Welcome to On Location, where we talk to the coolest cooks and makers around the country about what's inspiring them right now.
Jesus "Lolo" Manso has a passion for Spanish cuisine that reaches from his roots to his restaurants. As owner of Socarrat Paella Bar (with three locations) and La Churreria in New York City, he's been sharing classic Spanish dishes with city dwellers for years. La Churreria, which opened in 2011, is entirely dedicated to the classic Spanish treat that no one can resist, the churro.
While you may be familiar with churros in their baton-like or curved form, dusted in cinnamon sugar, Lolo has taken the churro to new heights. The café's menu features classic churros as well as cute churro bites along with dipping sauces like chocolate and strawberry. Stuffed churros are filled with matcha, Nutella, or dulce de leche, and coiled churros are used to make summery ice cream sandwiches. If you're in the mood for something savory, La Churreria even has a breakfast sandwich with a crispy churro bun.
For a truly hand-held dessert that will light up your Instagram feed, reach for Lolo's churro lollipops. The treat allows the shop to get creative, and they've just released a pumpkin-shaped lollipop for Halloween. "We wanted to play around with the shape and toppings at La Churreria to make our guests smile and to add more fun and seasonality," says Lolo.
What inspired you to make the pumpkin churro lollipop?
To celebrate Halloween! I love celebrating Halloween as it brings the child inside of you; [you get to] enjoy the sense of innocence for a few hours. And you have an excuse to enjoy some fun treats! So happy we're able to celebrate Halloween this year and to celebrate the resurgence of NYC. We've come a long way.
Eating churros is a unique Spanish tradition... that's why it's special! It brings back childhood memories. Every Sunday after church, my parents treated me to churros—sometimes just churros, on some days with chocolate sauce. Back then, the churros were wrapped in old newspapers. It really brings back a warm and nostalgic feeling. And our toasty and sugary churro makes everyone (including myself) smile.
Tell us about the most ridiculously amazing thing you’ve eaten lately.
Sardines from Spain. Sardines brings back childhood memories as well; I love the sardines in olive oil. I enjoyed them as a simple sandwich with a piece of bread.
What's your favorite ingredient to cook with right now?
I'm celebrating the fall season with seasonal mushrooms: oyster, shiitake, cremini, and shimeji mushrooms. Grilling is the best to bring out the flavor and smell with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. I love it so much that we're adding this as a new menu item at Socarrat with a roasted cauliflower purée.
After a long day at work, what's your go-to dinner?
A relaxing dinner with friends. The most recent dinner was at Estela. We very much enjoyed the fish dishes there and the bikini sandwich. Whether it be dining out or cooking for friends and family at home, I love to eat, talk, drink, experience new things and laugh. A friend told me there's a new Irish pub in Wall Street that offers Spanish tapas... what a combination. I need to check this out next. Enjoying food and laughing with friends and family is a celebration of life.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
That I make people happy! I love seeing our guests having a good time at our establishments. It's the most rewarding thing about my job.
- If you could make a churro into any shape, what shape would it be? The map of Spain
- What's your favorite churro filling? Matcha
- Favorite Halloween candy? Anything chocolate
- Kitchen tool you can't live without? Sharp knife
- Sweet or savory? Savory