Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 3), we'll be bringing you periodic lists of some of the best things we've found to eat and drink around town. Ice cream sandwiches and bowls of tsukemen, fish tacos and dan dan mien, cups of boba and glasses of booze. Read on.
Cro(ugh)nuts may be the dessert of the moment, but churros are the dessert of so many L.A. moments, the sort of treat that may be informed by memory as much as taste: You may fondly remember munching on a churro as long as a light saber at Disneyland, or going to a swap meet with your mom and being rewarded for good behavior with a freshly fried churro. There are great churros in pretty much every part of the city, some doughy, some delicate, some filled, some not. Turn the page for seven of our favorites.
7. Mr. Churro
Getting to Mr. Churro might be as fun as actually getting a churro at Mr. Churro: The bakery is located inside a building on Olvera Street, meaning you'll walk past vendors selling all sorts of tantalizing things -- lucha libra masks, miniature guitars, cowboy hats -- as you make you way there. When you arrive, adults and children alike will be walking out with fistfuls of fantastic churros, some simply rolled in sugar and cinnamon, others filled with custard or caramel. It makes for a great snack as you browse the street's wares, and at least one is mandatory if you're ever here to watch the Archbishop of Los Angeles splash holy water on a goat during the annual Blessing of the Animals. E-12 Olvera St., L.A.; (213) 680-9036.
Lucero Bakery might be the only place in town where a churro price sheet greets you at the counter: One plain churro is a mere 40 cents, two will run you 80 cents, three $1.20, and so on with this multiplication table of fried dough until you hit 50+ churros, at which point a bulk discount rate applies. And if you've never considered bringing a box of 50 or 100 churros to your next party, surely you will after handing over your pocket change to try one: This would be a thick, doughy churro, hefty without being heavy, exactly the kind of gift that a frazzled party host would appreciate. Speaking of which, Lucero's is something of a one-stop shop: The bakery also makes a fine tres leches cake. 4061 Slauson Ave., Maywood; (323) 583-7730.
Mama Churros y Mas is in El Sereno, a little shop that still somehow has enough room for a handful of tables and chairs and a piano, the latter of which to distract you, presumably, while you're waiting for churros that are fried to order. Here, as elsewhere, there's a choice of any number of fillings or, because everything is better with ice cream, you can order the churros à la mode. If you want to eat something substantial before indulging in fried dough and ice cream, note that "y Mas" translates to fried chicken and the occasional fish and chips special. 4836 Huntington Dr. S., L.A.; (323) 225-6262.
See also: 10 Best Fish & Chips in Los Angeles
For years, Salina's was a warm fixture in Echo Park, selling churros and funnel cakes out of a truck usually parked somewhere right off of Sunset Boulevard. The truck moved to El Sereno not too long ago; you can find it in front of the parking lot for a Food 4 Less. The location is pretty much the only thing that has changed: These are still the same great freshly fried churros you had before catching a show at the The Echo, served piping hot and dressed with strawberry jam and condensed milk if you so desire. Or, consider the truck's special of eight churros for three dollars: That would be one way to satisfy a family van full of hungry shoppers for less than a gallon of gas. 4910 Huntington Dr. N., L.A.
To the so many reasons to visit La Casita Mexicana -- the mole! The chiles en nogada! The chilaquiles! -- add one more: The churros con cajeta! These might be the best churros you can get in the formality of a restaurant setting, and these alone are worth the drive to the restaurant in Bell. Each order includes eight small, three-bite-sized churros, and while the dough here is fine enough, it's the delicious filling -- a subtly sweet caramel sauce made with goat's milk -- that's icing on (or, as it were, inside) the cake. Giada de Laurentiis says it's one of the best things she's ever eaten, but these need no celebrity endorsement. 4030 Gage Ave., Bell; (323) 773-1898.
If you've been longing for the type of churro you may have had on a post-college tour through Spain, you'll find them at Churros Calientes, a cozy shop located next to Laemmle's Royal Theater in West L.A. Where Mexican churros can be doughy, thick and crunchy, these Spanish versions are delicate, thin and crispy. You can get them topped or filled with, say, a guava or a strawberry sauce, but, really, your best bet is to go the purist's route and order the churros con chocolate: A bouquet of churros dusted simply with organic sugar will arrive in a small basket, along with a small cup of thick chocolate for dipping. It's about as perfect as a pre- or post-movie snack as there is. 11521 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; (424) 248-3890.
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1. Churros Jalisco
There are any number of reasons why you might want to take a trip down to Vernon and spend a few hours taking in the Alameda Swap Meet. To browse a choice selection of cowboy boots, say. To go shopping for various kitchen gadgets. Or, right, to eat the food. Of course, this includes churros: There are a few vendors who offer the sweet treat here, but your best bet probably is to seek out Churros Jalisco, where the churros are fried fresh and piled, tangled and twisting, on a sheet pan, then rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Like a bag of popcorn during the next installment of The Hunger Games, a bag of churros here at this swap meet is absolutely mandatory. 4501 S. Alameda St., Vernon.
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