Welcome to Deluxe Kosher Tours

Your host, Stuart Katz, founded Deluxe Kosher Tours in 2009 with a very specific goal in mind. They seek to provide the discerning, kosher traveler with a unique travel experience, combining excellent service, accommodations and food with interesting, intriguing and enjoyable itineraries.

Stuart has twenty five years of combined experience in the travel business. Stuart is best known for his company, TAL Tours, which has served tens of thousands of satisfied travelers over the years.

 

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OUR TOURS

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DESTINATIONS

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RESERVATIONS

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Blog Posts

The Highest Capital City in the World: La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz is a city of startling beauty. It is located at an elevation of almost 12,000 feet above sea level. That’s almost 2 and ½ miles high! The city itself sits in a sunken valley in the Andes Mountain range, with the startling gray-blue, snow peaked Mt. Illimani towering over the city at an elevation of 21,000 feet.

The majority of the city’s population of 1.5 million live in the valley at the base of the Andes, while the rest live in housing located on a plateau called El Alto. You’ll see the most breathtaking view of the city at night, when thousands of lights dot the valley and crawl up the sides of the mountains.

One of the things that you’re sure to find fascinating about Bolivia is its truly unique culture. The Andean region has been inhabited for somewhere around 20,000 years, and over these many years has been influenced by a wide variety of peoples. Visiting La Paz, you’ll see indigenous Aymara, Inca, Spanish, and other South American influences on religion, music, and clothing. Even the country’s official language is a reflection of its unique heritage. Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara: all three are official languages of Bolivia.

Because of its location, La Paz is a great travel destination for adventure seekers. Those who are truly not faint-at-heart can visit Yungas Road, which in English is known as Death Road, and also affectionately deemed The World’s Most Dangerous Road. If you are an extreme mountain biker, than this is definitely a thrilling test of your expertise. The road earned these nicknames because it has more deaths per mile than any other road in the world.

If the mere mention of a seven-hour bike ride that snakes all the way from the Andes to the Amazon basin gets your pulse racing, then this is the destination for you. There are many different companies that offer biking trips down Death Road. The price of a bike ride is quite reasonable, ranging from $55-$75, depending on the type of bike, helmet, and other equipment that you may decide to rent.

If you’d prefer to not risk life and limb during your trip to La Paz, don’t worry. There are plenty of other things to do and attractions to see. One that you are sure to enjoy is a visit to Lake Titicaca.

This lake is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world; it sits at an altitude of 12,500 feet. One of the most incredible things about a lake existing at this altitude is how life has so successfully adapted. Wildlife thrives here despite the cold temperatures, high levels of ultraviolet radiation, and thin air (due to low oxygen levels).

Lake Titicaca is also a very popular tourist destination because it was once home to the great Inca empire. Ancient Inca ruins can be seen all over Titicaca, especially on an island called Isla del Sol, which translates to Island of the Sun. According to Inca legend, this island is where the sun god’s children, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca and found the Inca civilization.

When you witness the beautiful green landscape rising from the shimmering waters of Titicaca, it will be easy to understand why the Incas considered this to be such a sacred place.

Date: May 26, 2015

What to Buy in Vietnam

While visiting Vietnam, you may find it hard to resist throwing yourself headfirst into the shopping scene. Why?

Once you hit the shops in Vietnam, you will quickly discover a huge array of beautiful, colorful gifts and goods. Plus the prices are all very reasonable.

Vietnam bargains are seemingly endless, and since haggling is expected here, you can always talk yourself down to an even lower price — sometimes just 30-50% of the original asking price. Before you know it, bao nhiêu tian? (how much is it?) will be part of your regular Vietnamese vernacular.

Since you cannot bring home one of everything, however, here is your guide to shopping in Vietnam;

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City will be the busiest and most fast-paced shopping experience that you will find in Vietnam. Because it is a large city, you will find ample opportunities to find bargains. Clothing and silks from this area have a reputation for being very high quality.

District 1 is the most popular place to shop, with its many opportunities to purchase jewelry, antiques, handmade ceramic and bamboo goods along with souvenirs such as tee shirts and beaded bags.

If you enjoy bartering and a good bargain, then you should head to the Anh Dong Markets in District 5. This is a great place to find kitchen goods such as rare spices. You may also enjoy the Banh Thanh indoor markets, which are located downtown. The indoor markets are overflowing with traditional goods such as silk slippers and carved figurines as well as souvenirs such as post cards.

Hanoi

The city of Hanoi has opportunities for shopping during both daytime and nighttime hours. If you wish to shop for quality textiles and clothes, Hanoi is a great place to look. At Hanoi’s Dong Xuan Market, a three-story market located in the old quarter, you can purchase lovely silk bags for about $10 The Dong Xuan Market also morphs into a night bazaar on the weekends, making it a social scene as well as a place to buy goods such as tee shirts, wall hangings, and other handicrafts.

If you prefer a cleaner, indoor air-conditioned environment, check out Hanoi Moment on Hang Gai Street.

