I’m not necessarily a dessert person. Maybe it’s because I overdosed on sugar as a child. Six seconds after receiving my allowance each week, my best friend and I would ride our bikes down to 7/11, and fill a brown paper lunch bag to the brim with candy. We would sit on the curb outside the convenience store and eat it all. Diabetes was my spirit animal.
As a food writer, gathering ample calories to live is fairly easy. Some people collect stamps, I collect calories. My doctor’s advice is a career switch. I’m not complaining, but self-preservation must be taken into account at every meal. And, pound-for-pound, sugar divvies out the calories with wanton effectiveness. So I’ll often nibble an entree, take a bite of dessert, and then push it in the direction of someone whose occupational concerns aren’t dessert-related.
But this horchata shake with churro bites at Hundred Proof? Oh, lord. No other way to say it. It’s obscenely good. It is a dirty-delicious mashup of three of my favorite things on the planet, and I’d assume the favorites of many other people in San Diego.
First, I’m an ice cream guy. If I ever meet my end at the behest of a vice, it will be—well, it could be a lot of things. But one way you might stumble upon my smiling, lifeless body in an alley is beneath a pile of ice cream pints.
I remember the first time I tasted churros at Black Mountain Middle School in Rancho Peñasquitos. I was hesitant. Someone described it as a Mexican doughnut, but it looked more like a Mexican weapon. It was a revelation. It’s like a mutant cross between donuts and Ruffles because it’s got ridges, and ridges do make things better. The inside is almost undercooked, resulting in a gooey pastry center that has the same charm as cookie-dough ice cream—only warm.
Finally, horchata. The Mexican rice drink is often made with almonds (or Brazil nuts), cinnamon, vanilla, milk (regular and evaporated), and water. It’s a lighter, thinner milkshake.
For the horchata shake at Hundred Proof (the offshoot of our Best New Restaurant, Trust), they make the ice cream base over three days using heavy cream, milk, sugar, and pasteurized egg yolk that’s steeped with jasmine rice, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks. To make it drinkable for anyone with nut allergies, they don’t use any.
In a frosted glass, they stream housemade cajeta (goat’s milk, sugar, water, and butter). It’s like caramel, only tangier and better. Then they pour in the shake, and top it with housemade churro bites. Using a spoon, take one of those warm churros in a little pool of horchata shake, scraping a bit of the cajeta from the sides of the glass, and it’s like a churro a la mode.
Just almost perfect.