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Multi-Cultural Day

Tucson, Arizona: I rarely run on Saturday - my day of rest - but since I missed-out on mileage yesterday due to spammers and thieves, I had to pound the pavement today. It had rained overnight, the temperature had dropped and we could see Mt. Lemmon in the distance, completely covered with a dusting of fresh snow.

Knowing the weather was going to change, we planned indoor activities today. Our first stop was to the Jewish History Museum to see their Ketubah and Wedding Gown Exhibit, showing only through February 28th. The Jewish History Museum is housed in a building that was once the first Tucson synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, built in 1910.

Jewish History Museum in Tucson

There are a few very old Ketubah to view at the Tucson Jewish History Museum. TheKetubah is the formal wedding contract signed by Jewish couples, usually just before the formal ceremony, traditionally explaining the responsibilities of the husband to his wife. The contract is signed by the bride and groom, their rabbi and must be witnessed by two Jews who are not related to the couple. The contracts used to be just an unattractive legal document, but now the Ketubah is a piece of art. In most Jewish homes, the Ketubah is framed and displayed for all to see.

Approximately 30 wedding gowns from around the world star in the exhibit. Dresses on display at the Jewish History Museum included a dark grey peasant wedding gown worn in Latvia in 1892, a gorgeous white gown with a bonnet worn in Maryland in 1820, a Sephardic wedding gown worn in occupied Bulgaria in 1941, and a gorgeous lace gown with a massive train worn in France in 1899. If you are in Tucson before the end of the month, stop by the museum and see the gorgeous gowns. Admission is only $5.

Ketubah and Wedding Gowns from France

Our next stop was to Old Town Tucson to walk around and poke our nose in a few shops at Old Town Artisans. We didn't purchase anything today, but enjoyed walking in the chilly sunshine and seeing all the shiny jewelry, Native American art and pottery for sale.

Since it is Lunar New Year, we wanted to find a Chinese restaurant so we could have a platter of noodles for good luck in the Year of the Snake. We had driven by a place near the RV park several times and noticed it was always packed. Usually a good sign. This time we made a bad decision. Chopstix Asian Bistro wasn't much more than a Panda Express with table service. So disappointed. At a place called Chopstix, we had to ask for chopsticks. The Singapore Noodles were okay, but the Baby Bok Choy with Garlic was too tough to eat and we couldn't decipher any garlic at all. Never go to a restaurant that can't spell. Anyway, Happy New Year!

DT SAYS: Based on our experience, I give Chopstix Asian Bistro a "one egg roll out of five" rating. I would have given it a "one and a half egg roll" rating, but they didn't even serve beer to wash down their barely passable food.

Next stop on our multi cultural tour? Italy. Years ago we found Roma Imports in an industrial area of town. They sell Italian groceries, cheeses, meats, coffees, sweets and make their own fresh/frozen pastas and sauces. A fantastic selection. We stocked up on a few of our favorites - including house-made mozzarella. I see a pizza in our future.

At eight o'clock we met Brother Steve and Gina at the Wild Garlic Grill, recently opened by returning local chef, Steven Schultz. Fellow gem show exhibitors, Jeff and Jerry joined our party. We had a reservation, but the place was in chaos and we were removed to the chilly patio to wait for our table. We ordered cocktails. We drank our cocktails. They offered a basket of bread to tide us over. Forty minutes later, we were seated. Though the service was lacking and the restaurant the chef is attempting is ill-suited to the space - an old A&W Root Beer drive-in - the food was very good. The menu is nearly Northwest in spectrum, with many braised meats and shanks. Schultz sources locally and organic whenever possible. With six people at the table, we were able to try many menu items, and we shared one of the most popular appetizers, Gilroy Garlic Swiss Fondue.

I would definitely return to the Wild Garlic Grill, but I hope they hire a host/hostess and wish they had a more inviting entry area - instead of being greeted by a dirty bussing station. Yuck.

Until my next update, I remain, your international correspondent.

RV PARK:  LazyDays RV Resort - Huge campground. Pull-through and back-in full-service sites, cable TV, free wifi, 2 pools, spa, fenced dog run, bathhouse, laundry, pickle ball, horse shoes, putting green, bocce ball, restaurant, bar and rally facilities. Camping World store and RV sales on-site. Security. We paid $41 per night with our Good Sam discount.