Go Columbia

How I Go Columbia: Indie Grits’ Amada Torruella

In the late 1980s, Amada Torruella’s family fled civil war in El Salvador. That transition was one that changed who Torruella was and how she sees the world.

When her husband was accepted into the University of South Carolina’s biochemistry program and the couple moved to Columbia in 2014, Torruella, who graudated from the Lumière University in France, found stable ground at the Nickelodeon Theatre and began volunteering with the Indie Grits Festival.

This year, now on staff as development assistant and program coordinator at the Nick, Torruella is co-curator of Indie Grits and is helping to oversee the festival’s Latin American Food Truck Parranda on Saturday, April 22 in the 1000 block of Hampton Street, between Richland Library and St. Peter’s Church.


I love the pad see-ew at Mai Thai in West Columbia and the shrimp ceviche at the new Peruvian restaurant, Lima. Desserts at Goats are always great. Nayarit, one of the trucks that will be at the Indie Grits Food Truck Parranda, serves the best gorditas in town.


Lula Drake on Main Street offers amazing wine, and it’s nice to just leave my office at the Nick and walk a few doors down to the wine bar. The cocktails at War Mouth are really out of the box, and I just had a pisco that was amazing. The Nick staff loves The Whig, of course. It’s where we go to wind down.


I always love catching films, and I’m really excited about seeing the Future Vision block of films at Indie Grits. The films in this block are surreal and really speak to the core of this year’s festival vision. I also enjoy going to Open Book at Thomas Cooper Library. One of my favorite moments in Columbia was seeing poet Claudia Rankine there. And I’m always on the lookout for spoken word performances. The Watering Hole recently performed at the Nick and it was awesome.


I’m really looking forward to hearing Curtis Harding and Lambchop perform live at Indie Grits for Noche de Visiones, our opening night block party. I’m also excited about the new album coming out from Those Lavender Whales.


I love to hang out at New Brookland Tavern. Our music scene in Columbia is really exciting and we’re lucky to have young bands like Paper Shoes, fk mt. and Alarm Drum.