Monday, December 18, 2006


we're open!
until now, all of the entries on this blog have been written somewhat anonymously..
but now we would like to introduce ourselves!
Alanna (in the photo, on the left) is often seen with her two children, or in the Kismet kitchen folding spanikopita or making dandelion lattes. she lives in plainfield and she is lovely..
I am Crystal (in the photo on the right), and I live here in montpelier. Lately I have been seen running down the streets of montpelier collecting odds and ends, or dropping off urgent messages to city officials. If you have spoken to me on the phone recently, I am the one who is usually very emotional and ends up crying (sorry Ida and Stephanie...)
Alanna and I both bring very different aspects to our little Kismet, and yet we work well together as a team. We both pulled an all-nighter on Friday night to be able to open up our doors Saturday morning. We were pretty tired, but WOW! what a beautiful little restaurant we have!
Until we secure our necessary what-nots from the state (any day now..) we will make the final leap from a take-out restaurant to a full service eat-in establishment with about twenty seats.
Everyone who has come in so far has lovingly admired our space, I wish that Damian (my yummmy guy) could be there to hear all of the praises sent his way (he is the renovator and creator of all of our fabulous concrete tables and bars and windowsills).
Our first two days were pretty mellow,
but successful.
every new endeavor is scary and this one has brought up lots of fears for both of us. Will we succeed? Will people like our food? Can we do it?
The first two days were like a very gently yoga asana... stretching a little bit further each moment, getting comfortable, stretching some more, breathing.... affirming our strength and telling ourselves "that's it...keep going".
On Sunday morning I walked to Kismet at 6 am-still dark and chilly- and in the quietness of montpelier I thought about what I am really scared of... Its hard to verbalize.. Not being good enough I guess.. and then I got to the restaurant, and turned on the lights and just stood there soaking in the real honest beauty of it..
Sure, we've never done this before. But in the process of walking this journey we have learned so much and have met so many great people. Today Margaret at CVCAC was (as usual) particularly inspiring, and reminded me that if I can really visualize what I want than I am can believe it is possible and, in turn, can allow it to happen.
Thank you to all of the people who have helped to make this fantasy come true...
see you for breakfast on Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

