CURIOUS DORA: The Borscht Belt – A History of the Jewish Vacationland

CURIOUS DORA: The Borscht Belt – A History of the Jewish Vacationland

Photo: Concord Hotel, Kiamesha Lake, New York – Wikipedia

The Borscht Belt: A History of the Jewish Vacationland

What Is the Borscht Belt?

Granit Hotel Country Club Kerhonkson New York Wikipedia

The Borscht Belt was a region in the Catskill Mountains where many Jewish immigrants settled and started businesses due to its religious tolerance and lack of anti-Semitism. The Catskill hotels served as a place for people to go on their vacations during the summertime and would often serve food that was like what they had at home: such as bagels, pickles, lox, matzo ball soup, blintzes etc.

(Photo: Granit Hotel & Country Club, Kerhonkson, NY-Wikipedia)

The Borscht Belt became very popular in the late 1920s with resorts such as Grossinger’s attracting celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx.* The Borscht Belt was eventually abandoned after many Jews moved away from cities looking for new opportunities.

While it is commonly thought that there are no longer any hotels left in the Catskill Mountain region, there are ruins of one resort still standing: Grossinger’s Resort Hotel, which opened on July 4th, 1925 and closed down on November 30th, 2010 after being sold to new owners.

History of The Borscht Belt

The Borscht Belt began in the late 1800s and peaked in popularity during the 1920s. In recent years, many hotel owners have had to close their doors due to competition from new hotels and new technology. The disappearance of the Borscht Belt can be attributed to a variety of different factors: changing tastes, competition from eCommerce companies like Amazon, improved travel options such as Uber/Lyft/Rideshares, etc.

The Borscht Belt was primarily a place for Jews from Eastern Europe, who came to be entertained and find their own type of leisure there. Tourists came to the Borscht Belt for work, as well as entertainment and leisure.

Grossingers ping pong Liberty New York Wikipedia

The Borscht Belt was a rural area in the United States, which became popular among Jewish farmers and their socialist communities. The “back-to-the-earth communes” as well as political discussions and readings were common activities at some Borscht Belt settlements.

The popularity of the Borscht Belt declined through the 1980s and 1990s, but has seen a resurgence in recent years.

(Photo: Grossinger’s Ping Pong, Liberty, New York – Wikipedia)

The Borscht Belt in Popular Culture

Jews were initially denied access to many resorts due to anti-Semitism before farmers started offering their places as Jewish boarding houses and hotels serving kosher food. The Workmen’s Circle and unions opened resorts in the Catskills to provide respite for workers who were excluded from other areas due to anti-Semitism. The Borscht Belt became a destination of choice by the 1950s thanks to increased economic growth during and after World War II. The development of the entertainment industry allowed for an increase in revenue, allowing it to grow even further throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

While not everyone remembers the specifics of what happened in the Catskills during the height of its popularity, many people know it was once a hugely popular resort area for Jewish people thanks in part to comedians like Jerry Seinfeld who have made references to it over the years. On an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry and George try to come up with a list of new jokes for their stand-up act. One of the jokes they develop is about how there are no more Jewish resorts because “the Borscht Belt dried up.”

The Borscht Belt in Comedy

Nevele lobby Ellenville New York Wikipedia

The humor of the region is known for being rapid-fire and self-deprecating. Typical themes include bad luck and puns. Physical ailments relating to bowels and cramping are also common topics of jokes. The Catskills became a mecca for Jewish comedians and resorts, who found humor in their own culture and lifestyle.

(Photo: Nevele Lobby, Ellenville, New York-Wikipedia)

One of the most famous comedians from the Borscht Belt is Rodney Dangerfield. He got his start at resorts in upstate New York and eventually became one of America’s most beloved comics. His signature line “I don’t get no respect” is still quoted today. His book “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs” pays tribute to this era of comedy.

Why Did the Borscht Belt Decline?

The area’s popularity began to decline in the 1950s due to a decrease in rail service, an increase in air travel, the rise of new leisure destinations and the increasing affordability of hotels. Additionally, anti-Semitism decreased after World War II, so Jews could go to different places for vacationing purposes. Today, many of these resorts have been abandoned and are now home to ghosts and various other paranormal activities.

