Churros and Dodgers ––his winning combination on wheels

Carlos Pavon next to his ‘bochito’. / Photos: Mey Lyn Mitteenn.

If you like churros and consider yourself a Dodgers fan, you are in the right place. There is a Latino business in Los Angeles that combines both and, better yet, is completely mobile. Yes, you read that right! The business is not located inside a building but rather inside a vintage car. You can easily find it if you take the 251 Metro bus and get off at the Cypress/Alice bus stop, in Cypress Park. It’s only a block and a half away

I’m talking about Churros el Bochito [Bochito means “bug” in Spanish], a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle painted blue and white that sports a custom-made stove that churns out perfectly-golden sugary churros for adoring fans all over Los Angeles.

“Our customers like the flavor, but they also come to take a picture with the bug,” says Carlos Pavon, owner of the business who has combined his knowledge of this very particular dessert with his love for the Dodgers, a team he has followed since the 1980s. It was around this time that he began following Mexican baseball pitcher Fernando ‘El Toro’ Valenzuela. He is such a fan of the retired No. 34 jersey that there is a photograph of him on the bug.

Today, more and more people know about this business through the magic of social media, but it wasn’t easy at first. “I started selling churros in a lunch box in South Central LA in 2019, but it didn’t stand out,” says Carlos, 49.

One day, he saw an advertisement selling a bochito. The original owner no longer wanted it because the convertible part was damaged, but Carlos saw an opportunity. He bought it, spray painted it blue and white and put it next to his lunch box. Still, nothing happened. Business was not picking up.

The ‘bochito’ looked like this when Carlos sprayed painted the car. / Photo: courtesy of Churros el Bochito.

Then the pandemic hit and the Ave 26 Night Market, where he was selling his churros, closed. “It was bad, but we had to keep going,” says Carlos, who is a husband, father of three, and grandfather. “On one occasion, it occurred to me to put a grill inside the bug and I realized that people began to notice the bochito.”

He decided to take out a loan and had a professional paint his VW Beetle. In addition, he paid to install a custom-made kitchen inside the car, so that he would have all the necessary equipment to sell his churros — a fried puff pastry that has been around his entire life.

When Carlos was still living in Almoloya del Río, State of Mexico, he saw one of his uncles prepare churros with a wooden stick that he later sold in a basket at a tianguis [flea market]. Carlos says he found it easy to make and the churros tasted good, but he felt something was missing.

“When I decided to make churros in Los Angeles, my son told me: “Pa, the person who is going to buy the churros you make has to finish and say they want another one.” This is how, after two years of experimenting and ‘spoiling’ dough, they managed to find the recipe they were looking for. Today, the product is fried at 350 degrees and is the crispiest thing you can taste.

Next, Carlos needed to start promoting his business.

Drizzled churros. / Photo” courtesy of Churros el Bochito.

In 2022, he and his son recorded Churros el Bochito cruising along the recently re-opened 6th Street Bridge. The images they posted on social media went viral. “That gave us the opportunity for people to see us and that’s when I started getting more clients,” recalls Carlos.

Visitors to the business find a varied menu. Customers can choose traditional churros rolled in sugar with cinnamon or churros filled with cajeta, nutella, strawberry, chocolate, or condensed milk. The best-selling item is the churro with ice cream that comes topped with whipped cream.

After leaving Market 26, the business was located for a short time on Pasadena Avenue and seven months ago, Carlos finally found a more stable spot on Cypress Avenue. However, being on wheels gave Carlos the opportunity to also do catering. So far, he’s supplied churros to schools, corporate celebrations, weddings, quinceañeros, and even a cemetery. “The person who died was a Dodgers fan and the family called us because they wanted to have a potluck. When I arrived, the grave was festooned with blue and white flowers and everyone was wearing something representative of the baseball team.”

Dodger fever is present everywhere. And while some clients crave churros because of the aroma, others arrive with their Dodgers caps and shirts to take pictures with the characteristic bug to post on social media.

People have started to recognize Churros el Bochito on the streets. “Once, I was on my way to a catering event in Corona and the bochito stopped in the middle of the freeway… [a] Highway Patrol officer helped me push it out of the freeway and later, he told me that he really liked the Beetle. I think people see it and find it cute. They get excited, they take pictures of it and some drivers wave at me when I drive the car through the city,” says Carlos with a big smile.

 

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are now first in the National League West and Carlos has faith that if they keep up that pace, the team has a good chance of making the playoffs and who knows… maybe winning the World Series again.

Carlos, who says that his clients arrive on foot, by car and by bus –– a mode of transportation he used for five years when he arrived in Los Angeles –– invites the community to visit him. “Come, you’re going to leave happy with a tasty dessert and good photos.”

Churros el Bochito is located at 1157 Cypress Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90065 Monday through Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

 

Categories: Transportation News

1 reply

  1. It’s inspiring to see how creative Carlos is. He not only re-purposed the buggy but also spent years perfecting the churro recipe. Very cool!