The country of Vietnam has more ethnic minority groups than any other Asian country — a total of about 54. Within Hanoi, you will have the opportunity to purchase handicrafts such as dolls and clothing made by these different cultures of people. Each group of people has its own distinct way of coloring, embroidering, and weaving fabric.

One thing that you should not leave Hanoi without is a traditional ao dai — a woman’s long silk dress. At some of Hanoi’s silk boutiques you can find gorgeous styles that are designed to combine both traditional Vietnamese and modern Western styles. Two good silk boutiques to shop at are Khai Silk and La Boutique and the Silk.

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay offers a unique shopping experience with its floating shops. Local residents fill small row boats with goods such as potato chips and other little trinkets and snacks. These boats are usually very well organized, so even if you do not buy anything they can be very fascinating to look at and photograph.

The best place to shop in Ha Long Bay is the night market in Bay Chai Town. Here in the open air stalls you can find many excellent traditional Vietnamese goods such as silk ao dais, chopsticks, tea sets, and Vietnamese conical hats, which are called nón las. Most of these stalls accept U.S. currency as well as Vietnamese currency, the Dong.

Date: May 26, 2015

Rosh Hashana Recipes From Around the World — Part Two

Rosh Hashana, since it has been celebrated since biblical times, is one of the oldest holidays that is still observed today. While Jewish communities around the world are united by the mutual celebration of many customs, each country has also incorporated its own unique traditions.

One of the ways this is most vividly reflected is through the menu for Rosh Hashana. This year try some of these excellent Rosh Hashana recipes from around the world as part of your family’s celebration.

Tunisia

Pkaila is a traditional Rosh Hashana dish that comes from the country of Tunisia and is customarily served with bread or couscous. When preparing it, make sure to start one day in advance so that you have time to soak your beans. Also allow a good four hours of cooking time – the dish is time consuming but worth it! This recipe comes from Mona Lumbroso, who is originally from Tunis and now lives in France.

Ingredients:

2 and ½ pounds of fresh spinach leaves
2 cups of canola, olive, or vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bunch of coriander, chopped
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
½ pound of white beans
1 and 1/3 pounds of beef (such as beef cheeks or boneless beef shank) cut into 5 pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional — harissa, a Tunisian hot sauce made of chilies, garlic, coriander, and caraway

Directions:

A day before you begin cooking soak the beans overnight in water. The day of cooking begin by thoroughly washing, de-stemming, and chopping the spinach leaves.

Place the spinach in a large frying pan with one chopped onion. Cook this over high heat until all of the water is absorbed. Lower the heat and add in the oil, stirring gently and consistently to ensure that the spinach does not burn. Cook until the spinach becomes black and crunchy, adding more oil if needed to keep it from sticking. Cooking should last 2 hours.

Next place the spinach in a cooker or stewpot without adding any more oil. Cover the spinach with water. Add in the beans, 1 more chopped onion, garlic, mint, coriander, pepper, and optional harissa. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, then add in the pieces of meat. Cook covered over low heat for 2 hours. Add salt to taste once cooking is finished.

India

These delicious little delicacies, Cornflour-Coconut Halava, are a specialty of the Bene Israel Community of India. This recipe comes from Rosy Solomon Moses of Mumbai, India.

Ingredients:

2 and ¼ cups of cornstarch (in India it’s called cornflour)
1 drop of pink, orange, or red food coloring
2 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of chopped almonds and pistachios
1 medium-sized coconut, or 1 can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of margarine or butter
½ teaspoon of cardamom
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 pinch salt

Directions:

Extract the coconut milk from the coconut (or used canned) and mix this with warm water to equal a total of 2 quarts of liquid. Sieve the cornflour and add this to the coconut milk.

Add in the sugar, food coloring, and a pinch of salt. Mix this together well and pour it into a stove-top pan.

Cook this over low heat, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking. Stir and cook for 30 minutes. Pour a little bit into a glass bowl. If it does not stick to the bowl, it is finished cooking.

Add in half the nuts, the cardamom, and the nutmeg. Mix this well, then pour the mixture into two ungreased 8” by 10” baking pans.

Tilt each pan to distribute the mixture evenly. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.

Allow to cool, then cut into diamonds or squares. Store in the refrigerator if not consumed the same day.

Siberia

This recipe for Baked Apples with Cedar Nuts in Honey uses two of Rosh Hashana’s most popular sweet treats: apples and honey. The recipe comes from Inna Vanetik, who is a volunteer for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Krasnoyarsk Hesed, or community center.

Ingredients:

5-6 apples, washed and cored
2 cups of cedar nuts (or pine nuts)
4 teaspoons of sugar
5 teaspoons of sweet liqueur
2 cups of butter
1 and ¼ cup of honey
½ cup of red wine
Ground cinnamon

Directions:

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the cored apples on a well-greased cookie sheet. Mix together the cedar nuts, pine nuts, and liqueur, and place a spoonful of this inside the core cavity in the center of each apple.

Sprinkle on cinnamon and place a piece of butter on top of each apple. Mix the honey with the wine and pour this over the top of the apples.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, and allow to cool slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream.

Date: May 26, 2015

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