* Notable Performers (From Wikipedia)

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
CURIOUS DORA: What is Orange Wine? A Guide to this Unique Type of Wine

CURIOUS DORA: What is Orange Wine? A Guide to this Unique Type of Wine

What Is Orange Wine?

So what is orange wine? Orange wines are made with white wine grapes. The juice from these grapes is fermented along with the skin, which gives the wine its unique flavor profile and color. Orange wines are different from both red and white wines in that they have picked up some of the qualities of red wines. Orange wine tastes completely different from red or white wine. 

Remember that orange wines are basically white wines with red traits. So if you see a bottle of wine that’s orange in color, it’s likely an orange wine. Although they might be a giveaway because of their color, remember that all types of wine should be tasted before making any judgments.

How Is Orange Wine Made?

The process of making orange wine is a little different from the process for making white or red wine. For one, the grapes used to make orange wine are white grapes, but unlike with white wine, the skins are kept on during production. This allows for more contact between the grape juice and the skin, which imparts an earthy flavor into the wine.

Another way to make red wine is by leaving grape skins on longer- which results in deep and dark wines. However, this isn’t necessary to produce an orange wine; all that’s needed is for winemakers to crush white grapes with their skins on.

After being crushed and pressed, the grape juice is then fermented. Unlike with red wine, there isn’t as much tannin content in orange wines; this is because tannins are found in high quantities in red grape skins. As a result, orange wines Orange Lineare denser in texture and have a stronger terroir than other types of wines.

What Types of Orange Wine Are There?

There are three types of orange wine: Rosé, white, and red. However, there are many different variations of each type. For example, white orange wine can be made with either Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Red orange wine can be made with Pinot Noir or Grenache grapes. And Rosé orange wine can be made from Tempranillo or Mourvedre grapes.

The color of orange wine is caused by the skin contact, not the grape itself. So even if you use the same type of grape for all three colors of wine, you’ll get a different color because the skins will have been in contact with the juice for a different amount of time.

The process of keeping the skins intact does not make orange wine natural; it just means that more flavor will come from the skin contact. In fact, some winemakers add ingredients to their wines in order to enhance their flavor profile or to cover up any flaws that might be present.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Orange Wine?


There are a few common misconceptions about orange wine. The first is that orange wines are made from a magical orange grape. This is not true! Orange wines are actually white wines that have been fermented as red wines.

The second misconception is that all orange wines will be colored orange. This isn’t always the case. The color of an orange wine can vary depending on the structure of the wine and if it’s finished in wood casks.

The third misconception is that all orange wines have a harsh taste. While some may have a harsher taste than others, it really depends on your preference. Tannins, polyphenol, and aromatic substances give these unique wines their own flavor profile, which differs from both white and red wines.

What Are Some Food Pairing Ideas for Orange Wine?

If you’re looking for some food pairing ideas for orange wine, you’ve come to the right place! Orange wine pairs well with a wide range of dishes, including Indian, Thai and Indonesian cuisine as well as pizza, stews and meat dishes.

For those who want something a bit more adventurous, why not try pairing orange wine with Korean food? The bold flavors of this cuisine pair perfectly with the fuller body and unique taste of orange wine. If you’re feeling really brave, why not give raw oysters a go? You won’t be disappointed.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to enjoy after dinner, why not try a semi-sweet dessert or an aged cheese? Both will complement the flavor profile of orange wine beautifully.

What Are Some of The Most Popular Orange Wines?

There are many types of orange wines, but some of the most popular ones include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. These wines are made with indigenous grapes that give them a unique flavor profile that is often enjoyed by wine lovers all over the world.

Radikon- This blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Italico, and Pinot Grigio is aged in wood for six years. It has a dry flavor with an orange taste.

Bric del Gaian- Made with Muscat grapes, this wine is light and refreshing with a sweet taste.

Muller Thurgau Friulano- A white wine made with Muller Thurgau grapes. It’s fruity and aromatic with a hint of citrus.

If you’re looking to try an orange wine, there are many small artisan producers who make these wines. You can find them online or at specialty stores near you. Italy is well-known for their orange wine production, and Friuli is a particularly famous region for these types of wine-grape styles.

If you’re looking for a Pinot Grigio that has honeysuckle notes, Radikon makes a great option. It’s one of the most popular orange wines on the market today. If you enjoy sweeter wines, then you may also want to try an Orange Sauvignon Blanc. And finally, if you want to explore something completely new and different, give an Orange Riesling a try!

