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These are San Diego’s best churros. Do you agree?

A three-churro order from The Taco Stand, a local chain that aims to re-create the food found at Tijuana’s taquerias.
A three-churro order from The Taco Stand, a local chain that aims to re-create the food found at Tijuana’s taquerias.
(Courtesy photo)

The humble Mexican pastry is going upscale with high-end (and low-end) dessert twists at restaurants, pubs and food stands

Spanish and Chinese historians dispute who invented churros, but most agree that the deep-fried, cinnamon-and-sugar-dusted fritters have been around since the 16th century.

Churros have long been an inexpensive snack in San Diego and Tijuana, but recently they’ve begun popping up in unique ways at restaurants, bars and food stands countywide. Here’s a look at some of San Diego’s newest and best churros creations.

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Not-too-sweet Punta Mita-style churros are cooked-to-order at Lola 55 in San Diego's East Village.
(Courtesy photo)

Punta Mita-style churros: Lola 55, East Village

Lola 55 owner Frank Vizcarra spent two years traveling through Mexico searching for the perfect churros recipe before finding it in the tiny resort town of Punta Mita, which is famous for having the “world’s best” churros. He wasn’t able to buy the churro-master’s recipe, but worked for months with chef Drew Bent and two sous chefs to re-create it in Lola 55’s house churros dessert, which is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and not too sweet. A five-churro dish is fried to order, dusted with fresh-ground cinnamon and lime zest and served with side of cajeta (Mexican caramel sauce). Horchata ice cream is optional.
1290 F St., San Diego, (619) 542-9155. lola55.com

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Churro doughtnuts are a gourmet dessert at The Corner Drafthouse in Bankers Hill.
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Churro doughnut: The Corner Drafthouse, Bankers Hill

Chef Ruben Zamarripa has taken the traditional Mexican-style churros he grew up and twisted it into a churro doughnut. Rather than a crispy ribbed pastry strip, Zamarippa has reinvented the churros in a ring shape that’s rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with vanilla ice cream and a cinnamon glaze. 495 Laurel St., San Diego. (619) 255-2631. thecornerdrafthouse.com

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Through May 31, churro bagels with dulce de leche cream cheese are on the menu at Spill the Beans coffeehouse in the Gaslamp Quarter.
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Churro bagel: Spill the Beans coffeehouse, Gaslamp Quarter

For the month of May only, pastry chef Karina Orozco has created a churro bagel. It’s a chewy California-style bagel coated in cinnamon sugar and paired with dulce de leche cream cheese. 555 Market St., San Diego, (619) 233-3836. spillthebeanssd.com

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Waffle churros sticks at Madison on Park in University Heights.
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Churro waffle sticks: Madison on Park, University Heights

For weekend brunch, Madison bakes fresh waffles, cut them into strips, then coats them in cinnamon sugar and serves them with maple cream cheese sauce, jalapeño-blackberry jam and fresh fruit. This summer it will also be available a la mode with Churro Bites ice cream from Mutual Friend Ice Cream in Normal Heights. 4622 Park Blvd., San Diego. (619) 269-6566. madisononpark.com

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A churro waffle ice cream sandwich is on the menu at Local Eatery & Drinking Hole in downtown San Diego.
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Churro waffle ice cream sandwich: Local Eatery & Drinking Hole, Downtown San Diego

This neighborhood pub takes fresh-baked Belgian waffles and dredges them in cinnamon sugar, then pairs them with ice cream for a decadent ice cream sandwich. 1065 Fourth Ave., San Diego. (619) 231-4447. thelocalsandiego.com

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Cinnamon-sugar-dusted churro panchakes at Breakfast Republic, with multiple locations in San Diego.
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Churro pancakes: Breakfast Republic, multiple locations

This fast-growing San Diego brunch chain aims for decadence with its creative menu items. Three pancakes are cooked to order and dusted with cinnamon sugar, with pure maple syrup available by request. For locations, visit breakfastrepublic.com

Churro French toast: Viewpoint Brewing, Del Mar

A new edition to this brewery-restaurant overlooking the San Elijo Lagoon is this brunch-only creation of brioche French toast topped with cinnamon sugar and served with Mexican chocolate sauce. 2201 San Dieguito Drive, Del Mar. (858) 356-9346. viewpointbrewing.com

Churros and ice cream: Salud, multiple locations

Three fresh-baked churro sticks are served with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream in a parfait glass and topped with caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar sprinkles. For locations, visit saludsd.com

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Blind burro makes gourmet churro dough with cinnamon water, then offers a creme Anglaise sauce for dipping.
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Gourmet churros: The Blind Burro, Downtown San Diego

Blind Burro takes churros up a notch with this gourmet variety. Cinnamon water is used to make the dough, which intensifies the flavor of the finished pastry, which is served with a crème anglaise sauce, slow-cooked from milk, cream, vanilla bean, sugar and egg yolks. 639 J St., San Diego. (619) 795-7880. theblindburro.com

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Jumbo twisted churros are only a dollar at Costco stores are the cheapest deal in town, but they're not cooked-to-order so they can be come dry and bready if they sit too long under heat lamps.
(Pam Kragen/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Discount churros

Costco, multiple locations: A churro roundup isn’t complete without the cheapest churro deal in town. Costco stores have long offered a jumbo, twisted churro for just $1. But the pre-cooked snacks can sit under a heat lamp for hours, giving them a bready, dry consistency. They’re best when fresh-fried. costco.com

Traditional Tijuana-style churros

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South County residents swear by Churros El Tigre, a food stand at the Las Americas outlets mall on the border in San Ysidro. Be sure to order the fried-to-order treats with extra-thick caramel "cajeta" sauce."
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Churros El Tigre: Considered the best churros stand in all of South County, this popular booth at Las Americas Premium Outlets serves fresh-cooked churros in snack and meal-size portions, a family tray of 20 mini-churros with sauce, and in an ice cream
sundae. Be sure to order a side of El Tigre’s ultra-thick cajeta. And on weekends, prepare for a wait. 4211 Camino de la Plaza, San Diego. (619) 867-2915. churroseltigre.com

A three-churro order from The Taco Stand, a local chain that aims to re-create the food found at Tijuana’s taquerias.
A three-churro order from The Taco Stand, a local chain that aims to re-create the food found at Tijuana's taquerias.
(Courtesy photo)

The Taco Stand: This San Diego-born chain aims to re-create the Tijuana taqueria experience, including its popular and inexpensive roadside churros. The three-churro order is cooked-to-order and served up hot for about $3.50. Multiple locations, letstaco.com