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Standing Room Only: Don Churro El Moro De Letran

" It's the kind of delightful treat that reminds you of being a kid."

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Don Churro El Moro De Letran

1626 South Blue Island Avenue Chicago, IL 60608 (map); 312-733-3173
The Short Order: Freshly fried churros for $1

Churros are just another version of fried dough—the kind of simple treat that just about every cuisine has and loves. But I'll be damned if I've had more than three good ones in my whole life.

Most are sold days after creation and taste like grease-laden logs covered in sugar, about as tough to bite through as they are to stomach. Before this weekend, the three good ones were all at Rick Bayless's Xoco, his new casual restaurant.

They are great because they subscribe to the simple philosophy that churros should be made to order, so each comes out gently warm and soft. It's no wonder that lines for Xoco constantly stretch out the door.

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I was on the search for good churros that wouldn't take all day to stand in line for. I also realized that while most of the churros sold in grocery stores were old, if I could find the factory where they came from I'd have a pretty good chance of success—and that's what led me to Don Churro in Pilsen.

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It's in a nondescript building that looks less like a factory, more like any regular taqueria. About the only clue that there may be something more going on inside is the churro van sitting out front.

Inside, there's a small room with no tables or chairs inside, and in the back I could spy the large churro-making machine. But all focus upfront is on the display case, which is about four feet long, containing five different flavors of churros. Along with the requisite plain one, you can get yours stuffed with either chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and caramel. I ordered a chocolate, caramel, and a plain and was out the door within a minute.

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All were thrown into a brown paper bag. I could immediately tell by the warmth that these were fresh from the fryer.

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The plain one is my favorite. It's clean and not too doughy, with the right amount of sugar and crunch. Second is definitely the caramel, which erupts with pleasantly gooey inside after you bite in. It's the kind of delightful treat that reminds you of being a kid. The chocolate is pleasant, if a tad less interesting.

Each of these are about a foot long and cost all of a dollar. The three were way more than my wife and I could eat. I suggest sharing one. They aren't quite as perfect as the ones available at Xoco, but the line sure is shorter.

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