About Me

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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Restaurant review - Plum House, Rochester, NY

Our innkeeper at The Dartmouth House recommended Plum House to us when we told her we enjoyed sushi. She warned us "it doesn't look so great - it's just too... purple". Since we love purple, this was definitely not a deterrent, so off we went.

First of all, it's not all THAT purple. It's dark purple and it's a neat little place on Monroe Avenue. It's very clean and well-put together inside - a pleasant place to spend an evening over a bottle of hot sake.

Second, the sushi is... to DIE for. If you are staying in the area, walk to the restaurant and work up your appetite - it's worth it. Get one of the assorted meals so you could try a little bit of everything. Settle in comfortably. Enjoy.

Whether you opt for one of the more traditional sushi selections like a classic Philadelphia roll or munch on one of the scrumptious tempura creations - everything is superbly fresh and delicious. The presentation is beautiful - a perfect spread of edible jewels, and you almost feel bad devouring them. Almost.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Language Barrier Digest - Special Holiday Edition, 2017

Restaurant review - Roux, Rochester, NY

Roux on Park Avenue is one of those unexpected surprises - not entirely improbable but often hard to find in an American city. Sure, Yelp and Travel Advisor are good sources - but it's more fun to ask about it and see what people from the neighborhood say. We were directed toward it by our inn keepers at Dartmouth House.

Roux is not cheap - but worth every penny. If you are an Rochester for a special occasion - consider it as an option for your special dinner. It's pretty easy to get in on a weekday, but it might be helpful to call in and make a reservation.

If you are staying in the neighborhood, walk there to build up your appetite - that way, you'll be hungry enough to enjoy one of the amazing appetizers or a delicious steaming cup of French onion soup. For the French cuisine lovers - their escargot is divine! Always, always ask about the day's special: every week day has a different offering. We were fortunate to catch the casoulette (casserole) day and the poisson (fish) day. The Monday casserole special was a delicious stew of potatoes, white beans, carrots, onions, a rich, wine-seasoned broth, topped with a roasted duck leg, perfect for a typically chilly and windy Rochester evening. The Tuesday fish special was, as our excellent waiter called it, "a poor man's lobster" - tender, juicy monk fish filet, sumptuously seasoned and served on the bed of light jasmine rice.

The desserts are on par with the rest of the menu, and the staff is always happy to recommend just the right wine to go with every course. The last but not the least, if you want to revive your inner Moulin Rouge bohemian, there is the absinthe bar. I am not into absinthe - I don't like the anise flavor - but my husband is. He definitely vouches for the absinthe cocktail and straight absinthe selection.

Pick a day and pop over there - you won't regret it.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bed and Breakfast review - Dartmouth House, Rochester, NY

Dartmouth House Bed and Breakfast is located in the part of town I've seen very little of in my five years in Rochester, NY. a) I was very poor at the time. b) I was extremely busy (going to school and working full time to put myself through school). c) The area was hovering on the edge of a bad neighborhood at the time - it just wasn't a place anyone particularly wanted to visit.

I was happy to discover the area has been brought back to life through the effort of the city and its citizens. Jobs were created, bus routes were improved, old houses - restored, public library and YMCA - expanded with new programs and new members seeking education and jobs. In short - the neighborhood is looking good these days, drawing more visitors to its eclectic restaurants, shops, and museums.

Dartmouth House has a long history - having started as a family home in 1905, it turned bed and breakfast early in its long history. In 2013, Dartmouth House was almost completely destroyed in a terrible fire (fortunately, no one was hurt). It was rebuilt and opened its doors to delighted travelers in 2015.

What can I tell you? It is a lovely place. Small. Personable. With a delicious breakfast served by lovely, friendly people. What's not to love? But wait, there is more! Compared to a hotel with far inferior accommodations and services (how many hotels have a cozy sitting room with a HUGE couch, a fireplace, and round-the-clock complementary port service?), the place is pretty affordable.

If you are a year-round traveler and don't mind the Lake Ontario weather between the months of October and April, get your walking boots on, and venture out to all the amazing places less than a mile away from Dartmouth house - such as George Eastman House and Memorial Art Gallery. Venture out for a steaming bowl of delicious pho at Southeast Asian Restaurant on the corner of Monroe and Dartmouth or pop over to Roux for an intoxicating evening of absinthe and French food. It's delightful!