Monday, June 30, 2008

Portland, Oregon, rose city by the river. A wedding, a birthday celebration, hints of scrabble games, and time to visit friends in Corvallis, Dallas, and Portland, brought us south from Spokane for a week of house-hopping. Last night we went to Andina, a Peruvian restaurant in the Pearl, and were welcomed by long-time friend Doris Platt, owner. What a thrill to see her again after so many years, charmed as we were by the music (Cuban Jessie Marquez and guitarist Mike Denny) and an an old family recipe for lamb shank slow-cooked in Northern Peruvian style with cilantro and black beer. We dipped our bread in a spicy mango puree and simply relaxed, back home on the west coast.

Doris explained that some of the unique flavors of Peruvian cooking were first brought to Spain by Moorish cooks, perhaps women servants after the expulsion of Islam from Spain in 1492, later again carried to the New World. The resulting fusion is tantalizing, prepared with such love of culture and family, almost recognizable, and nicely balanced with a sweet sangria. Ah! City living.

Upcoming event: October 25 at Tommy Mac's jazz club in Portland for a concert with lyrical singer Jessie Marquez and Mike Denny.

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