Surely, we were lost. The sleepy, pastel side streets of the Miraflores district in Lima, Peru were all starting to look the same as my friend and I as we stumbled around the neighborhood that Sunday morning in search of the acclaimed hipster bakery, El Pan de la Chola.
Despite our wanderings, I wasn't quite ready to give up on the hunt for the bakery. My research assured me that this place boasts some of the finest breads in South America and that it was well worth the search.
All of a sudden, the bass of South American club music began pumping out of a sleek, modern shop on the nondescript street. My friend and I glanced at each other and shrugged. This appeared to be the place.
Upon stepping inside the cool, minimalist interior, it was easy to see why the young, hip families and travelers flock here for their weekend brunches. There was something about the bakery that felt vibrant and new. In a place infamously described in Herman Melville's Moby Dick as, "the strangest, saddest city," El Pan de la Chola seems to give Lima a new sense of identity-- one that could be hip, fun, and a little bit cheeky.
At one point, the soundtrack abruptly changed from the bass-heavy discotheque music to that of Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, and somehow it worked. (Side note: can you ever go wrong with Rumours, though?)
I quickly ordered the signature bread and an extracto— freshly pressed juice. After a long day of international flights, I opted for the Naranja, a frothy, vitamin-C and D packed blend of oranges and carrots. Out of all the extractos I came to drink on this trip to Peru, this one was easily one of the best. Then there was the bread. The fluffy, buttery pastries were what jumped out to me. Warm and airy, the bread all but puffed open to the touch. It was a solid 50-50 ratio of butteriness to flakiness and entirely delicious.
If you're looking for a fun and incredibly tasty brunch option in Lima, El Pan de la Chola is well worth the stop. Club music, gluten, extractos, and all.
If you go:
El Pan de la Chola
Av. La Mar 918 Miraflores