Unless you’ve travelled to Spain, you’ve probably never had churros (or xurros, in Catalan) like this before. The fried dough sticks, traditionally rolled in a fine coating of cinnamon sugar, are ubiquitous at county fairs and theme parks—basically anywhere Americans eat with their hands. But to get a xurro, a real-deal authentic Spanish treat, you’ll need to head to Portland’s first xurreria, 180, currently frying up a storm at 2218 NE Broadway.
For the small, 12-seat café, husband-and-wife team Jose Chésa and Cristina Baéz of Ataula fame (one of Portland Monthly’s Best Restaurants 2014) have teamed up with David Martin, a fellow alum of three-Michelin-starred Can Fabes restaurant in Catalonia.
Baked at 180 degrees Celsius (180—get it?), xurros are the star of the show. An open kitchen allows guests to watch as piping hot, grooved curls emerge from an imported Spanish fryer bath and are stacked like horseshoes around a wooden peg. Cinnamon and sugar-dusted xurros are served in orders of 3, 6, or 12, ready to be dunked in housemade dipping sauces like marshmallow swirl, caramel and roasted peanuts, and a deliciously tart lemon curd. You can also get them filled with the likes of dulce de leche or crema.
Beyond the basics, 180 makes xurros bañados (crunchy, chocolate-covered xurros flecked with Jacobsen sea salt) and xuixos, “Jose’s addiction as a kid … and as an adult,” according to Baéz. The golden, deep-fried, cylindrical Catalonian pastry also comes filled with crema catalana and covered in crystallized sugar.
180 takes its café options as seriously as its xurros, offering roasts from Local Roasting Company (café con leche with housemade hazelnut milk, anyone?) and drinking xocolata from Portland’s lauded Cocanú—both very smart choices for dunking.
2218 NE Broadway
Open daily, 8am-4pm