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Blu Cafe, Dominicus

By December 11, 2021Uncategorized
Blu Cafe

As I sit being fully present and taking in my environment I find myself moved nearly to tears. Everything about this place seems to be saying that there is more to life than tasks and work and money, and that life is to be lived. The people sitting, standing, talking in this cafe are intensely expressive. My ears are met with the sounds of the Italian language. I don’t understand it but I can feel it. If you’ve ever heard a native Italian speaker then you know this to be true. They speak from their heart and they don’t hold back the way Americans do. 

Blu Cafe is a fascinating place. We walked and drove by it for three months before we finally stopped in and as I sit here now, I see tourists walking past by the dozens. They’re easy to tell apart from the people who live here because they have bags and fanny packs and visors. None of them are stopping in. This place is for the locals especially, it seems, for the local Italians. Don’t count yourself out though the people here are kind and expressive and so welcoming. I walk in as an American speaking broken Spanish and I feel welcomed with open arms. 

This corner is not beautiful—from the outside. However, Blu Cafe seems to have worked some sort of magic on their place. Once you step off the street and under the shade of their roof (the cafe is completely outside but has a roof over the top like 99% of restaurants here.) the dirty, loud corner is transformed into something completely different. Their “walls” are tropical plants that block the road and leave you with the view of white pillars, palm trees, terracotta roofs, and pops of orange and blue from the colmado across the street. It’s hot when you’re out on the street but the breeze blows through here and within a few minutes I start to feel cool. 

The waiter sees me walk in, waves to me and says “Ciao.” I sit myself down at a table and he brings me a menu. The atmosphere is so welcoming. Today I am just getting drinks. I order a Cafe con Leche (essentially a hot latte) and a Jugo de Chinola y Lechosa (passion fruit and papaya juice). He yells “Cafe con Leche!” back at the man making the coffees and then gets involved in a passionate discussion with the Italians one table over. 

My drinks come out in a couple minutes and I take the time to really savor the first sips. The coffee is strong on my tongue. The coffee in the area is slightly bitter without sugar, so every restaurant has packets of brown sugar on the table. I add one packet to the coffee and stir it lightly with the tiny spoons that they bring out with your coffee cup. I take a sip. It’s perfect. It’s smooth and strong. The smell lingers in my nose almost like smoke and the ratio of coffee to milk is just right. 

My juice is the color of the sunsets on the beach and the terracotta roofs across the street. This is not a color you see in food in the states without the help of food coloring. I take a sip and let it wash over my tongue. It’s cold and it tastes orange* and sweet but not overpoweringly so.

The air smells fresh with occasional subtle gusts of cigarette smoke. Nearly everyone smokes in the Dominican Republic – especially, it seems, the Italians in the area. The smell doesn’t linger even though there are a few people smoking right now. The breeze quickly carries it away. The breeze is always good here at Blu Cafe which I’ve found is the single biggest factor in comfort in the Dominican Republic. It’s always hot, but if there’s a good breeze, you won’t even notice. 

Another thing I enjoy very much about this place is the birds. There is a small army of sparrows and one gorgeous finch that all linger nearby begging for bread. They hop onto the back of chairs and they will eat out of your hand. The finch is almost a pet here. He flys in and flaunts his colors and gets a full meal as he hops from table to table. This bird is obviously a regular visitor here. One man waves the bread up and down and tosses and the bird jumped, bobbed and caught it like a trained dog doing tricks for treats. 

Blu Cafe is one of my new favorite places to stop for coffee in Dominicus. It is an easily overlooked gem that I would absolutely recommend. Stop in, sit down and remind yourself that life is to be experienced deeply, that people are worth taking time to connect to and that coffee should be savored. 

*orange food has a very specific flavor if you pay attention. Sometime, take an orange and a carrot and a papaya and eat a bite of each of them. Pay attention the the common denominator flavor – that is the flavor “orange.” I taste it on the middle of my tongue, not the back or the front. Try it sometime.