We’re back! After a several month hiatus, we are back out on the town! Spring is here and what better way to start off the season than with fresh and light Mediterranean cuisine followed by an explosive contemporary dance performance featuring the work of two Israeli choreographers?
We were thrilled to be invited to dine at the new Mandolin Kitchen on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, which offers an intimate bar entry and expands into a beautifully decorated and inviting dining room with a cottage feel. It was a lovely evening, so we opted to sit in the fully-enclosed, light and spacious patio, amidst the cobalt blue décor, wood and stone walls on top of the ornate tile floors. A great space for a private event!
Owner and operator Berat Tosun spoiled us with an assortment of delectable dips, which included a dark, deep red, hot and spicy ezme, a white, cool and comforting labne and a fragrant htipiti with fire-roasted peppers, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Each dip was as delicious as the next and was accompanied by a selection of tasty Mediterranean breads. The stuffed grape leaves (dolma) included pine nuts and were simply divine. Tosun paired our meal with Turkish white wines, the Umurbey sauvignon blanc for Michal and Kavaklidere for Jen.
We were then served a whole Mediterranean sea bass, flown in from Turkey. The fish, perfectly grilled, light, flavorful and flakey, literally melted in our mouths. It was accompanied by a fresh chopped salad with a simple lemony dressing and light, fluffy rice. Another mouthwatering dish was the lahana sarma, cabbage rolls stuffed with lamb and rice, served with a Turkish yogurt.
To quench our thirst and freshen our palates, another round of wine was served with our decadent dessert sampling of kunefe, shredded phyllo dough stuffed with cheese and topped with pistachio nuts, along with baklava and ice cream. Oh my! The service and food were both impeccable and we highly recommend Mandolin Kitchen for its ambiance, food and outstanding service.
With full bellies, we headed to Kennesaw State University’s Dance Theater for a stunning Israeli-choreographed, contemporary dance performance, featuring BODYTRAFFIC, a world-renowned contemporary dance company from Los Angeles. It is internationally recognized for its high caliber work and palpable love of dance.
We were mesmerized by the two-piece performance. The first was choreographed by Hofesh Shechter, who is known for his earthy and blunt style, powered by action and raw energy. The soundtracks he chooses tend to be moody and tense. Very often the movement looks animalistic (predatory swoops, chimpanzee lopes, lizard-like wriggles) which gives the choreography a fierce dynamic. “Dust” was the name of the piece. The soundtrack and choreography were unnerving and uncomfortable while beautiful and deeply moving. There was something so surreal and unusual about the movement that it took you to another place, and although the dance was deeply psychological and heavy, you didn’t want it to end. Avant-garde dance at its best.
The next piece was choreographed by Barak Marshall, known for his masterful use of gesture. The dancers communicate with movement focusing on sole articulations of the hands, arms, and shoulders, which has the effect of a conversation. Costumes are peasant-like, with earth-tone dresses for the women and suspenders for the men. Marshall’s works take inspiration from literature and history, and exude emotion, anger, humor, love. The piece was titled “And at Midnight, the Green Bride Floated Through the Village Square…” It was light, funny and uplifting. Just what we needed after the heaviness of “Dust.”
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