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
CURIOUS DORA: Black Garlic-What Is It? How Do I Make It?

CURIOUS DORA: Black Garlic-What Is It? How Do I Make It?

What Is Black Garlic?

Black garlic is made from regular garlic that has been aged and roasted for an extended period of time. The result is a sweet, dark, and sticky bulb that can be used in place of regular garlic in most recipes. It has a complex flavor profile that can add something special to sauces, dressings, marinades, and more.

So if you’re looking to add a little extra something to your cooking repertoire, give black garlic a try. It might just become one of your go-to ingredients.

Black garlic in pan

Benefits of Black Garlic

Black garlic is a specific variety of garlic that has been shown to have many health benefits. This type of garlic is loaded with antioxidants which can help your body fight off disease. Additionally, black garlic can help bolster your immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids can help your body stay healthy and strong.

One compound found in black garlic, S-Allylcysteine (SAC), has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. This compound may be effective in treating various health conditions. Black garlic can also help regulate blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Black Garlic Benefits:

  • Helps fight infection
  • Can improve cardiovascular health
  • Helps lower cholesterol levels
  • May help prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading in the body

How To Make Black Garlic

The Maillard reaction is what makes things taste good, and it’s responsible for the transformation of cloves into black gold when making black garlic. In the Maillard reaction, a sugar and an amino acid combine to form melanoidin compounds that are responsible for browning in foods. The sugars and amino acids start out as simple carbohydrates (sugars) and amino acids in garlic, but the Maillard reaction transforms them into more complex melanoidin compounds.

How to Make Black Garlic with a Dehydrator

There are three different ways to make black garlic — using a rice cooker (Instant Pot), using a fermentation station, or using a dehydrator. An excellent choice is the Sahara dehydrator.

Black garlic is a product that is made by aging regular garlic bulbs over the course of weeks. The process takes a lot of patience, but it results in a sweet and sticky product. The garlic is kept at a strictly regulated temperature and humidity to achieve this consistency. It is less difficult than it is long to make black garlic, but it takes time to get that perfect super sweet result.

Black garlic is made by cooking garlic cloves in a low humidity and temperature environment. The cloves are wrapped in plastic and foil to keep them from touching each other and then placed in a dehydrator tray. Set the timer for 99 hours. During this time, the cloves are turned into a black color and develop a sweet, syrupy taste.

How to Make Black Garlic with an Instant Pot

There are a few ways to make black garlic but the most common is to place peeled cloves of garlic in an Instant Pot and set it to the keep warm function with the lid on. After 3 weeks, check to see if the garlic is done—the cloves will be black and soft. Let it sit at room temperature for about a day, and then re-store in the fridge.

(See the video below for details)

How to Use Black Garlic

Serve as an accompaniment to meat, fish or vegetables. You can also add the black garlic to dressings and sauces. Black garlic is delicious in salad dressings, marinades, or as a simple sauce for fish. It can be used as a substitute for balsamic vinegar. Black garlic is also delicious in desserts, such as ice cream or even to sweeten a chocolate cake. It will add a rich and slightly smoky flavor to anything you add it to.

Final Thoughts

Transforming cloves into black gold may seem like an arduous task, but the end result is definitely worth it. Once you’ve got your hands on some black garlic, try using it in dishes like cream of mushroom soup with black garlic or panna cotta with black garlic.

Black garlic is available in a number of forms—from whole heads to peeled cloves to a dehydrated powder—and can be found at specialty spice shops, some Whole Foods markets, and online at Amazon.

What to Do in New Orleans for One Day: A Complete Guide to The Big Easy

What to Do in New Orleans for One Day: A Complete Guide to The Big Easy

There is no shortage of things to do in New Orleans. Whether you want to explore the history and culture of the city or just enjoy a good time, there’s something for everyone. You can wander through the French Quarter and take in the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street, or head over to Frenchman Street and listen to some live blues or jazz music. You can take a riverboat cruise or visit the Audubon Zoo. The options are endless!

New Orleans is a city that has many different facets. It’s an exciting, vibrant place you can spend your entire day in without running out of things to do or places to visit. There’s no shortage of exciting activities for every member of the family either. The Big Easy offers something for everyone—indulge in the eclectic cuisine, experience the history and culture, shop, explore nature, enjoy a festival or a live concert.

