during the West Africa country’s second civil war. After finishing college in Portland and Seattle, she opened her Portland restaurant Akadi in 2018. Local eaters loved her traditional dishes like peanut butter stew and fermented cassava, but Ouattara made her restaurant a welcoming gathering place for the African diaspora. Live music, grilled meats, and cold beer provided a little taste of home.
She closed the restaurant for more than two years during the pandemic, but a taste of Akadi, which means tasty in Ouattara’s native Bambara, lived on in the form of her bottled sauces. The mild and spicy versions of her tomato-based sauces inspired her childhood time cooking with grandmother while in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Modified a little so they can be made with local ingredients, the sauces work as condiments, marinades, or the base for stews.
Spring 2022 marks Ouattara’s return, with a small store called House of Flavor selling Africa-inspired foods from both here and abroad. And the new version of the restaurant Akadi features an expanded menu of dishes from across the continent. It’s mostly traditional precolonial foods, but Ouattara is exploring food, beverages, and dessert that honor tradition but provide for creativity.
All photos are via Akadipdx.com