I loved dining at Sāmbār in Culver City. Eating here reminded me of my three months of travel in India–see the 57 videos below from my 130+ hours of travel on the public bus all over the subcontinent. The tastes and smells brought back memories of incredible meals because the food here is authentic and tasty. It opened this summer in June and is run by Akasha Richmond (who also runs AKASHA down the street for the last seven years.)
On the site of Ford’s Filling Station, Akasha’s love and affinity for the Indian culture is based on her travels to this rich and diverse country and the food is fantastic. The menu included small plates and snacks like Pakoras and Papadoms, and housemade Turmeric Naan as well as Sevpuri Chaat, Black Quinoa Uttapam and Sāmbār.
I loved everything we tried and we ate cheese thali, sevpuri chaat, coastal organic zucchini kofta, basmati rice, turmeric naan, Kachumber salad, Uttapam (quinoa pancake) and sambar (like dal) with red onion &tomato chutney. The truck stop goat curry was my favorite dish! The Ora king salmon curry was great and try the Punjabi mama greens too! The makki ki roti is gluten free. And then there is dessert including coffee ice cream pie, vanilla soft serve sundae and homemade cookie plate. I was impressed with the range of flavors and the variety on the menu.
As for cocktails,Mixologist Clare Ward oversees the cocktail program introducing spice-forward drinks using exotic ingredients such as Kokum (sour fruit from Southern India), Indian cardamom bitters, as well as fermented ingredients to name a few. Stand-out cocktails on the menu include: The Maharaja, Smuggling Monk with coffee infused scotch, Vegetable Wallah or Bangalore Blues using a turmeric infused gin.
Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster.
You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views.
With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club.
As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries.
For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.
Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals
including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo.
National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards
2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out”
2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver”
2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art
Southern California Journalism Awards
2022 Finalist: Book Criticism
2021 Winner: Technology Reporting
2021 Finalist: Book Criticism
2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt”
2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature
2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway”
2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile
2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”
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