So, what should you do in New Orleans for just one day? Here are my recommendations:

new orleans scaled
New Orleans (Photo by D. Saparow)

The Vieux Carré (aka the French Quarter)

If you’re looking for things to do in New Orleans, the French Quarter should be at the top of your list. New Orleans is a city where the best way to explore is by walking. You’ll explore the vibrant French Quarter, admire its characteristic architecture, and wander through cafés and boutiques. It is also home to some of the city’s most famous attractions, such as Jackson Square, Pat O’Brien’s Bar, St. Louis Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis King of France, Bourbon Street, Café du Monde and Preservation Hall.

You’ll also taste some of the city’s unique Creole and Cajun cuisine, and sip cocktails on Bourbon Street or listen to blues or jazz bands on Frenchmen Street. You can then head down Royal Street to the French Market, where you can find local farmers selling their fresh produce and handmade goods. Walk around the Garden District and see beautiful houses as well as antique shops.

For those who are interested in the history of New Orleans, there is no shortage of attractions to visit. The French Quarter is a great place to learn about the city’s past. The Cabildo is a museum that gives visitors an in-depth look at the history of New Orleans, from its founding to modern times. Another great place to learn about the city’s past is the Old Ursuline Convent, which was once a school for young women. The convent now houses a small museum that gives visitors an idea of what life must have been like in New Orleans in the 18th century.

There are so many sights in New Orleans to cover, but for a good overview we recommend touring the old French Quarter.

Start your day at the Café Du Monde

Cafe du Monde 1
Café du Monde

When Mike and I visit New Orleans, we start our day at the Café du Monde. The Cafe is a popular coffee shop for its unique atmosphere and delicious beignets. I’m not sure exactly how they make these little taste sensations, but they are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. I’ve seen them referred to as doughnuts, dough puffs, or Beignets. Whatever you call them, get some of these when you get your morning coffee—they are worth it!

Café du Monde is a really welcoming experience. The brass band on the street, the striped awning, the old-time feel of this place drenched in culture & history – it’s all about Old New Orleans. They’re open 24 hours, 7 days a week and only close their doors on Christmas day.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Parkway Bakery and Tavern Shrimp Po boy
Parkway Bakery and Tavern Shrimp Po Boy (D. Saparow)

For lunch we head to the Parkway Bakery which is a historic bakery in New Orleans that has been around since 1911. The bakery is most famous for its poor boy sandwiches, (also known as Po’ Boy,) which are split and filled with cold cuts, cheese, vegetables, and dressing. Some of the popular poor boy variations on the menu include roast beef, shrimp, oyster, catfish, and, for something different, smoked alligator sausage.

The Parkway Bakery is a couple of miles from the French Quarter but the Po’ Boys are worth the drive.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square 1
Jackson Square

Jackson Square is a historical attraction in the heart of New Orleans. The square is surrounded by beautiful, historic buildings and landmarks, including the St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo. Jackson Square takes its name from General Andrew Jackson, who fought in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.

The heart of New Orleans beats at this square, which is home to some of the city’s most famous attractions. It also has amazing artists that can create a beautiful souvenir for you, and street performers that will entertain you.

St. Louis Cathedral

The St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most notable landmarks in New Orleans. It’s located in Jackson Square, which is instantly recognizable by the towering spires of the Cathedral. The cathedral was named after King Louis IX of France and is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States.

The square pre-dates the St. Louis Cathedral, which is located on its eastern side and is listed as the oldest cathedral in North America. The cathedral contains magnificent religious artwork, gilded altar and stained glass windows.

The Cabildo

The Cabildo is a historic building located in Jackson Square in New Orleans. It was originally built as the seat of Spanish colonial government in 1799 and served as the location where the Louisiana Purchase was transferred from France to the United States in 1803. The Cabildo has been used for a variety of purposes over the years, including as a courthouse, prison, and museum. Today, it is home to three floors of exhibitions that cover Louisiana’s history.

Bourbon Street

What is the most popular street in New Orleans? Bourbon Street is one of the most famous streets in the United States, located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It is known for its nightlife, which includes street parties as well as partying in the many bars on the street.

Click here to see what’s happening on Bourbon Street right now!

