The Unmassacred Churro 

Fried-dough dessert is best at its plainest

Tuesday, Jun 16 2009

Dear Mr. Gold:

Maybe I’ve missed something, but I haven’t found a place in Los Angeles where I can enjoy airy, crispy churros that you dip in hot, thick dark chocolate in the morning or for merienda cena. And I’m not talking about the one that is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar — talk about a massacre. If I am able to find these churros in Manila, they have to exist in L.A.!

—Marco, L.A.

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Dear Marco:

I know what you mean. I love Mexican churros, especially freshly fried ones injected with a deadly-hot dose of cajeta, but the warm tangles of fried dough served with chocolate in the morning at every Madrid café are remarkably compelling, difficult to find outside the Iberian peninsula. (The best churros, in my experience, have a plainness to them that few American chefs are daring enough to attempt.) Xooro, the aspiring churro chain with a store in Santa Monica, has fine hot chocolate, and claims to be inspired by the Spanish model, but its filled, dipped churros are more like Mexican churros reinterpreted as high-end doughnuts. Literati in Brentwood used to serve churros with chocolate that were tasty, but as ornamented as a Belgian waffle. The original incarnation of Señor Fred, in Sherman Oaks, served a reliably Spanish version of churros and chocolate, although it has recently tended more toward the Mexican side.

But Cobras & Matadors has always served churros and chocolate for dessert — not thrilling, but correct. And the plate of churros and chocolate at Three Drunken Goats, owned by the former Cobras & Matadors chef, is a compelling reason to drive to Montrose — the tapas and the Spanish wine list aren’t bad, either.

Cobras & Matadors: 4655 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., (323) 669-3922; 7615 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (323) 932-617.

Three Drunken Goats: 2256 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, (818) 249-9950.

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