Churro – Mexican fried dough on Olvera Street

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It is true that there are a number of places I could choose to experience a churro; Disneyland, any number of street festivals, or even the occasional mall kiosk. But I was headed to Los Angeles anyway and what better place is there for the quintessential tube of Mexican fried dough than Olvera Street? This historical village consists of a small marketplace, restaurants, and strolling musicians. One of America’s oldest landmarks, some buildings within Olvera Street, date back to the 1780s.  Wandering the plaza, visitors are subjected to an expanse of color in the bouganvilla-dripping pueblos, the bright fiesta colors painted on maracas and sombreros, and the aromas of spicy frijoles or chips and salsa waft through the air.

A distant mariachi band’s high-pitched wail rang in my ears as I searched out Mr. Churros. Tucked in a small alcove, off the main drag, lied the rather dingy, unremarkable room. To my immediate left I could witness the production area; the extruder through which the magical wands of dough were passed, the deep fryer, and the large tray of cinnamon-sugar. As you walk in, why lies directly in front is a service counter with ice cream selections (ice cream? What for?), the cash register, and a selection of ready-made, already sugared treats. I asked to have mine freshly dipped and the the guy behind the counter was more than amenable in granting my request.

He asked if I wanted mine filled and we chatted for a bit. “What is traditional?” I queried. In Mexico, he informed, the Dulce de Leche is the most popular, but they also offer custard or strawberry. I wanted to taste pure, unadulterated dough, but he gladly obliged a small taste of his favorite, the Dulce de Leche as a dipping sauce. Not exactly traditional to not have it filled within the hexagonal spear of sweetness, but it did allow me a taste of the richly sweet sauce.

The churro on its own was quite good; firm to the tooth with a nice crunchy exterior with most of its hollow interior rimmed with a bit of tender sweet dough. The two-foot tube of dough had a nice flavor although it was a bit too sweet for me, with the Dulce de Leche providing an even more substantial tooth-achingly painful experience. An entire churro filled with Ducle de Leche would have been far too sweet for me and considering I had already eaten a malasada and four other gourmet doughnuts that morning, it should be no surprise that I only indulged a bite or two of this tasting. In retrospect, it was not the most memorable fried dough of my extensive Los Angeles excursion, but rather blasé in comparison.

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