EarthCam New Orleans Cam
EarthCam-Bourbon St.

Frenchmen Street

If you want a more authentic New Orleans experience, get away from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter and head to Frenchmen Street- it’s lively without being too touristy. A popular, locals-friendly spot for culture, Frenchmen Street is a four-block stretch of live music, bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Here you’ll find fewer crowds and cheaper eats & drinks. You’ll also get to encounter local talent and meet the friendly residents – it’s kind of like Bourbon Street’s hipper, trendier cousin.

Canal St & Royal St

Consider spending some time on Canal and Royal Street. Canal and Royal streets in New Orleans are two of the most popular streets for tourists. They are home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions. While it can be tempting to try to do everything on these streets, it’s often more enjoyable (and manageable) to simply wander around and take in the sights and sounds without an agenda. Who knows what you might find?

Samatha Fish
Samantha Fish (D. Saparow)

Live Music

There are many venues for live music in New Orleans. From small, intimate clubs to large concert halls, there is something for everyone. The live music scene in New Orleans is better than ever and there are plenty of opportunities to see your favorite performers.

WWOZ provides information on where to find live performances in New Orleans so be sure to check their website before you visit.

The bars and clubs in the French Quarter can get pretty crowded, so it’s best to go early if you want to get a good seat. If you’re looking for some live jazz music then head over to Preservation Hall, which offers great food and drink deals!

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is a music venue in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was founded in the early 1950s by Allan Jaffe as an art gallery and soon began hosting live jazz performances. The hall was almost destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but reopened later that year. Today, Preservation Hall is known for its traditional New Orleans jazz performances. Thanks to the efforts of aficionados such as William “Bill” Russell, much of this music has been documented and preserved.

Jazz Museum

The New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates jazz in the city that made it famous. Through dynamic interactive exhibits, multigenerational educational programming, research facilities and engaging musical performances, the music New Orleans made famous is explored in all its forms. The museum is located at the intersection of the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street – two of the most iconic areas of the city. The music scene in this area is legendary, so if you’re a fan of jazz (or just want to experience some live music), this is definitely the place to be.

Steamboat Natchez Mississippi Cruise

The Steamboat Natchez is a great way to experience the Mississippi River. It’s the only steamboat left in town and offers a trip down the river with music. Optionally, food, and drinks are available. The music is excellent, with live bands on board playing genres from all over the world.

Magazine Street

Magazine Street is a 6-mile long avenue between Canal Street and Audubon Park in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Magazine Street got its name from a warehouse that Spanish Governor Miro built to house Kentucky tobacco and other exports. The street has clusters of shops interspersed with charming homes, and a mix of renovated warehouses and shops selling housewares, pottery, period furniture, clothing, books, glass, toys, china, soaps and jewelry. It’s the ideal spot for a leisurely walk-about – with plenty of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants to provide refreshment to the tired shopper.

The main attraction of Magazine Street is the Garden District, which is located next to Vieux Carré. There are lots of shops and restaurants on Magazine Street, as well as coffee and cocktail bars. The Magazine Street Shopping District is a popular tourist destination in the Garden District.

The Garden District
The Garden District (D.Saparow)

The Garden District

The Garden District is historically one of the city’s most elite neighborhoods. It was famously home to families such as the Dumas, Destrehan, and Schirott. Today, this district continues to be a hotspot for many visitors who want to experience New Orleans’ rich history firsthand. The Garden District Tour showcases some of the city’s most illustrious homes which are perched atop lush landscaping-you’ll be sure to feel like you’ve been transported back in time! As you walk through this historic neighborhood, you’ll experience an authentic New Orleans atmosphere.

Audubon Park

The Audubon Park is a beautiful place to hang out in New Orleans. The park consists of two large lakes, the Mississippi River and over 300 acres of forest. Visitors can enjoy many different recreational activities such as picnicking, fishing, hiking and bicycling.

The paved trail that winds through the park is a great place to take a stroll. The trail is flat, level, and perfect for walkers of all ages. There are benches along the way for sitting. There are also signs posted on the side of the path to keep track of how far you have gone or how far you have yet to walk.

Audubon Zoo or Ride the Audubon Nature Boat

The Audubon Zoo is a great place to take the whole family. There are a variety of animals to see, as well as a creepy-crawly snack bar-bug appétit. if you’re looking for something more adventurous, consider taking the Audubon nature boat tour.

