Roughly 2 years and 2 months ago, I took one of the least glamorous, but most eye-opening and relaxing vacations ever in my adult life.
From the inception of the idea, generated by a daily lifestyle newsletter, to booking and pre-paying for a $35-dollar-a-night cabana (and that is considered EXPENSIVE!) online (relying on nothing but a couple of pictures and some “visitor comments”) to finally, a flight out to Managua (Nicaragua) followed by yet another flight on a 14-passenger single engine aircraft to Big Corn Island, and a rocky water taxi ride to Little Corn… it was well worth the transfers to get to a piece of almost undisturbed paradise.
On Little Corn Island you won’t find vehicles. Or roads. Or much electricity beyond the 4-block long “town.” And you certainly won’t find very many “tourist-traps” beyond the couple of friendly Australian surfstands. I did manage, however, to find my tourist trap – a little house next to a school that sold the most amazing coconut bread.
If I could manage to find my way to town from the depths of the jungle where I was staying, relying on nothing but landmarks such as a tree that leans a certain way, or a pile of suspicious looking potholes and dirt, I would be able to buy, from what I remember to be pennies, a loaf of coconut bread which I would then snack on the entire day as I relaxed on a hammock by the beach. And if I had forgotten to alert my hosts in advance that I would be dining with them? No worries, I’ll make whatever’s left of that loaf last the whole evening… and look forward to buying more in the morning when my stomach starts to grumble.
The couple of weeks after I’d left paradise, I raved about this amazing bread. But after months away, I soon forgot about the taste, until I tried the pan de coco at La Playa, a new restaurant situated on a cursed corner of 5th avenue in Park Slope. It was bland and unmemorable, and unsurprisingly, the place was shuttered not even a year into their lease.
I could say that the taste of that amazing bread used to plague my dreams, but as any sane human being would do, I used my survival skills to forget about it and move on. Write it off as something I will probably never have again. And perhaps feel a little thankful that I wouldn’t be able to find yet another evil carb loaded treat on my part of the hemisphere. But as the stars would have it, destiny is unavoidable. That is, my destiny to have bread prove to become my demise.
I found a recipe for pan de coco on the Whole Foods website.
And so, at about 10pm, I started making my dough. 2 hours later, I snuck a bite of the freshly baked bread, closed my eyes, and saw heaven.
Pan de Coco (recipe from Whole Foods)