Sure, we're pretty familiar with Spanish churros long before, but it was never an acquaintance with long snaking queues that La Lola Churreria has been delivering to Manila. Before, these golden deep-fried treats might be found in the dessert menu of Spanish restaurants--not all, but some would offer it. Enter La Lola in the latter part of 2014, a churrerria or churros specialty cafe that has created a new kind of churros snacking habit, akin to how one would crave for fries when hanging out in the mall. One would fall in line at the store and order one cone filled with churros to carry around and eat while you walk (or bring inside the cinemas, even).
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What keeps people snacking on these deep fried treats? It's all about authenticity, churros master Chef Pepe Lopez explains. To keep it as Spanish as it can be, the Spanish chef adds that everything has to be fresh and made with the best ingredients possible. "It's supposed to be always freshly cooked, and the dough freshly made," Chef Pepe shares, "we do it about fifty times a day, we always make the dough super fresh. We do not keep it for more than thirty minutes to fry."
Along with fresh dough and freshly served batches of churros to serve hot to their customers, the big vat where the dough pastry is piped and deep fried only carries olive oil, always. "It's always fresh, that's why the fresh is different," the chef explains, in comparison to other churros. Even the size of the churros, and using only olive oil to fry is what keeps La Lola's products authentic. The churros at La Lola (about 20cm from end to end) is how the churros are in length and thickness in Spain, the chef adds.
How is a churro remarkedly a churro? "It's supposed to be very crispy, golden, and then soft inside," Chef Pepe says. And if you've ever had a big bite of their classic style churros, the Churros Classicos (P110/Medium 6pcs, P195/Large 12pcs, P275/XLarge 18pcs), that's exactly what you get. The classic pairing of a hot chocolate dipping sauce for churros is still what sells best at La Lola, their Hot Chocolate Dip (P60/Medium, P100/Large, P130/XLarge) boasting of a rich and luscious flavor thanks to Belgian chocolate.
Xuxos, another authentic churro variant, is a stick of churro just slightly thicker and then stuffed in the middle with fillings in assorted flavors. The chef mentions that in Spain, xuxos are usually filled with chocolate, pastry cream, or cabell d'àngel ("angel's hair" sweet pumpkin jam). At La Lola, their Xuxos (P120) are filled with choice of Nutella, Dulce de Leche, Strawberry Jam, or Peanut Butter; there are also plans of introducing more flavors in the future. Nutella is unsurprisingly the best-selling filling, and a bite into the nutella xuxo will have a burst of gooey nutella warming your entire mouth, its waves of sweetness colliding with the crisp and soft textures of the pastry.
Churros here in Manila are first and foremost a terrific sweet snack or post-meal dessert indulgence. However, this fried dough delicacy shows its versatility and spins it a little at La Lola Churreria to let us have a taste of savory churros -- think of it as an alternative to snacking on potato fries or nachos, or simply a new favorite way to chew on your churros. Take for instance the churreria's Churros Bravos (P195), a bucket of salty mini churros coated with All I Oli Sauce and Salsa Brava that lends an addicting garlicky flavor in every bite. It's just as how we can enjoy a platter of messy fries slathered with a thick sauce, only this time, churros lends a distinct combination of snap, crisp, and mealy softness in every bite.
Want to dig a little deeper into the savory churros experience? Then ordering the Rogue Xuxos (P345) is a must. Chef Pepe explains this special churros collaboration with Rogue Magazine takes inspiration from a classic sandwich in Spain of jamon serrano and Manchego cheese. "It's a super classic sandwich in Spain, and instead of using the loaf bread, we're using the xuxo." One order is a long and thick churro filled with thick Manchego cream, topped with torched prosciutto strips, chives, and crisped sweet onions. One will also be reminded of the classic fried Monte Cristo sandwich of ham and cheese that has been churro-fied, with a cheesy filling so gooey, it eagerly bursts into your mouth when you bite. This is one kickass xuxo so punchy with flavors and deep-fried goodness that you can actually have this one to share -- and split the guilt, too.
Visit La Lola Churreria at their newest branch at the Ground Level of UP Town Center in Quezon City and at their other outlets: basement level of Power Plant Mall and 4th level of SM Aura Premier. Like La Lola in Facebook (/churrerialalola) and follow on Instagram (@churreria_la_lola).