Recipes of the Unfortunate: Hotdog Taquitos (Tacos Dorados)

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Part of a series where individuals share their stories of misfortune and the recipes that got them through.

THE CHEF

Carlos Garcia, Shipping Manager, Downtown Los Angeles

THE UNFORTUNATE STORY

I was a high school fullback at Cerritos Hills High School — Second-team, All-State. For our division’s championship game, I scored a two-yard touchdown to seal the victory. It was only my third carry of the season, but it was a big one. I remember all my teammates chanting, “Chalu-u-u-u-p-a-a! Chalu-u-u-pa!” They called me Chalupa because I was a little bit thicker and tougher than the others.

Fullbacks aren’t used much in football today. I had some pretty good tape, but I didn’t get any scholarship offers out of high school, and none of the teams at my local colleges used fullbacks in their offensive schemes.

I decided to skip college because my mom needed help paying the bills. Today, I work in the wholesale fashion district in downtown Los Angeles. I’m in charge of shipping and returns. It takes some strength to ship a bunch of boxes all day. That’s where my athleticism comes in handy.

Growing up, my mom would make this hotdog recipe for us as a special treat. I thought this was just something our family made with whatever was around — it’s a poor man’s taco — but I found out many other Mexican-American families enjoyed it too. To me, a hotdog is a collection of all the pieces people wanted to throw away. That’s who I am –– I’m a hotdog, and I’m OK with that.

Hanging up the cleats.

THE RECIPE

Serves 4–6

INGREDIENTS

•20 hotdogs (*vegans can use non-meat sausages)
•20 corn tortillas
•canola or vegetable oil
•salsa, ketchup, and/or mustard as dipping sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Lightly toast tortillas on each side above an open stove flame.
  2. Wrap hotdogs in tortillas, and use a wooden toothpick to hold tortilla wrapped around the wieners. Set aside.
  3. Heat canola or vegetable oil in pan on a medium-high heat. There should be enough oil to submerge a quarter or so of the hotdogs.
  4. Once oil is hot, add hot dogs wrapped in tortillas to pan.
  5. Flipping and rolling when need be, fry the dogs in the pan until each tortilla is a crispy golden brown on all sides. Remove toothpicks to fry the top part last.
  6. Transfer taqiutos to paper towel when done to soak up excess oil.
  7. Serve with salsa, ketchup, and/or mustard

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