Los Angeles Times

At this LA supper club, refugees share food and memories of the lives they left behind

LOS ANGELES - Beneath the dimmed lights of a downtown L.A. restaurant, Naseema Kashefi watched quietly as a hungry crowd fawned over the crunch of her golden samosas. Servers passed her Afghan specialty on ceramic trays while her newfound fans groaned with each bite.

The meals of her childhood served as a reminder that Kashefi's war-torn homeland is no longer safe, no longer a place where her family can stake out a future.

Now, the dish that her mother taught her to make a decade ago, in the humble confines of their Kabul kitchen, was uniting a group of strangers - lawyers, social workers, artists.

Over the next three hours, as bottles of wine drained and plates cleared, they would hear the story of how a family who once felt abandoned by the immigration system was embracing their new life in their adopted country.

"The help we have received has not been forgotten," Naseema had said earlier. "Now, in the same way that Americans have helped us, I can be of service to them through our traditions."

It was a recent Sunday at the New Arrivals

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