interior looks completely done (and pretty beautiful for a mall restaurant.)
And yesterday, both chef’s were in the kitchen making food for a photo shoot.
According to the mall’s website they’re opening this Friday, Feb. 6th, but one of the guys behind the counter at Flautas told us that this weekend is just a soft opening for friends and family and the real grand opening is beginning of next week. Either way it’s a great and exciting new addition to the center of town, one that will likely introduce a lot more people to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall.
This meal was not hosted, I don’t know the chefs personally, and the photos of Mexicano were taken creepily through a window inside the mall.
Flautas/Mexicano, 3650 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd