Sunday, August 3, 2008

Xooro: The First Gourmet Churro Bakery

Chocolate and chopped nut covered peanut butter filled churro

Churros are close to my heart. Not because I frequent Costco and get those large great-value ones from the hot food concession stand, but because I have lived in Spain twice, and churros are something I remember fondly. A night out might go like this: I'd be with my friends at a discoteca, sometimes till 6 or 7 in the morning, and we would finish the night (morning, really) at a churro shop, where we'd dine on churros dunked in a mug of thick hot chocolate. This habitual act is famously known as churros con chocolate.

But it's been a couple of years since I've had this, and so when I received the July 11th Daily Candy for Los Angeles and realized churros could be had in my own metropolis, I first did a double take, and then forwarded the newsletter to a bunch of friends.

Xooro is a gourmet churro bakery that just opened in Santa Monica. While its flavor options are far from anything you'll ever see at a churreria in Spain, that is no complaint from me. In fact, I am thrilled to have this place open in my area. Last night, I finally had a chance to experience the goods with some pals, and our sentiments were unanimous: we love Xooro. Here's why...

Original cinnamon-covered churro with dulce de leche filling

First, the owners are an adorable couple from Bilbao, Spain. They are filled with enthusiasm and warmth. I am so happy to see that an authentic Spanish team is running the shop, not some venture capitalists or other ambitious businessmen who know nothing about churros. And these owners are great listeners. They want to see their place thrive and they paid attention to our thoughts, flavor requests, and expressions. I wouldn't be surprised if one of my flavor requests ended up on the menu in the near future.

Original cinnamon-covered churro with vanilla filling

Second, the flavor options are spectacular. There is plenty of variety, and so much creativity. Because I went with three friends, I had a chance to taste a couple of flavors. One was The Mississippi, a peanut butter filled, chocolate and chopped nut covered churro. Fabulous! Another was filled with dulce de leche and covered with goat's milk. Also amazing. If you don't want the fanciness of one of their pre-designed flavor combos, you can build your own, taking an Original (cinnamon covered) and requesting the filling of your choice. There are a lot of fillings, including hazelnut, cappuccino, vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, dulce de leche, and more.

Goat's milk covered churro with dulce de leche filling

A look inside of the goat's milk covered churro with dulce de leche filling

My friend Tzviah leaving evidence behind

Third, the quality and value proposition are there. For $4.20, you get a churro that's probably about 6 inches long, thick, filled with gooey goodness, and drenched in a coating of chocolate. I read a lot of really mean, and frankly outrageous reviews of Xooro on Yelp. Many Yelpers complain of the high price tag for a small churro. But at a restaurant, you could easily pay $8 for a dessert of this kind and caliber. At Xooro, if you order a hot chocolate with your churro, your entire bill is still under $8. And let's not forget, you just got a taste of Spain brought to you by actual Spaniards. As far as the churro being too small, what a ridiculous claim. Just because it's not Costco-size doesn't mean it's small, and honestly, you wouldn't want more than what they give you because it's rich, and you should fill up on their amazing Mexican hot chocolate, not another 6 inches of churro. I thought we had all learned our lesson from Super Size Me. Go rent it again.

Mexican hot chocolate

I'll admit, Xooro could work a little on the ambiance since the space is a bit plain for gussied up L.A., and I'd appreciate it if they pumped the smell of churros into the room so that I'm drooling over my churro long before I place my order. But these are small sacrifices to make for the honor of living near churros con chocolate of the most gourmet kind, I dare say, in the world? Where else can you get chocolate and chopped nut covered peanut butter churros? Now if Madrid could just hear that and open a gourmet churreria, I don't think the 6 a.m. rush would be exclusively post-discoteca partiers anymore.

125 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
between 2nd Street and Ocean Avenue
(310) 260-2919


Anonymous said...

Wow. That looks really good. They should open a store in Washington DC.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh... I can imagine that those are so rich and delicious! Craving one now!

Anonymous said...

I love this place!
My favorite is THE ORIGINAL with all the fillings!
Great food blog Marni.

Anonymous said...

Those look so delicious! I wish they were located in the Bay Area. I guess I need to make a culinary tour to LA soon!

Unknown said...

They were so yummy, esp. the goat milk with dulce de leche. And i'm a hand model in the vanilla creme pic!

Pamela Fox said...

yay, spain discotecas! the cinnamon with vanilla filling looks really good, reminds me of those pasteis do belem.

Marni said...

justin - you should write them and request it! they have press contacts on their site

kristen - i could go for another right about now, too...

carol - i do love the original. and i have yet to try so many of the filling options.

joyce - great idea. so you can expand your dessert-hopping from cupcakes, to donuts, to churros!

beth - you make a lovely hand model.

pamela - you're right, come to think of it. like a trip to lisbon...maybe similar origins, perhaps??

Anonymous said...

muchas gracias!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gawd! FILLED churros!! Whoa, I am so there on my next trip to Santa Monica. Talk about the breakfast of champions. ;)

Unknown said...

Marni, I've been looking for you! I want to invite you to our grand opening, please send me your email.



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