Monday, December 29, 2008

new years day brunch

New Years Day Brunch
January 1st 9am-2pm
We are celebrating our 2nd birthday!
Join us, and enjoy a special menu of decadent offerings like
Maine Lobster Benedict,
Vermont oyster mushroom and truffle frittata,
house cured salmon carpaccio, crab and quail eggs,
flaming banana strata, special cocktails (yes-bloody mary will be there too),
house favorites from our everyday menu, and other surprises!

intentionally delicious
rejuvenate, nourish and celebrate!
207 barre st, montpelier 802 223 8646

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

csa lottery

make a contribution to our
csa lottery, and each month we will match
contributions and help to
purchase a csa for a local family!
so far this month we have collected nearly $120.00!

Monday, October 27, 2008

nathina roy

As you may have read in our last entry, we did draw a name out of our hat for the recipient of the CSA Lottery- and for the last week, i have been gathering information about this recipient and trying to write something in my head that could be coherent enough o publish..
For the last two years, Alanna and I have completely given ourselves to KISMET and all that that means to us- and in it we have continued to talk to each other about what our vision of this place is and how what we do here means in the grander picture..
three weeks ago we decided to begin a csa lottery as a way to invoke change and excitement and conversation in our community- we put it out there to our customers, and witnessed an overwhelming response- in just two weeks, we raised 200 dollars and were able to match that with another 200 dollars of profit that we raised from sales to put towards a csa for a deserving individual or family in our community.. we thought that we would be supporting our farmers while educating people about csa's and also providing a deserving person with the gift of local organic food for a season..
then i met nathina..
Nathina Roy is 28 years old, she is a single mother who grew up in williamstown and is currently a working student employeed at Dog River Farm and CCV. When I met Nathina, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I've NEVER SEEN HER BEFORE and that, though we both have boys attending the same school, and have both lived in the same town for the last few years, and are the same age, she was completely unfamiliar to me... this shook me- i instantly wanted to know her and was simultaneously overwhelmed by the situation--- here i was offering her this gift and sitting in the "giving" position, and all the while looking at her knowing that there really was not that much different between us-.. I could see the awkwardness- as if i was interviewing her- asking about her relationship with her child's father-- asking about her history, asking what she studies in school- talking about her financial situation--etc.. what a trip!
Because there really was little separating us..
Nathina Roy is our CSA Lottery benefactor--
and i am so glad that she is-
she was nominated anonymously, and has no idea who could have nominated her, except for maybe her boss at Dog River Farm-
And when we talked about how the CSA could be most helpful for her, she confided that because she works at a farm in the summer, a summer csa would be generous, but not the sort of help she needs most (especially with the winter on it's way). So we spoke about alternative ways that we could help, and reminded her that we basically have $400 to put towards local organic food for her and her son. If she had ideas of how we could use it, she should let me know.. we looked at Pete's Greens winter csa ($800), and talked about how we could make that happen-
the more we spoke, the more i just wanted to give her boxes of food myself- surely i could buy $400 worth of food and spread it out over 3 months to get her through the winter- or maybe even give her $400 worth of restaurant credit-- who knew- there has to be a way to make $400 go far enough to really help a single mother through a vermont winter!? And, at the same time, i felt like i had such a great experience in this process so far, i couldnt imagine not figuring something out- in many ways i feel like i have been the "nathina" - i am very resourceful, so gifts often have to be modified to my specific needs-and often others have been frustrated with me about that- but i am hoping, instead, that nathina will help us understand how we can help most and put our humble effort in the right direction--
stay tuned for more-
nathina will call tomorrow and tell us how we can feed her most with $400-

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

it takes a village (or at least a restaurant in a village)

so, as you may have read earlier on--
we have been working on a new project- (read october 2008 post below)
thanks to many contributors, and a radical response from our customers- our first CSA LOTTERY was a huge success--
not only were our sales up this month, but we also collected $201.00 in donations that will go directly to a local person in the form of a 2009 CSA.
Customers and visitors to kismet donated a minimum of $5.00 (some donated as much as $40.00) in order to nominate a local person or family for our CSA drawing.
we drew today, contacted the beneficiary, and will tell you all about it this week!- check out the next blog entry!

in the meantime-
thank you:
eva spera
rebecca kraemer
joel chaves
alexis hurley
flo miller
lindsay armstrong
ellia cohan
jaime, noah and eden
jim higgins
alexis smith
jd & colleen
srah adelman & rob kidd
joyce cosimano
shaun, sarah & noah keeley

Thursday, October 02, 2008

slow food

today marks the 2 year anniversary of when we began kismet at 207 barre street in montpelier vermont.. we purchased the existing business and went from the signing to the bank to the space, where we and our wee children lifted tiles, took down partial walls and began deep cleaning and organizing.. it has been a slow process, but hearty and fluid and fast moving..
today marks the first vice-presidential debates involving a woman.. unfortunately, the woman representing the "woman" is not my favorite.. i feel concerned and intrigued and nervous... where is this world headed? a question bigger than me, i guess, bigger than any of us alone, i guess.. but together, together we steer---but where?

ok.. that was deep, but, you know life is deep and dark sometimes, and like raw unsweetened chocolate, or hot peppers off the vine, not un-enjoyable...just have to know what to do with it, i suppose. so with the awareness that our current food and fuel crisis are at a critical point, owning a restaurant has become a heavy and serious matter.. kismet is doing fine, which continues to bring me comfort, but i still feel like our success is completely dependant on others.. how do we give back, when we can only just give to ourselves? we give what we can--but what if that is only a little bit? how do we make this work, show that little things matter, feel the success of our success when our success is so vague?..
we step up, like ballerinas on toe, yogi's on one foot, or eager lucid farmers in february with lights and seed in hand in a dark basement, we do what we feel called to do, we stretch a bit further and try something brave..
in honor of all that everyone who supports kismet has done for us in the last year, in honor of all who have waited patiently for us to evolve, in honor of all those who are suffering financially, we have decided to stretch and experiment a little further..please read below- i think you may find this interesting,
we have decided to do something different....
i have so much more to say on this subject (and i haven't even touched on the snail picture in the top right hand corner)- but i will say that slow food, small communities, big risks, and trust are involved-- and everyday, we all know it applies to us..
read on:

In our work at kismet, we have been very fortunate in our experience.
We are surrounded by beautiful foods, an energetic and joyful community, and the constant reflection of ourselves through good work.
We have been blessed to have this opportunity to fulfill our vision,
and are constantly reminded that the success of this business
relies most crucially on the success of our relationships.
The relationships we have with our employees, neighbors, customers, farmers and food producers have given us immeasurable support and inspiration,
and we have learned so much through the simple work of co-habitation.
At the moment, most everyone we know
is being affected and is concerned about current fuel and food costs.
We too, are concerned,
and hope to do our part in offering support to our local farmers and friends
who may struggle the most this year.
Single Mothers ourselves,
we understand how critical every bit of help can be,
and understand that there are many Vermonters each year who have to sacrifice purchasing quality food in order to pay for heat or transportation.
This is why
this winter,
we will match donations and purchase one CSA each month for a local family.
You are invited to participate,
and we hope that you will join us in making sure that our friends and neighbors are fed well, while constantly making an effort to make more friends and broaden our neighborhood.
With love, Crystal & