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Churros Are Having a Moment

Churros are experiencing a surge in popularity. Here’s where you can get your own bite of this sugary favorite, from the perfected classic to 2024’s must-try modern twists.


Made-to-order churros are served with vanilla bean ice cream at Javier's in Irvine and Newport Beach. Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Culture OC
 

Churros: They’re sweet, chewy, rich delights; pastries made from dough piped or stretched long, then fried and swathed in sugar and other popular ingredients like cinnamon.


According to HistoryCooperative.org, “The origin of churros can be traced to the Moors who brought a dish by the name of tueles to the Spanish territories. After a slow start, the Spanish cuisine adopted the Moorish dish and incorporated their own elements like additional sugar or chocolate, naming it churros. Due to the colonial influence of the Spaniards, the dish spread across the world rather quickly.” 


Though debates persist on the treat’s origins, one thing is clear: This beloved dessert staple has been around for centuries and is popular worldwide.


Today, Latin America has especially embraced the churro, particularly Mexico, and it has become a beloved cultural favorite in the region. In the U.S., you can find churros everywhere from traditional Mexican restaurants to amusement parks, street fairs and fine dining.


Here are some of our favorite churros in Orange County:


For LOVERS OF the Classic Churro


Churrería el Moro has 15 stores in Mexico. The location at the Mercado González Northgate Market in Costa Mesa is the first outpost in the United States and as the long lines there attest, their churros make it one of the most popular stalls at the market. Photo courtesy of Churrería el Moro
Churrería el Moro

Located at the bustling Mercado González Northgate Market in Costa Mesa, Churrería el Moro specializes in the classic cinnamon-sugar churro. Add your own custom flair with your choice of a variety of delicious dips to complement your churro or moritos (mini churro bites), from cajeta (caramelized milk) to chocolate hazelnut. Honor your churro with a beverage from the generous drink menu, from hot or cold chocolate made with organic cocoa in different styles to a fun blended frappé to the signature churro iced latte.   


Where: 2300 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa

Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Cost: $2.50-$25


The giant spiral “El Tradicional" churro from Don Churros Gomez. Photo courtesy of @memosmuchies
Don Churros Gomez 

Don Churros Gomez serves churros made from scratch according to a 50-plus year-old family tradition originating in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. In 2018, co-owners Jaime and Ricky Gomez brought their recipes to Anaheim. Don Churros Gomez has quickly become a local favorite, appearing on “The Food Network,” “Good Day L.A.,” and even attracting the attention of Disneyland Resort for cast member entertainment. Don Churros offers a live, “open concept” experience with nightly music, lights, and a churro-crafting show, attracting customers from across Southern California.


Don Churros Gomez churros are naturally vegan and contain no cholesterol, trans or saturated fat. A house specialty is the churro grueso (dubbed the “Don Churro”) which hails exclusively from Jalisco. This churro is crispy on the outside with a distinctly doughy inside. Pair it with a scratch-made abuelita (a cinnamon-sugar hot chocolate) or order the not-so-secret show-stopping "Churro Know" combo: a churro, ice cream and Jalisco cajeta inside a split open "Don Churro." Or, choose the giant spiral churro you’ll have to see to believe.


Where: 1440 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim 

Hours: 5-10:30 p.m. Thursdays; 5-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 4:30-10:30 p.m. 

Sundays 

Cost: $3.25.-$16.95

Contact: 714-717-7946 or donchurrosgomez.com


Made-to-order churros are served with vanilla bean ice cream and a berry garnish at Javier's in Irvine and Newport Beach. Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Culture OC
Javier's

Javier's at the Irvine Spectrum Center keeps it simple yet succulent with classically made churros. (A second Orange County location in Newport Beach is temporarily closed according to their website.)


At Javier’s, each churro is made fresh-to-order. To attain that anticipated crisp, chewy heights, process is key. According to Chef Rosendo Espionza, Javier’s chefs “must be precise when the churros are being made. The batter must get warm during the (dough-making process in order for the resulting churro to attain its signature crispiness post-fry). This process is the most important step in making the churros.”


And it pays off. The resulting churro is a delightfully warm, melt-in-your-mouth, crispy indulgence which you’ll find studded with fresh berries and garnished with creamy vanilla bean ice cream.


Where: 536 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and Sundays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays 

Cost: $16

Contact: 949-872-2101 or javiers-cantina.com


For the Modernist Foodie


“Oh My Fudge!” chocolate churros: chocolate-truffle fudge churros filled with chocotella, topped with white chocolate drizzle and fresh strawberries from Churriño Gourmet Dessert inside Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza. Photo courtesy of Churriño Gourmet Dessert
Churriño Gourmet Dessert

Authentic Brazilian churros can be found at Churriño Gourmet Dessert. This colorful churro destination is located at Collage Culinary Experience inside Bloomingdale’s in South Coast Plaza. Churriño offers unique, customizable flavors, gelato, and their famous Churroccino, a Nespresso churros cappuccino that comes with two churros. 


Choose from limited-edition zany creations like the “Hakuna Matata,” a Madagascar vanilla shake topped with sour gummy worms, chocolate cream, Oreo crumbs and two chocolate churros, inspired by “The Lion King” musical (available until April 20) or tasty favorites like “Oh My Fudge!” – decadent chocolate-truffle fudge churros filled with chocotella, topped with white chocolate drizzle and fresh strawberries. Or, try a plain churro filled with strawberry jam and strawberries on top. It tastes like a fresh, hot, fried strawberry pie – delicioso!


Where: 3333 S. Bristol St., Costa Mesa

Hours: Noon-9 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; noon-10-p.m. Saturdays; noon-8 p.m. 

Sundays 

Cost: $4.95-$19.25

Contact: (714) 884-4775 or churrino.com


Disneyland offers all kinds of churros year-round. Pictured: The strawberry churro in Disneyland park. Photo courtesy of Lindsay Mack
The Food and Wine Festival at the Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort is known for serving traditional churros with cinnamon sugar on top throughout the park, plus some occasional seasonal offerings. Additionally, the Resort offers an annual Food & Wine Festival where foodies gather to sip and savor the year’s exclusive new creations. 


This year, at Disneyland’s California Adventure Park, diners can try four new modern twists on the classic churro: the Cannoli Churro, the Spice Shortbread Churro, the Unforgettable Bing Bong Churro (with shortbread cookie sugar and strawberry jelly with sprinkled icing) and the Butterscotch Banana Churro. A taste test of the strawberry churro with chocolate marshmallow dip at Disneyland finds the churro to be pleasantly warm, crisp and dusted with delicate strawberry sugar flavor and a hint of cinnamon. The accompanying chocolate marshmallow dipping sauce is surprisingly light-tasting with a satisfying balance of chocolate and marshmallow flavor, and a buoyant, fluffy texture that does not taste garishly artificial, as one might expect.


These specials are offered for a limited time only. Food and wine tasting passes are also available, allowing diners to try a variety of bites for a reduced price.


Where: 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim 

When: The Food & Wine Festival 2024 runs now through April 22

Cost: $6.25-$7.25 per churro, plus park admission



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