November 16, 2003 - Oregon Live: Son of Peru RPCV John Platt open Peruvian Restaurant in Portland Oregon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Peace Corps Peru: The Peace Corps in Peru: November 16, 2003 - Oregon Live: Son of Peru RPCV John Platt open Peruvian Restaurant in Portland Oregon

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Son of Peru RPCV John Platt open Peruvian Restaurant in Portland Oregon

Son of Peru RPCV John Platt open Peruvian Restaurant in Portland Oregon

Andina welcomes with the warmth of Peru


PERRY L13 Perry: Parents met after his father moved to Peru during Vietnam War

PETER PLATT Extends warm welcome

DORIS RODRIGUEZ PLATT Stews going on Sunday menu L9

I t is said you can learn a great deal about a person by visiting his or her kitchen. When it comes to Peter Platt, the kitchen is in his restaurant, and the entire space is a mirror of the man.

Andina is savvy, sophisticated and popular. Family-friendly and family-owned, the handsome restaurant is single-minded in its approach to offering Oregonians the finest in contemporary Peruvian cuisine. And, like a home where the kitchen is its heartbeat, Andina's central kitchen fills the adjoining rooms with great vibes and fine smells. It also acts as a focal point for Peruvian art, which allows a glimpse into the country's rich culture and sets a gentle yet powerful tone.

"Peru is in my heart and my soul," says Platt, 26, as he begins to describe his parents, how they met and how he is the proud son of two cultures that brought him to this place and time.

Platt's father, John, is an Oregon native who moved to northern Peru during the Vietnam War. He served in the Peace Corps in the ancient city of Cajamarca. A Harvard graduate, John taught college physics and, on the side, taught English in the community. This is how he met Doris Rodriguez, the daughter of a local attorney who wanted his family to learn English. Doris and John began dating after the war, when John, who had remained in -- and grown to love -- Peru, took a job as the physics coordinator for the government's educational system. (As fate would have it, Doris was working in the chemistry coordinator's office.)

Peter Platt was born in Peru but, as the political scene became more unstable and dangerous for the Platts, the young family returned to Oregon, where John went to work at Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis and Doris taught Spanish.

Platt's first language -- the one still spoken at home -- is Spanish. From the belly to the soul, he grew up in a home nurtured by his parents' love of their two homelands. Meals were simple acts of great importance, moments set aside for conversation, reflection and simply enjoying Doris' Peruvian recipes. Her savory stews -- rich with garlic, onions and zesty cilantro and served with flavorful rice and cumin-scented beans and hot pepper sauce -- were the marvels of friends and family. No wonder the Platts would fantasize about opening a restaurant.

After high school, Peter went to Harvard, where he studied anthropology. After graduating, he returned to Oregon and worked at the Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy, helping to organize its lecture series. But always in the back of his mind, Platt wanted to spend time in Peru. He wanted to know the country as someone who didn't just visit relatives but who lived and contributed to the community. In 2001, through a Mercy Corps research program, he got his wish and spent many months in his mother's hometown.

When he returned to Oregon, Platt met other Peruvians who helped hatch the idea of opening a restaurant, a place that would be an authentic expression of Peruvian cuisine. Together with his parents, two brothers and friends, Platt's vision for Andina took form in a highly visible Pearl District storefront on Northwest Glisan Street. At night, against a backdrop of warm colors, traditional folk art, fine art and colorful political posters, the restaurant welcomes Oregonians with open arms.

Andina is open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch. Chef Emmanuel Piqueras Villaran creates an exciting menu worth exploring (search for The Oregonian's Sept. 9 restaurant review). Beginning after Thanksgiving, the Sunday brunch will become a family-style Sunday supper where, along with Villaran's inspired dishes, Doris Platt's stews, known as secos, will be offered.

"Guests at a poor or wealthy table would consider themselves honored to be served seco," Platt writes at the top of his mother's recipe.

He goes on to explain that seco in Spanish means "dry," which applies to this dish probably because of the way it is cooked over low heat until the liquid has evaporated, leaving a thick, succulent sauce.

Andina is at 1314 N.W. Glisan St.; 503-228-9535; Sara Perry:; The Oregonian, 1320 S.W. Broadway, Portland, OR 97201

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Story Source: Oregon Live

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Cooking; COS - Peru



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