NEW LIFE ... Light Tree Apartments in East Palo Alto celebrated its expansion with a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 12, which just happened to coincide with Affordable Housing Month. The development at 1805 E. Bayshore Road now includes 185 apartments and townhomes of which 128 are new, and 57 are renovated. The project was a collaboration between nonprofits Eden Housing and EPA Can Do, as well as the city of East Palo Alto. Built in 1966 on a 3-acre plot with 94 affordable apartments, the renovation nearly doubled the number of homes on the site. The improved Light Tree includes residences for low-income families, former foster youth and people with disabilities. Local elected officials were scheduled to appear at the May 12 event, including state Sen. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo; San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum; East Palo Alto Mayor Lisa Gauthier; and representatives for U.S. Reps. Kevin Mullin and Anna Eshoo and state Assembly member Diane Papan. The guest list also included Denise Jauregui, executive director of Housing Choices, and the leadership teams from Eden Housing and EPA Can Do.
A CELEBRATION OF CULTURES ... The 52nd annual Stanford Powwow returned to the university's Eucalyptus Grove last weekend, giving community members a chance to embrace Native American and Indigenous communities. The free three-day event, which was held May 12-14, ran under the theme of "Intertribal Unity." The Powwow's energy was captured in Stanford's recap video published on May 17. The footage shows food and clothing, as well as items from vendors such as jewelry, dreamcatchers and crafts. "I see it as an opportunity for other people to see a part of my culture and other people's cultures and just enjoy the weekend," Nena Dorame, co-chair of the Powwow, said in the video. The event draws an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 each year and is one of the larger powwows across the country, according to Dorame. "I think it's an awesome experience because you really get to see some of the similarities and some of the really big differences between different tribes in the regalia especially," fellow co-chair Landon Swopes said in the video. "It is a fantastic cultural opportunity."
COOKING UP INSPIRATION ... Someday soon, the culinary secrets of some of the delicacies available at the popular Peninsula-based Pakistani restaurant chain Zareen's will be laid bare in the pages of a new cookbook by the couple that founded the restaurant. Zareen Khan, the chef and restaurateur behind the eatery with locations in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Redwood City, is teaming up to write the cookbook with her husband, Umair Khan, who's an author in his own right: He wrote "College Application Hacked" about how to write personal essays for college admission applications. Zareen said she has been collecting recipes for some time now and was ready to look for a publisher. Working with an agent, the couple found a publisher, Sasquatch Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and recently signed a contract. The book is more than a year out from publication, they said. It's expected to focus on the recipes Zareen grew up with in Pakistan and how they evolved after she married and moved to the U.S., where she has worked to recreate from memory some of the foods she grew up eating. "It will also have some recipes for people who are new and want to experiment with Pakistani food," Zareen said. For instance, they're planning to include the recipe for their Memoni samosa, which helped the restaurant receive Michelin Guide recognition, Umair said. As he sees it, the couple has three goals with the cookbook. First, every cookbook should provide instructions on how to prepare the recipes. The second goal is for the book to be a thing of joy. Third, they want to promote a mission of women's empowerment. Zareen's inspiring personal story as an entrepreneur, South Asian immigrant and mom of three is part of the message, he said.