Where to Get Churros and Hot Chocolate in Miami When Temperatures Dip

Is there anything better?
Is there anything better? Tim Lucas/Wikimedia Commons
Wind-chill values in the Miami metro area will be in the upper 30s this Thursday and Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Luckily, we have churros and hot chocolate.

One might liken them to the delights found in hot doughnuts and apple cider farther up the East Coast on a brisk fall day. Hot, sweet, freshly fried dough boasts a delicate crunch, followed by cakey tenderness before transmogrifying into a skull-tingling custard. Yet it's the hot chocolate, when at its best is a dark, sweet, and slightly bitter elixir thick enough to hold a churro upright, that sets Miami apart. Of course the churros must be hot and fried fresh. On a cold day, you have a better chance of getting a proper one. The beloved yet shuttered Little Havana cafeteria Morro Castle used to turn them out à la minute year-round no matter the order. However, Alberto Villalobos sold the property last year with plans to head west. In the meantime, there are still a few places to get a hot fix.

1. La Palma Calle Ocho. At this decades-old cafeteria on the cusp of its 40th birthday, you can find the kid-friendly sandwiches called discos filled with cream cheese, strawberry jelly, ham, cheese, or anything else that can be tucked into a crustless, round sandwich. Countless Miamians have fond childhood memories of filing into this place's bare-bones interior on a cold day for a warming plate of churros and a cup of hot chocolate. 6091 SW Eighth St., Miami; 305-261-1113.
click to enlarge Dirty hands be damned. - IMAGE COURTESY CHURROMANIA
Dirty hands be damned.
Image courtesy Churromania
2. Churromania. This Miami-based churro chain got its start on the outskirts of Caracas and now has more than 100 locations in six countries, including one in Hialeah. For an extra buck, get your eight arm-long sticks ($5.30) lathered with everything from dulce de leche and sweetened condensed milk to guava and cream cheese to Nutella. 1665 W. 49th St., Hialeah; 305-827-3285.
click to enlarge Ariete's churros are round. - IMAGE COURTESY OF ARIETE
Ariete's churros are round.
Image courtesy of Ariete
3. Ariete. Michael Beltran's Coconut Grove spot is perhaps the neighborhood's most ambitious restaurant. Beltran brings fine-dining chops honed under Michael Schwartz and Norman Van Aken, along with a twinge of Cuban sensibility. His churros and hot chocolate ($8) are a case in point. The recipe comes from Beltran's grandfather, and he's chosen to go with a round presentation, perhaps to ensure more of that sugar ends up all over hands. Luckily, Beltran's churros are available during lunch, which happily began less than a month ago. 3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-640-5862;
click to enlarge OMG Brigadeiro's hot chocolate. - CINDY FERREIRO
OMG Brigadeiro's hot chocolate.
Cindy Ferreiro
4. Oh My Gosh! Brigadeiros. This Coral Way spot serves what might be the most inventive take on the classic. The intense hot chocolate comes crowned with a bit of foam and rimmed with Nutella ($4.80). The "churro" is actually a cake-like bonbon redolent of vanilla and cinnamon and plumped up with dulce de leche. Get one for $1.65 or a box of nine for $14.85. Either way, don't hesitate to fully submerge them in the hot chocolate. 2250 SW 23rd Ave., Miami; 305-456-8378;
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Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson