Now Ive tasted a fresh churro.
I see churros all the time, enshrined in grease-smeared plastic boxes on top of Mexican food carts: brown-ridged tubes of pastry, sometimes filled with unnaturally colored substances. Ive eaten these hours-old (days-old?) dough sticks maybe twice, and they made no good impression on me.
Then, yesterday, at the new Maxwell Street Market (which, as most of you know, is really Canal Street), I had a fresh churro. The two people who worked the concession were squeezing them out of pastry instruments, frying and serving them up, still steaming, in wax paper sheets. I bought several at this small stand, just south of Roosevelt, on the east side of Canal (when I go again, I'll get the name of the place if it has a name; I think it might have said just Churros on the side of the wagon -- VI may know).
It was a whole new experience. Lightly browned, and glistening with still warm oil, this confection was crunchy outside, with softly moist sweet dough surrounding a still liquid cream center. There were sugar crystals on the outside, but the sugar seemed to be melting from the crispy heat.
This was one helluva good churro and Im not a major pastry fan. This eating experience made me think I would never, ever be able to eat another churro that wasnt made on the spot. Fresh fried makes all the difference with churros, as it does with just about everything else -- getting churros this way, though,at least in Chicago, seems relatively rare. They're worth searching out.