When Miami Temps Plunge Below 60, It's Time For Hot Churros : The Salt "Chilly" by Miami standards isn't really all that cold. But any sign of sweater weather is enough to get the long lines forming for fried sticks of dough dipped in thick hot chocolate.
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When Miami Temps Plunge Below 60, It's Time For Hot Churros

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When Miami Temps Plunge Below 60, It's Time For Hot Churros

When Miami Temps Plunge Below 60, It's Time For Hot Churros

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Frigid air has gripped much of the country this week. And in subtropical Miami, people aren't exactly suffering, but it is chilly enough to enjoy a seasonal treat. NPR's Greg Allen reports that people are lining up for churros dipped in hot chocolate.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: Churros, of course, are sticks of fried dough covered in sugar, typically served with and dipped into a side of hot chocolate.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Speaking Spanish).

ALLEN: There were lots of places to buy churros in Miami. But this restaurant, La Palma Calle Ocho - on 8th Street, of course - is widely acknowledged to be, if not the best, at least the most popular. But it's popular only at certain times of the year. That's when the weather turns cold or at least cool. Among those in line for churros were Carolina Bonilla and Kenny Perez. They drove in from Homestead, 30 miles away.

CAROLINA BONILLA: And we had, like, almost 19 year to coming here.

ALLEN: And why tonight?

KENNY PEREZ: Just random, yeah. It's kind of chilly today, so we were like, hey, you know? It's a vote to tradition.

ALLEN: It's chilly by Miami standards - 60 degrees. Janet Martinez, another person waiting for churros, says, OK, that's not really cold.

JANET MARTINEZ: But just that cold brisk in the air is just enough (laughter) to get everybody out, wear these, you know, jackets and sweaters and scarves...

ALLEN: Down jackets, boots - it's all out.

MARTINEZ: ...And have that real thick hot chocolate that you only find here.

ALLEN: There are about 35 people in line at this point, among them, sisters Nickie Shaw and Veronica Toledo, who's wearing stylish black suede boots.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Yeah, she's got her boots on.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: I had to take advantage the one time a year.

ALLEN: And what is it about cold weather? Why churros? What's the connection?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I think it's just the idea of the churros and the hot chocolate together. If they don't have the hot chocolate, the churros will probably be like, eh (ph), there.

ALLEN: Churros are popular throughout Latin America and, in Spain, at least, also are associated with cold weather. In Miami, where cold weather is rare, people actually welcome it when temperatures dip. And they celebrate by going out for churros and hot chocolate. The chocolate, by the way, is thick; more like pudding than hot chocolate. But we'll let Rick Parish describe it.

RICK PARISH: The chocolaté, which, here, is this velvety, smooth, completely laced with a bitter dark chocolate that I love - it's a great tradition, and I think everybody - I mean, you can see the line here. When the temperature dips down, people stand in line.

ALLEN: As the evening wears on, the temperature even drops into the 50s, and the line for churros keeps getting longer.

Greg Allen, NPR News, Miami.

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