New Orleans City Park

New Orleans City Park is a huge park located in the heart of New Orleans. It offers a variety of activities and attractions, including an art museum, sculpture garden, botanical garden, golf course, mini-golf course, dog park, and more. The park is bigger than Central Park in New York and is definitely worth exploring if you have a day in New Orleans.

Plantations and Cemeteries

Some of the most popular things to do in New Orleans are visiting the cemeteries and plantations. There is a lot to learn and see on these tours. Places like Oak Alley Plantation and St. Louis Cemetery No.1 which provides a glimpse into the past and what life was like for those that lived long ago.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation is a popular tourist destination for those who want to learn more about plantation life in the United States. The tours are educational and cover different aspects of plantation life, including the history of New Orleans and Louisiana before the Civil War. There are full-day and half-day tours available, and pick-up points are available in the French Quarter.

St. Louis Cemetery No.1
St. Louis Cemetery No.1 (D. Saparow)

St. Louis Cemetery No.1

New Orleans is a city that has always been in love with the dead. The cemeteries of New Orleans are among the most beautiful and well-kept in the world. Saint Louis Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in New Orleans, where visitors can come to see firsthand the above ground vaults that provide a distinctive feature on these grounds.

The oldest cemetery in the city is St. Louis Cemetery #1. It has been around since 1789, replacing St. Peter Cemetery as the main burial ground after a devastating fire in 1788 and redesigning the layout of the city with it.

Tulane University

Tulane University is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street. It is located in uptown New Orleans and is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. You can walk around the campus and admire the architecture and history of this great university.

The Palace Market

The Palace Market is a hidden gem in the Flatiron District. As the day winds down, locals come to buy and sell everything from jewelry to paintings to rare records to handmade furniture. The market is open every day except Sunday.

The Palace Market showcases the work of local, independent artists. These artists create pieces that are uniquely representative of the city and its many diverse lives. The market offers a variety of items and ideas that cannot be found anywhere else.

The Rum House

The Rum House is a Magazine Street restaurant that has Caribbean influenced menu items and Mardi Gras celebrations. The Rum House is also known for its incredible popularity, with travelers visiting it at every opportunity they have. If you’re looking for a great meal and an even better atmosphere, this is the place to go. The Rum House has delicious Caribbean influenced menu items that are sure to satisfy your appetite.

New Orleans School of Burlesque

The NOLA Project and the New Orleans School of Burlesque are located on Frenchmen Street. If you’re a fan of burlesque, you’ll love the New Orleans School of Burlesque. This is one of the oldest burlesque schools in America, and it’s a great way to spend an evening.

The National WW II Museum
The National WW II Museum (D. Saparow)

National World War II Museum

For those who want to learn more about the World War II era, a visit to the National World War II Museum is an absolute must. The museum gives visitors an in-depth look at the war that was fought between 1939 and 1945. It also tells visitors about the contributions that New Orleans made to America’s victory over Germany and Japan during World War II. It contains more than two million artifacts and photographs from the war, and it is open every day except Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration in New Orleans. It usually lasts around two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The most elaborate parades take place in the last five days of the Mardi Gras season.

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras (D. Saparow)

Mardi Gras World

While in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, be sure to check out the incredible floats and artistry that goes into making them. At Mardi Gras World, you can explore the workshops and see how these floats are put together – it’s an amazing process.

Mardi Gras is a celebration of costumes, parades and King Cake. The festival is celebrated in many cities around the world, but perhaps the most famous celebration takes place in New Orleans. At Mardi Gras World, you can learn more about the history and origins of Mardi Gras as well as see some of the giant floats that will be featured in this year’s parades.

Final Thoughts

New Orleans is a city filled with exciting things to do. Whether you’re coming for Mardi Gras, a Saints game, or just want an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New Orleans has something for everyone. From festivals to restaurants to museums, there’s no shortage of fun activities in this Southern city.

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1
CURIOUS DORA: What is Dim Sum?

CURIOUS DORA: What is Dim Sum?

Mike and I were recently asked to join some friends for a Dim Sum lunch. Since I have never had dim sum before, I decided to research it so we would have a idea of what to expect and what to order.

