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Cafes

Eat This Now: Churros at Churros Calientes

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Fri, May 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen

We love Salina's Churro Truck and Mr. Churro and other wonderful places that offer Mexican-style churros, but every once in a while, our sweet tooth gets a hankering for the type of churros you'd find served in parts of Spain and Venezuela. These are a smaller, a bit more delicate and airy than their Mexican counterpart, with a thinner, crispier fried coating sprinkled only with sugar and often served alongside a little cup of thick dipping chocolate. In other words, this a breakfast date with yourself and the paper (print edition) as opposed to a curbside snack.

Until now, finding these churros outside of a restaurant setting was difficult (and no, Xooro, the Wetzel's Pretzels of churros, doesn't really count). We were very excited, then, when we found Churros Calientes, a tiny Madrid-inspired café squished next to the Royal Theater on Santa Monica, that serves exactly that: piping hot churros.

There are more options for your churro here than most places have for their frozen yogurt. The classic, of course, is the churros con chocolate, but you also can have your churros topped or stuffed with all sorts of sweet things like guava, dulce de leche and condensed milk. Alternatively, you can have a churro in a specific size: "largos" or "grande," which we can only presume is something akin to a Disneyland-size churro that you grab to munch on while you're in line for the Indiana Jones ride.

The churros are fried to order, so when they're ready, they come out fresh and hot. Six long, skinny cords of fried dough, dusted with sugar and tangled amongst themselves, some peeking out from the top of the paper cone basket, are set on the table along with a small cup of orange-infused water. If you ordered the dipping chocolate, the chocolate is served as it should be, in a little demitasse cup of thick hot chocolate, melted from organic cacao beans. The helpful person behind the counter told us that next time we can even ask for the chocolate to be a little thicker, if that's what we would prefer.

Next time, probably. But this time, it was delicious the way it was. Dipping a churro into the cup and letting the chocolate cling to the churro's grooves the way a thick marinara grabs hold of ridged penne, the fried dough had a satisfying crunch. With the bittersweet chocolate, this was exactly what we were looking for to satisfy our craving.

Churros Calientes also offers an appropriate coffee menu to go with your churros. This may also be one of the very few places in the city to get an authentic Spanish cortado.

Gustavo Dudamel apparently stopped by the café a few months ago and autographed a menu. We have no idea whether the discovery of a great churreria in L.A. was music to his ears, but it is to ours.

click to enlarge A basket full of churros and a cortado - T. NGUYEN
  • T. Nguyen
  • A basket full of churros and a cortado

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