Designer donuts. Crepes. Pain au chocolat. Gelato. Cupcakes..
What will the next big sweet-tooth trend be?
Well, would you have guessed el churro?
Surely you've had a churro at some point in your life.. at Disneyland, a sporting event, the county fair, your local border town.. But Santa Monica's Xooro seems to think their deluxe variations on the "Spanish fritter" are a bankable market. In fact, that's ALL they peddle, along with a tidy selection of hot cocoa and coffee specialty drinks (that honestly look a bit like the ones that come out of that machine at 7-eleven). Since I don't find myself churro-going on the west-side often, I took the opportunity last week to drop in as I disappointedly trudged back toward my car after Santa Monica pier's failed Glow. In fact, I was starved, amazed Xooro was open at 1am, and genuinely excited to give this fancy fritter a taste, as I do consider myself part of the elite union of churro enjoyers.
The first thing I noticed (very hard not too) was the horrifying ambiance. It's one stark white "modern" box-room a la Pinkberry.. But with equally harsh-yet-dim even flourescent lighting reminiscent of an abandoned hospital wing. Then I saw the wiped-out beverage case next to the line.. I quickly realized that Xooro is not normally open until 1am. This was purely strategic due to the increased event foot traffic in the neighborhood. Judging by the exhausted looks on the faces of the young workers behind the counter, they hadn't planned on staying so late either. Then there was the tall older man with zealous eyes also standing behind the counter, arms crossed, watching the people file in and line up. Trying to shake off the creepy vibe, I grabbed the last Fiji water in the case and turned my eyes to the simple menu on the wall. There are a handful of churro selections including dulce de leche, cappucino, turkish hazelnut, triple chocolate and strawberry creme. Every item on the menu priced at a cheeky (and steep) $4.20 a pop, this was definitely going to be a splurge. Yet upon ordering (and no warning of this ahead of time to everyone waiting in the lengthy line) we were informed that they were actually out of every churro AND specialty drink on the menu... However, they had just whipped up some piping-fresh-out-of-the-fryer plain churros filled with vanilla creme custard. Obviously disappointed and confused, we accepted and paid our small fortunes. As we moved to the side to wait, we saw the folks in front of us get their churros - As you may know, a traditional churro is roughly 15 inches long.. these high-end little critters were measuring up at a wee 5 inches. A friend murmured the words on my mind, "this had better be good". And to Xooro's credit, the indeed-warm fritters that landed in our hands WERE tasty.. the creme filling a delightful change. Though by now all the double-entendres in this place were starting to get a bit unsettling (after snapping this picture of my churro, I got some distasteful smirks from all company present). So we each quickly wolfed down our modest pastry pequeño - and all felt the satiated OOF at once, realizing that it's what you do with your 5 inches that counts.