You won't hear lispy Castellano Spanish spoken at the newly opened Churros Calientes in West L.A., but the Iberian-influenced café serves one of Spain's favorite snacks: fried churros with cups of thick, intensely cocoa-flavored hot chocolate.
Unlike Mexican-style churros--coated with cinnamon sugar and all crunch--the crispy ridges of the Spanish variety give way to soft, chewy dough in the center.
Churros Calientes' namesake sweet can be had filled or topped with dulce de leche and other sauces, but we prefer to pretend we're in Barcelona, opting for the granja standard of unadorned churros and chocolate ($5 for both). With a texture leaning more toward hot fudge than Swiss Miss, the chocolate will cling to the channels of the churro, easily adding another layer of richness and flavor to the fried dough with just a quick dunk.
If you're in search of a buzz beyond what the chocolate provides, there's plenty of coffee and tea to be had, including a few drinks that reflect both owner Sandro Finoglio's and chef Eric Bonillo's (formerly of Drago Centro) Venezuelan upbringings. Marroncito, for example, is a macchiato by way of Caracas.
And to say that the mate tea ($4) served at Churros Calientes is "as addictive as crack" is not exactly hyperbole--the mate de coca tea bags served here include a touch of coca leaf.
Churros Calientes, 11521 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.; churroscalientes.com
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