When Miami Temps Plunge Below 60, It’s Time For Hot Churros : The Salt : NPR

In the La Palma Calle Ocho in Miami, the churros are pulled hot from a fryer, placed in brown paper bags and soaked in granulated sugar. Greg Allen / NPR hide caption

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Greg Allen / NPR

In the La Palma Calle Ocho in Miami, the churros are pulled hot from a fryer, placed in brown paper bags and soaked in granulated sugar.

Greg Allen / NPR

This week, people were lining up on a busy Miami street for a seasonal tradition – churros dipped in hot chocolate. While the cold air hit most of the country this week, temperatures plummeted in South Florida as well. It was just under 60 degrees – people take off their sweaters and boots and go churros.

Churros are naturally fried sticks of dough that are coated in sugar and are usually served with and dipped in a side of hot chocolate.

There are many places to buy churros. But in Miami, La Palma Calle Ocho, in Eighth Street, the long sticks of dough are pulled hot from a deep fryer, placed in brown paper bags and soaked in granulated sugar. If you ask, they’ll also get a small cup of dip chocolate – so thick it’s more like pudding than hot cocoa. The restaurant is widely recognized as, if not the most popular, the most popular place for churros. But it’s only popular during certain times of the year. Then the weather turns cold, or at least cool.

Among the churros were Carolina Bonilla and Kenny Perez. They drove 30 miles away from Homestead, Florida. You’ve been coming here for 19 years since moving to Miami from New York. Perez says, “It’s pretty cold today, so we say, ‘Hey, you know, it’s a vote on tradition.’ “”

La Palma Calle Ocho is perhaps the most popular place for churros in Miami. When the temperatures dropped below 60 degrees Celsius one evening, long lines formed for the restaurant’s famous fried dough sticks. Greg Allen / NPR hide caption

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Greg Allen / NPR

La Palma Calle Ocho is perhaps the most popular place for churros in Miami. When the temperatures dropped below 60 degrees Celsius one evening, long lines formed for the restaurant’s famous fried dough sticks.

Greg Allen / NPR

“Chilly” isn’t that cold by Miami standards, admits Janet Martinez, another person waiting for churros. “But just that cold, lively air is just enough to get everyone out and … wear jackets, sweaters and scarves,” she says. “And do you have that really thick hot chocolate that you can only find here.”

Churros are popular all over Latin America and are introduced there by the Spanish conquerors. There are variations that may include adding fillings to the crispy, fluted dough sticks. At least in Spain, they are eaten even in cold weather. In Miami, where cold weather is rare, people actually welcome a drop in temperature. And they celebrate with churros and hot chocolate.

In the Calle Ocho in La Palma there are around 35 people in one evening, including the sisters Nickie Shaw and Veronica Toledo, who wear elegant black suede boots. “Yeah, she’s got her boots on,” says Shaw. Toledo, who lives in sub-tropical Miami, says “I have to take advantage of the unique season” if she can wear it.

But I ask why churros? “I think it’s just the idea of ​​the churros and hot chocolate put together,” says Shaw. “If you didn’t have the hot chocolate, the churros would probably be like.”

One of those who stand in line in La Palma, Rick Parish, has a special appreciation for the chocolate. “Velvety smooth,” he says, “completely laced with the bitter dark chocolate I love. It’s a great tradition and – you can see the line here.”

In the course of the evening the temperature even drops into the 50s. And the line for churros? It’s getting longer and longer.

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