Tortilla Tuesday: Flour Tortillas at Rubalcava's Market AKA Best Flour Tortillas in Southern California

rubalcava_tortillas.jpg
Rubalcava's wonders

In the borderlands, a flour tortilla is sacramental, holy, filling, the true daily bread: fluffy, filling, thick, pliable, toothsome love. In Southern California? Universally, shit.

I've eaten tortillas my entire life, and the flour versions have only been consumed out of necessity for quesadillas (due to their large size) and for burritos (for the obvious reasons); other than that, there's no reason for them. I've eaten flour tortillas made in San Diego, made in Los Angeles, made in Orange County, and none were memorable, most the same: tepid, thin discs better as Frisbees than for day-to-day consumption.

No bias on my part: while I do prefer corn to flour, I do know the magic of a great flour tortilla--the only flour tortillas my family will devour are the ones that whatever tía or tío made the last trek to Juarez or Tucson, and stocked up on hundreds, to dole out to the rest of the family. Here? Crap. That's why, whenever someone asked me where to get good flour tortillas in Orange County, I'd tell them there was no place--because there wasn't.

Until now. Ladies and germs: behold the best flour tortillas in Southern California, made by special request at Rubalcava's in Placentia.

About once a month, I trek up there to partake of Roland Rubalcava's awesome Sunday Primo-Mex secret menu: gargantuan Sonoran dogs, mac'n'cheese spiked with Sriracha, and other goodies. This past Sunday, Rubalcava surprised me with caldo de queso, that wondrous soup from Sonora that's soup stock, a hunk of queso Sonora, potatoes, and nothing else. Rubalcava played with tradition by switching queso menonita for the Sonora and adding a couple of chicken chicharrones, to accentuate the comforting sweetness of the broth--absolutely spectacular.

And then he brought out the flour tortillas.

Rubalcava's doesn't make their own tortillas, getting them from their cousins over at La Reina Tortilleria, which makes great corn tortillas but not flour. But Roland is a stickler for tradition, and eating corn tortillas with caldo de queso is like eating pho with a baguette. So he made a batch for the occasion, adding he's thinking of selling them in packs later this year.

Here are the tortillas of Sonora: thick, buttery, powdery, able to maintain their structural integrity in the cauldron that is the caldo de sopa, toasted perfectly with brown char marks that bring out the flour's slight sweetness. I rolled them up, and they didn't tear; I bit into them, and I had visions of a space coyote--they're THAT good.

But the true test awaited the following day: could they stand a reheating?

I stupidly had two folded in a to-go box, so they were a bit warped when I put them on the comal; didn't matter. Once heated, they unfolded like a blooming rose, retained the same revelatory greatness from when I first ate them. I have found my flour savior!

Grade: A+, the first tortillas in OC ever to get such a grade from our ruthless critics. Not only are these spectacular, but they get the plus for being able to elevate such a neglected art form in these parts.

 Rubalcava said he learned the recipe from a family friend who, unsurprisingly, hails from Sonora. I'm telling you, folks: you should not accept flour tortillas not cooked by someone with connections to the borderlands, and Roland makes the real deal. Interested? Call in advance, as Rubalcava will only make them fresh. Order a dozen, enjoy them, and enjoy in the greatest Mexican accomplishment Orange County has produced since the Reconquista.

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Location Info

Venue

Map

Rubalcava’s

506 W. Chapman Ave., Placentia, CA

Category: Restaurant

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17 comments
DanGarion
DanGarion

I just caught up on my reader feed. Thank you Gustavo for finally answering this question!

reviews2
reviews2

Hope they start selling these.

nina.vitalrenewal
nina.vitalrenewal

If you ever find yourself in Moreno Valley, go to Chuyitashands down the best southeast of Placentia, apparently

LeilaD
LeilaD

Love this article! Took my mom to go have the caldo on Sunday and she loved it (y es Sonorense!). Different of course from traditional caldo de queso, but that's what Roland does. We even brought Roland a pack of tortillas de harina, straight from Cananea, Sonora. Glad we're getting some recognition! We heard we just missed you on Sunday.

Borntorun77
Borntorun77

@GustavoArellano Are there tables to sit down or is this a to-go sort of place? Do they serve the tortillas everyday or just Sundays?

Chicano_Soul
Chicano_Soul

@GustavoArellano My grandma is from El Paso. She makes the flour tortillas real thick. Warm tortillas w/ butter? #Fugedaboutit

nicolesantacruz
nicolesantacruz

@GustavoArellano I'm from Tucson and have been trying to find a good flour tortilla. Thanks for this!!

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano

@Borntorun77 Read the story! Tortillas by ordering ahead only!

liburychica
liburychica

@GustavoArellano Mmmm my dads from Houston and makes em like my grandma! Then makes burritos de papa con chorizo! @chicano_soul

SCsparky
SCsparky

I posted a few years back on Chowhound, and none of those places had good flour tortillas. Im from a small town near Tucson, used to my mom making flour tortillas. Even buying them wasnt good enough, though ive managed throughout the years to find quality flour tortillas to buy.

Except here. I've been here for 8 years, and still haven't found a good tortilla. I live in San Clemente, so Rublacavas is a drive, but I'm gonna make the ride because if they're that good, you'll be in my tortilla hall of fame for finding the only restaurant in OC has edible flour tortillas. Ill post again after I go, thanks Gustavo!

Andrew

foxflores
foxflores

@liburychica @GustavoArellano @Chicano_Soul Now Im hungry like a Mexican! Mmmmm

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