giving thanks

The new space seems to be unfolding, and each day Kismet feels more like a restaurant and less like a construction zone. When will we be open? that's a good question.. We are hoping for the second week in December, so keep your eye out for us.. Last weekend was the last Montpelier farmer's market. It was exciting to see how much local food there is still available and it gave us an opportunity to connect with farmers and to see familiar faces. For the last several months we have been totally and completely absorbed in the renovation process. Everyday we meet and try to tackle the random jobs of this new business. In the face of this huge endeavor we have had to take on jobs we never before attempted. Industrial cleaning, demolition, painting, design, and repair have been our focus while trying to complete the necessary and equally intense tasks of maintaining our business through permitting processes, budgeting requirements, and idealistic goals. While working 12 and 15 hour days, we have also tended our children, and tried to keep our homes in order. There have been so many late night phone conversations, early morning dramas, and emotionally exhausting ordeals, it is hard to explain to our friends, family, or community just how intense this whole process has been. Perhaps the most profound part of this experience, however, is that despite all of the ups and downs, things keep happening that remind us that this is all meant to be. Just when we think things aren't going to work out, something shifts and we are on track again, proof that when we really put ourselves out there with total faith and honest ambition, we are rewarded with truth and humble joy. Every time we get to a place where we really need help, help just appears. We have been honored to have been able to receive help from all directions, and are so thankful for everyone who made themselves available when we were on the verge of breaking down.
Big thanks
Thank you.... maggie, johnny and marianne for your letters of encouragement and support; stefi for being ultimately available, compassionate and empathetic and for helping us with the kids, for painting and cleaning and helping the space glow; emily for making time to clean when we were about to give up; humbert, beck, kate, and theresa for your immediate response to our painting dramas; stephanie smith for your patience and attentiveness concerning our zoning questions; john armstrong for your generous support and engineering expertise; eric at capital copy for stepping in during our little crisis (you know the one); fred for being flexible and professional with your plumbing know-how, kate and lindsay for your photography and for making time when we know how busy you really are; peter next door for your encouragement, enthusiasm and pie, margaret at cvcac for being so abundantly available; jen for trusting in us, coming to new york and helping us stay on track, and all those other things you do to keep a smile on our faces; esme for the many hours you've devoted to give us much needed and appreciated support in painting, venting, and childcare; maggie and michelle, each for finding time to check in and giving us links to the right places; aaron for your patience and legal advice (we'll be in touch soon); daniel for your readiness to help with whatever we toss your way; nutty steph for your spreadsheet support, community capital of vermont for believing in us and lending us the money; kelly and trevor for being great landlords and for being open to our plans while charging us a fair and reasonable rent; kyle for getting those grills clean no matter what; Golga for being so damn generious- the cooking, the shopping, the childcare, the editing, the enthusiasm, the endless support, and the never ending love; Mariann and Terence Pratt for co-signing our loan; Paul and Pam Dorf for your loving support, informative business books and kitchen supplies; Judy Dorf for your love, encouragement, and prosperity blessings;
, kristen, raven, steph, esme, trish and aliza
for you childcare support, compassionate flexibility and comfortable charity; Kate and the vermont localvores (, who provide information and are creating a network to help people find local food (thanks for listing us on your sight!); our moon circle who really listened and helped to manifest this opportunity, dave thurston for letting us use your space, your insight and your extra materials; our children- Nihyahbinghi, Moses, Avery Dusk, and Fela for your unconditional love, laughter, and acceptance even through all the interrupted parenting time - you boys are truly gifts to us all; and Damian....who kept with it even when he was overworked, overwhelmed, and under compensated (you've done an amazing job).
Thanking you all and and looking forward to celebrating with you soon.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Do you recognize this space?
thats right, we have a website!
The plan is that this blog will post all of our menu updates, classes, and interesting news., and the website will be our home base with great links and information about us and the montpelier community. Stay tuned to both and keep your eye out for signs of Kismet.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

loan application results

3:00 pm, on my knees kneeling before my family alter,
holding jade and repeating my mantra;
"I am birthing myself right now.
held by the loving arms of my family,
I am supported."
I closed my eyes to concentrate on my goal-
prosperity, creativity, health, harmony, satisfaction.
I squeezed my eyes and sent whispers to my inevitable fate-
"I have room for success",
I whispered, and just like that, the phone rang...(actually, BOTH of my phones rang..)
At first I was so overwhelmed; all of this time waiting and hoping for a yes or no- something simple and clear, something profoundly obvious, and yet what I got was so different.

"Congratulations", Chris Rotler of Community Capital of Vermont said, but I wasn't sure what I was celebrating.
When Alanna and I began creating Kismet, we were very clear about our lack of resources. Alanna and I both have two children each and very limited incomes. Alanna has been the sole provider for her children, and my partner and I have been students up until this last year. Neither of us have ever applied for a loan, nor do we own anything significant. We have minor savings and neither of us has had a full-time job (besides parenting) for many years. Our families have been supporting us each in a number of ways for some time, so when we looked into financial resources, we decided not to ask too much of our families. This would be our own thing, OUR debt, OUR own risk.
So when Chris said that the committee is going to grant us $42,500 if we can get a co-signer to back 1/2 of it, I was excited (we were approved...well, sort of), then flooded with emotion.
I hung up the phone annoyed and frustrated, and went to tell Damian the "news".
"This is exactly what I didn't want," I told him, "I wanted a yes or no..."

In a fit of spontaneity and deep desire to own a restaurant, I went immediately to the phone and dialed my parents. Something a rarely do, emergency or not.
Unexpectedly dad was home (strange..) answered, and as soon as I told him the "news" he offered to co-sign. "Send me the papers." he said.
Deep breath.
An hour passes.

Get the laundry..
Go to the co-op.
Drink Prosecco.

