Lata Mangeshkar’s voice lilting out of our speakers as we drove down the 5 freeway on Friday night, marked the beginning of Indian theme night. We walked into India Sweets and Spices in Atwater Village, which is the best AUTHENTIC vegetarian South Indian restaurant in LA. If you like your Indian with a side of lamb and chicken, this is not the place for you. But if you have a hankering for masala dosas, idli sambhar, and spicy upma then grab your spot in line while you check out the fresh choices for today’s meal. After ordering our #3 combos (a steal at $7) we sat down in front of the TV blaring out the latest Bollywood film clips to enjoy our saffron rice, lentils (daal), garbanzo beans (chaana), flatbread (paratha), vegetables (usually spinach, cauliflower, or potato-based) and papad. I always make the mistake of downing the massive samosa first, leaving little room for much else.
Photo Courtesy: David Prasad/Flickr
After sipping down the last of our mango lassis, we headed downtown to East West Players to catch the world premiere of Shane Sakhrani’s “A Widow of No Importance,” directed by Shaheen Vaaz. Set in present day Mumbai, the play delves into traditional and contemporary themes highlighting the generational clash between Deepa, played convincingly by Lina Patel, and her children, Tara and Manoj. My non-Indian friends and I were letting out hearty guffaws at the highly talented cast, which includes Puja Mohindra as the daughter and Parvesh Cheena in multiple roles. Anjali Bhimani, the determined matchmaker Lalitha, cracked us up every time she graced the stage. The chemistry between Sunil Malhotra’s sweet Vinod and Deepa was palpable and lit up the entire room. Check out the play LA Weekly calls “hilarious, clever, and realistic” before it closes on October 9.