an ode to Flacos

Oh Flacos.  What did I do before there was Flacos?  Seriously, I can’t recall, but I will glady continue to ¡Feed La Revolución!™

I have mentioned this establishment many-a time before but it was about time I dedicated a full post to the love that is their “Authentic Vegetarian Comida Mexicana.”  Oh, mi gusta mucho – no, te QUIERO mucho.  Si, es verdad.


But wait — how did Flacos begin? I think they explain it best.
“The idea for FLACOS came about in 2000. Every time I went to a Mexican restaurant, the only item I could order from the menu was the, “Vegetarian Burrito” without cheese and sour cream. That got boring, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and took the advice of friends (Allison, Joe, Sara, Ben and Nigel) who knew that I loved to create delicious vegan meals said to make and sell the food myself. So I did!

In the Fall of 2001 was when, “FLACOS”, debuted at the Berkeley Farmers Market. I remembered some of the favorite foods I used to eat growing up when my sister (Arlene) and I would help our mom make homemade tortillas. I remember my mom roasting the chiles in the morning for a sauce to make tamales the next day. I asked my mom for the recipes that my grandmother had passed unto her and replaced all the animal ingredients with vegetarian based substitutes. Working thru countless nights and armed with two fresh pots of tamales for the masses, Carlos and I fed the few people who showed up to try this new idea of, “Vegan Mexican Food” on a cold Saturday morning.”
And so it began…  And we are forever thankful.

To a certain extent I’ll say that now that Flacos Anon meets quite regularly, I feel a bit bad for the staff.  Antonio and Donny, who you will see most often there, are finally, how you say, getting used to us?  Consensus says that if they don’t see us coming, they can always hear us coming as we exit the Flacos Shuttle (aka my 92 Camry) and make our way inside.

(interior photo “borrowed” from their Facebook page)

Margarita, center, who I thank for my addiction, put it best when she said, “It’s the only thing that can get this noisy group to shut up for a moment. It gets really quiet the moment the food arrives.”

important things first (how cats drink water video)
(it was really important that we of Flacos Anon first partook of a video on how cats drink water prior to consumption – left to right: Jami, Margarita, first-timer Erin)

It was Erin’s birthday, so not only was it her first time at Flacos, she got a FREE birthday plate!  Antonio, Donny, look for me on August 23rd!
Erin's FIRST plate ever :)

Also: it was Erin’s first time having taquitos ever.  “Mexican food and my childhood did not intersect at all, unless you count those taco shells that you buy at the grocery store which we slathered with salsa that was not much more spicy than ketchup,” Erin said.  “Moving to California has been a revelation.”

Jami was probably just as pleased as Margarita and myself that we were able to share in Erin’s Flacos-virginity-loss-party. “It’s ridiculously good, and not just because it’s the only vegan taqueria I’ve ever been to. TAQUITOS PLZ!!!”
You betcha, Jami.

happy plates

This is the one picture I got before we fell silent – save the happy wiggly dances we all did whilst eating.

My favorites are the banana leaf (soy and gluten-free) tamale and the taquitos, but I won’t turn down the tacos or pozole either!  Larissa, who is a Flacos Anon member but could not make this trip, is not a vegan, but remarked that on her first trip, she thought she was eating meat, “but in reality I had not contributed to the torture of a sweet (smarter than my doggie) little pink snouted creature!” Oh Larissa. We love your honesty in that if Flacos cooked for you daily, you would be insta-vegan. To be honest, the first time I had a tamale and a taco, I thought it was pork – Margarita was definitely weirded out too – but the assurance that it was vegan blew me away.  Where has this food been my entire life?  Honestly, even ignorant teenage me would’ve considered vegan life then and there.

QUICK EDIT:  I forgot to add — I have had great success in taking advantage of their half-dozen deals on taquitos, also offered on the tamales.  If you buy five the sixth one is free!  They re-heat quite well – at around 300F till hot.   I’ve been bringing them home with a big container of the hot avocado salsa for my beloved mister and he has fallen for Flacos too — via take-out.  Now that’s some power!

Make sure while you’re there you grab either some homemade horchata or agua fresca and a pan dulce for later!

(pan dulce image also “borrowed” from Facebook – the orange were special edition from when Los Gigantes were making their World Series run.)

Flacos is located at 3031 Adeline St., Berkeley CA 94703, open Tuesday through Saturday 12-9pm.  It’s right by the Marmot building that looks like it was ripped from next to Disneyland’s Matterhorn.  You can also catch them at all three Berkeley Farmer’s Market locations.


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