Alanna calls (we agreed for me not to tell anyone until I told her- she was at a catering job), and I tell her the news...
Wow..its all starting to settle in...
we're going to open a restaurant this year..
well in November, actually...
Six weeks..
thanks mom and dad...
(my parents)

(and thank you Community Capital of Vermont!)

in the name of all things meant to be Kismet is born!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What is Kismet?

It's 11:50 pm, September 13, and perhaps the last night We'll go to bed waiting to know what Kismet is.

At 1 pm tomorrow afternoon,
the community capital of vermont will review our loan application.

We are spending these last few hours
focusing on our namesake because, in this moment, we have a unique opportunity to identify and set our intention about this endeavor and to prepare for the ultimate fate that awaits us.

no one wants to be denied anything, whether it's asking someone out for the first time, asking to borrow your parents car, applying for a loan to start a business, or asking for help in general. Usually when we ask for something, it's because we really want it, or think we do... Rarely, we have an opportunity such as this, to have to put together an educated proposal, to have to wait patiently in the space of our own intense anticipation, and to wait weeks before we have an answer. In this time we have been able to really contemplate our motives.

Why do we want to own a restaurant?

Why do we think our business idea will be successful?

How do we really know that this will be a prosperous endeavor?

It seems that most everyone is aware of the hardships and peril most restaurants face, so why should we consider our business idea more likely to succeed than statistics?

In this waiting place, we can look directly at these questions while reaching deep within ourselves touching on our own wells of trust and to look closely at what we REALLY are asking for;

to live in prosperity

a space and the time to express ourselves creatively

work that keeps us connected to the greater good of our families, our communities and to our earth

an opportunity to invest in our futures

So, if tomorrow we find that our loan has been approved or denied,

celebrations are in order because no matter what,

we believe in kismet (fate).

stay posted!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

KISMET: Fate; meant to be; the full circle of good intentions; good Karma
We, Alanna Dorf and Crystal Maderia are the excited visionaries of Kismet, a new restaurant planned to open in November, 2006 in Montpelier Vermont.

8 long months of brainstorming, writing, research and planning has brought us to the count-down of business ownership! At last, the loan application is in, so it is just one week before we get to celebrate (we hope) and launch into full-scale renovations, cleaning, organizing,and managing of our dream. Dedicated to the ethics of responsible consumerism, Kismet will offer intentionally delicious foods created with the best ingredients. Whether we have grown them ourselves, or come to know the farmers who did, ingredients are those that are sustainably raised, harvested, and purchased in an effort to connect food producers with consumers through inspired food and plates with peace in mind.

Kismet will offer

breakfast and brunch
Wednesday through Sunday 7:30am-3:00pm
including fresh seasonal juice, gluten and dairy-free baked goods, artisan meats and cheeses as well as the freshest local eggs and vegetables we can find.

Soon, Take-out meals will be available in the evenings,
featuring ethnic cuisines prepared in harmony with the rhythms of the seasons and highlighting artisan ingredients.
Each week, new meals will be offered and available in single and family servings.

Save this site to your favorites and check for weekly menu updates.

Corporate Accounts and Catering Services are our UNIQUE SPECIALTY.
Let Kismet impress your clients, family and friends with our presentation and knowledge of food.

Instructional Classes
Dedicated to the latest food trends, special diets and culinary topics, classes will be offered this fall upon opening.
save this site to your favorites for the class schedule to be posted soon.

classes include:
gluten free baking for the holidays

sourcing, ordering, and cooking local organic meat; for newly transitioned and seasoned meat eaters alike.

Cooking for Winter Wellness, a series dedicated to deeply nourishing meals for winter wellness.

Spring Broths and Wild Edible Tonics

Throughout the day, stop in for fresh fruit or vegetable juice, specialty pastry, organic coffee, or handmade chocolates and truffles.
Personalized Gift baskets, gift meals and gift certificates are also available to celebrate friends and family with the gift of exquisitely good food.

Thank you for your support,
and please feel free to contact us with questions, requests, or if you have any trouble using this blog.

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