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Mindy Trujillo

“Ain’t Too Proud” at the Aronoff Center: A night at the theatre

If you’re not tempted to see “Ain’t too Proud”, the story of the Temptations, you should be. The show runs through March 27th here in Cincinnati. Some moments felt like I was attending an actual Temptations concert. Others, I was taken to church. From the more innocent Doo-Wop tunes to the edgier soul and R&B songs, every single moment on stage is musically magical.

As a literature teacher, I’m in love with the way songs weave in and out of the story of the Temptations (and all their iterations leading up to that name). Otis Williams, the leader, original founder, last member, and heart of the group walks us through this story of musical harmonies, troubled pasts, and the quick rise to fame. Even though I had a mask and no one could see it, I smiled the entire freaking time— at least through the first half.

(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid
(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid

We all know a second act brings conflict, climax, and eventually a resolution. Just not always the one we had hoped for. Troubled relationships. Egos exploding. The price of fame. All while growing unrest on the home front includes riots, civil unrest, and the Vietnam War. In an attempt to be the first big Motown crossover group, the Temptations, those layers of harmonies, never quit singing even though their attitudes toward those layers of unrest weren’t always in perfect harmony.

(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid

But back to those voices. Those moves. Being, for a couple of hours, in the heart of the Motown family, is something special. So go. Definitely go! But just be prepared. If Act 1 is a feel-good, get your groove on, sing-a-long, Act 2 is a heartbreaking, sobering, slowed-down review of history and the destructive power of fame— even among brothers. As the musical imparts, “The only thing you can rewind is a song!”

(C) 2021 Emilio Madrid

What is absolutely consistent throughout the entire tenure of the show, is the smoothest, slickest, grooviest dance moves you will ever see. Unparalleled. And those voices BLEW. ME. AWAY.

P.S.- THE choreographer is a Trujillo. No relation that I know of— claiming him anyway.

GO THERE (Aronoff)! TRY THAT (seeing “Ain’t too Proud” and other shows)!

Mashroots Mofongo Bar in College Hill

If you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you are probably familiar with Mofongo– a dish of fried plantains paired with meat. Unfortunately, I have not yet been to Puerto Rico, but would love to visit. In the meantime, I will just pretend to by hanging out at Mashroots in College Hill.

Mashroots started with a couple of friends wanting to bring the taste of Puerto Rico to the midwest. What began as a partnership with Findlay Market Kitchen, where they were able to develop their concept, is now a bright brick-and-mortar restaurant in College Hill. We’ve dined in and gotten carry out. It’s always delicious.

Opening in 2020, Mashroots is a Mofongo Bar. It’s a fast-casual and contemporary play on the popular Mofongo dish. When ordering, you start your bowl with a root of choice: plantain, yuca, sweet potato, or taro. I love the yuca. The root gets smashed to create a well for all the other goodness about to come. Next, you add meat: steak, pork, shrimp, or chicken. You can also do a vegetarian option with beans. I cannot tell you how each of these meats is cooked; however, I can tell you I’ve tried the pork and steak and the marinade for both is delicious and original. Next, you pick from veggie toppings and slaws finished with a variety of sauces. It’s filling, fresh, and full of flavor.

They also have some interesting sides like Empanadas, Plantain Cups (filled with meat, veggies, and sauce), Sweet Plantains, and Yuca Frita (better than french fries)! I’m always a fan of empanadas, but I also really like these Plantain Cups.

For dessert, don’t leave without trying sweets such as chocolate treats, coconut flan, and my favorite: passion fruit mousse. Mashroots serves desserts from all over Latin America. If you’re full, get a variety box for the road.

GO THERE (MashRoots)! TRY THAT (Build a bowl with yuca, pork, and avocado lime sauce; Passionate Fruit Mousse)!