Smaller, thinner and more delicate than their Mexican counterparts, Spanish-style churros aren't easy to find in Los Angeles. Done as well as the ones at Churros Calientes, they're not easy to find anywhere. Modeled after the cafés of Madrid, the minuscule shop next to the Royal Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard boasts baskets of petite churros, still hot from the deep fryer. They can be topped or filled with chocolate, strawberry, guava, condensed milk or dulce de leche (cajeta by any other name …), though it's the churros con chocolate that get the most attention. They look plain enough, sprinkled with only a light coating of sugar, but they come with a demitasse dipping cup of thick, dark, hot chocolate. Sweet and earthy, it wrings every last drop of bitterness from the organic cacao. The thick chocolate clings to the churros' crisp ridges, a perfect pairing of dough and sugar. 11521 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica. (424) 248-3890,

—Elina Shatkin

LA Weekly