Notes from a Local Scene: Pekara

This weekend we took a day trip to Juan Dolio to check out an apartment for my parents that will be staying with us in DR for some time between January and March. After breakfast, checking out a dope apartment at Club Hemingway, and spending some time at Hemingway’s fabulous beachfront/pool area we decided to stop at Pekara’s for lunch on the way out of Juan Dolio. I’ve spoken briefly about Pekara before and visited their place on Carr Nueva (on some maps it shows up as Villas del Mar) near Hemingway’s but this was the first time we went to its newer location, right next door to Metro Country Club on the main boulevard in Juan Dolio, appropriately named, Boulevard de Juan Dolio.

From the outside, Pekara is understatedly chic. It looks fresh and deceivingly modest.

PekaraPekara Juan Dolio

But once you open the doors, you are imported to an off-beat, European café. The wooden A-frame ceiling is opulent without adding the ornate chandeliers. The weathered wood tables are painted different colors and the mix of chairs and bench seating is swanky in the home-iest of ways. You feel like you’re eating at your hip friend’s house instead of a run of the mill beach café.

Pekara Lamps


But the real surprise came with the rest of Pekara’s space, the unexpected use of its natural setting. Located by the Metro Country Club, it is situated on a large plot of green, rolling space and they made full use of it.

Pekara Panoramic

Pekara Outdoor Seating

Pekara Juan Dolio Outdoor Lounge

The first thing I saw was the breakfast menu and I was super disappointed it wasn’t breakfast time because it included some of my fave dishes: eggs benny, eggs florentine, Nutella pancakes. Mmmmm… (so I guess we’ll have to go back) but no matter, the lunch menu was just as yum.

Let me start by saying that although we didn’t order the pizza – this time – any place that has a brick oven for pizzas can plan on seeing me again. (Yes, apparently we will be going back quite a bit.) But here’s what we did order.

Pekara Appetizer

I’ve been on a croqueta de pollo kick for – hmmm…about 4 years – so I had to order them. They were a kicked up, flavorful spin on the traditional chicken croquette and they were savory deliciousness. (There was a bone in one but enjoyable just the same.)

Pekara Juan Dolio Mexican Salad

Pekara Mexican Salad

The Mexican salad was the sh*t. Chicken, avocado, cheese, onions, tomatoes, tortilla chips, and a light dressing with a hint of spicy kick at the end, not to mention that the salad itself was perfectly dressed. I usually order an extra side of dressing because I find most salads too dry but this was dressed like a Pinterest board and it was exactly what I wanted after a day in the sun. Oh, and it was huge, so I got to save some for later.

Pekara Sandwich

Husband chose the vegetarian sandwich. If you know me, you know that even mentioning a veggie option makes me frown but this made me happily smile. The ciabatta bread looks doughy and overpowering  but was a cloud of well-worth-it carbs. It was everything. This carnivore gives it the seal of approval.

Pekara Cappuccino

And of course, the cappuccino – beautiful and heavenly – that we chose to drink outside while the kids ran free.

Like a clam whose real treasure is inside, Pekara was a pearl. Maybe I’ll see you there this weekend.


Av. Boulevard (next to Carol Pharmacy and entrance to Metro Country Club)
(809) 526-2022
Closed Tuesdays
* Other location in town is off of Carr. Nueva / Villas del Mar. Behind Guilia’s.



  For daily #drinkingthewholebottle moments, advice, truths, and general fun sh*t,



Instagram Pekara ON INSTAGRAM


This is not a sponsored review. The views and opinions expressed on Drinking the Whole Bottle are 100% my own so readers can guarantee that, compensated or not, I give my honest opinion on products, services, websites, etc. Any product received complimentary for testing purposes will be identified.



How I’m Still Feeling Contractions

These were the first notes I ever took with my first iPod:

427 434 443 452 505 511 518 522 528 535 539 544 547 553 557 604 608 612 617 622 626 634 640 646 652 700 715 724 733 737 742 747 759 804 808 813 818 822 831 836 841 847 852 856 901 905

No. Those aren’t the weird numbers that showed up constantly on “Lost” – they are the times of my contractions when I went into labor with She-Babe, 4 years ago tomorrow.

Being Born

Of course, at the time I didn’t know I was in labor. My doctor had mentioned that if the contractions lasted longer than an hour I could assume it was the real deal but I didn’t know what contractions should feel like. All I had to go on were the cinematic images of hollering, she-wolf women that grabbed their husbands by the lapel and spoke in diabolic tongue to get the demon living inside her, out. My contractions felt nothing like this, so for all I knew, I just had to poop. Continue reading

Returning to Cuba: The Cuba Libre Series

“Ernesto, Alejandro, y Rolando.”

“Bien hecho,” I would praise Rafa for  memorizing her cousins’ names.

“And now las Tias,” she’d begin bragging that she could remember her aunts’ names also, “Yulisa, Adriana, y Ad…” The names  were a mouthful even for a first language Spanish speaker.

I’d help her, “Adel…”


Inevitably, Santiago would clamor into the name game with his best 2-year-old speak, repeating the names that his sister rattled off of the family members they would both be meeting in a few short weeks. This was what most of our evenings, after teeth were brushed and stories were told, sounded like.

In the quiet edge of my mind, before giving into heavy eyes each night, I’d think (and then rethink)  My kids are going to Cuba. The thought seemed so far-fetched, so completely foreign because for most years of my life, going to Cuba was inconceivable. Yet here I was, thinking about my kids’ first trip to this place of antique cars and antiquated ideologies and late ancestors.

Old Cuban Cars Continue reading

The Art Class Down the Street

Last week both kids went to their first art class. Super close to the house – walking distance, in fact – and totally affordable, I left there excited about their new artful ways and also about the new phase they are heading into.

Art Class

This phase of discovery and experimenting where we begin to see what our kids emerge at and what they enjoy – beyond just the toys they choose to play with – is so exciting. They’re becoming real people – small, real people with open, courageous hearts and strong voices. (Really strong voices, sometimes, that scream and stomp but, I digress.) It’s like looking into a tiny hole of the future and starting to see what they might become.

But back to art class. Continue reading

Notes from a Local Scene: Bagels & More

So, this happened yesterday…

Bagels and MoreBagel 2

Ask any respectable New Jerseyan and they’ll tell you that bagels anywhere else are just circular dough discs with a whole in the center. Husband’s brother, who used to live in Texas, would buy a dozen bagels or so whenever he’d come back to visit and take them home to freeze. For Jerseyans, there is no comparison. (You can chalk that up to one of the other reasons people hate on New Jersey. Because, seriously, don’t bagels suck? Insert sarcasm. )

Continue reading