Dim sum is a type of Chinese food that is served in small portions, typically during brunch. It includes a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet, such as dumplings, buns, wraps, and noodles. Dim Sum can be made with a variety of different ingredients such as shrimp, chicken, pork, vegetables, and seafood.

Dim sum is often considered a more leisurely dining experience than traditional Chinese cuisine and provides an opportunity to try several different dishes.

A Brief History

The name dim sum literally means “to touch the heart.” Dim sum cuisine originated in the Guangdong region of southern China before spreading to Hong Kong. The culture of eating dim sum began in tearooms in the latter half of the 19th century after opium dens were banned throughout China.

But where did this delicious tradition come from? Dim sum has a brief but interesting history. Originally, silk road travelers and traders would take breaks in tea houses for a light meal of dim sum. As they continued to travel, the tradition spread and gained popularity throughout the region. Dim sum eventually found its way to Hong Kong, where it became an iconic part of the local cuisine. And the rest, as they say, is history!

What you should know before trying dim sum for the first time.

Dim sum can be a confusing experience for those not used to dim sum items. Pay attention to what other tables are ordering and pick the same items from your carts as they do.

Cart attendants will also voluntarily showcase their items to diners and it’s perfectly polite to point and order.

Remember, most dim sum dishes are quite small. They usually feature 3-4 dumplings per order.

Dim sum is a communal meal, so it’s perfectly acceptable to order items for the table. As a general rule, order 1-2 steamers per person.

In short, dim sum is a traditional Cantonese cuisine that is typically served as a snack or course, rather than as an entrée. This means that it is not meant to be a full meal, but something to tide you over before your next meal.

Etiquette and Ordering

  1. Pick a tea to drink first.
  2. Take the lid off the teapot if you need water and wait for your server.
  3. Order your meal from a pushcart at a traditional dim sum restaurant.
  4. Use check-list menus like menu cards instead of waving an arm in the air to order your food.

What to Order

The following are popular dim sum dishes:

  1. Har gow—shrimp dumpling (steamed)
  2. Siu mai—pork dumpling (steamed)
  3. Cha siu bao—BBQ pork bun (steamed)
  4. Taro dumpling—(fried)
  5. Xiao long bao—soup dumpling (steamed or fried)
  6. Shrimp rice noodle roll—(cheung fun)
  7. Pork and vegetable dumpling—(soup dumplings) (fried)
  8. Chow fun—rice noodles with beef/chicken/pork
  9. Dumpling soup—a clear broth with dumplings (steamed)
  10. Wonton noodle soup—(with or without wontons)

Shrimp dumpling (har gow, xia jiao) — One of the most popular dishes at dim sum, these are chunks of shrimp encased in a thin translucent dumpling wrapper and served in a bamboo steamer.

Shumai (siu mai, shao mai) — These are thin, round wrappers in a cup shape and hold a filling — usually of pork, shrimp, or a combination of the two; and often a small amount of vegetables like bamboo shots, black mushrooms, and water chestnuts.

BBQ pork buns (charsiu bao, chashao bao) — These are fluffy, bready white buns stuffed with sticky and sweet barbecue seasoned pork and served in a bamboo steamer.

Char siu bau – are usually eaten with a sweet and tangy sauce called hoisin.

Chewy, rice flour noodles topped with a variety of ingredients including roast duck, pork belly and shrimp.

Chicken feet – (tau zi fung zao, chizhi feng zhao) – These are whole, deep-fried and braised chicken feet that have been cooked in a rich black bean sauce until tender.

Egg tart – (dan tat, dan ta) – These tarts have a flaky pastry and sweet, rich custard filling that originate from Macau.

Rice noodle rolls – (cheong fun, changfen) – These are large, thin, usually handmade steamed rice noodles rolled around a tender shrimp or meat center or a crispy fried dough filling.

Bun cha gio — Vietnamese stir-fried pork and vegetables in a savory soy sauce broth served on a soft bun with lettuce and cilantro leaves.

Final Thoughts

Today, dim sum is enjoyed by people all over the world. It’s a popular meal to enjoy with friends and family, and it’s often served as part of a larger brunch or dinner.

Happy Trails,

SIG DoraKSaparow 1

P.S. We will be trying Dim Sum at a local restaurant in 3 days. Now that I have a general idea what it’s about, I am looking forward to it. Afterwards, I’ll add my thoughts about how it goes to this post.