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Los Dogis Is Officially Next-Level: Sinaloa-Style Hot Dogs Have Arrived on the Streets of Boyle Heights

1:00 AM PDT on September 24, 2018

    [dropcap size=big]'I[/dropcap]n Guasave, Sinaloa, when you’re eating hot dogs in the street, they greet you with a cup of beans.” And so will Carolina Castro at Los Dogis, L.A.’s first ever Sinaloa-style hot dog stand in Boyle Heights.

    Those hot dogs will also be wrapped with bacon, might have some crushed cheddar-flavored Ruffles, will be topped with salsa Mexicana (what many other states call pico de gallo salsa), avocado, grilled onions, and a chile toreado — a jalapeño that has been seared and meant to be eaten in big bites.

    Photos by Javier Cabral.

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his next-level Mexican way of consuming a mundane hot dog left a lifelong impression on Castro since she got to visit Guasave 18 years ago. She told her best friend and now business partner of Los Dogis, Cecilia Maya, about it too, and she was intrigued. The two have been friends since they were teenagers growing up in the Wyvernwood apartment complex just a block away from the unassuming hot dog stand in front of a Bank of America ATM.

    While they both went on with their lives — Castro working full-time as a server at places like La Fonda, Mariscos 4 Vientos, and now at Tropicana Bakery in Downey and Maya working in the steel industry — they never stopped thinking about those Sinaloan hot dogs. When they couldn’t find that Sinaloa sazón anywhere in L.A.’s diverse hot dog’s universe, they decided to go DIY and make it themselves. “We just said ‘Fuck it, let’s go get a cart.’”

    The Dogis cart.

    Maya had always been a fan Carolina’s home cooking, so she knew she could do it.

    “I really believed in her as a cook, not just because I was her friend but because she is good at it!” Maya says. Castro is self-taught and says that she taught herself to cook once she got married after meeting her husband.

    The grill sat in their house for months but three weeks ago, it was time.

    “I just had to put myself out there, I have a really hard time getting started but then I’m fine,” Castro admits as she gets hit with a rush of customers at 11:30 pm. So far with just three weeks open, according to Castro and Maya, it’s been crazy busy. With their limited funds, they’ve been selling about a hundred smothered dogs every time they open. For now, they’re only out weekend nights, since they both still have their day jobs.

    RELATED: How Los Angeles Helped Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs Win a James Beard Award

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he menu is small and effective. Their top-seller is “El Guasavense,” named and inspired by that legendary hot dog vendor in Guasave. It has salsa Mexicana, cabbage, avocado slices, crushed ruffles, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, a cilantro dressing and a chipotle dressing that they make for the hot dogs, charred onion, and jalapeños.

    Another beast of a dog named “El Ocorito” after another city in Sinaloa that is Castro’s homage to an all-American chili-cheese dog, except it’s mashed up frijoles puercos instead of chili. And then there’s a a slightly lighter “El Uruapan” with a makeshift smashed avocado with minced serrano chile, grilled onions, and chiles toreados.

    All of the hot dogs are served with your choice of crispy steak fries or some really good totopos (corn chips) or if you ask really nicely, a scoop of cold macaroni salad, which is a staple dish for a lot of Mexican-American households.

    The entrepreneurs both realize that the hot dog stand is a temporary step in their business. They plan on buying food trucks as soon as they get the capital and break into L.A.’s booming catering industry once they get the experience.

    Note the crushed Ruffles.

    For now, the two childhood friends are having the time of their lives bumping Sinaloan folk anthems by El Fantasma and Grupo Codiciado while spoiling the raza of Boyle Heights and other lucky eastsiders who are driving by and can’t resist the smell bacon and sizzling jalapeños.

    Los Dogis crew.

    Los Dogis set up on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights from 7 PM to midnight near the corner of Soto and Olympic (in front of the Bank of America).


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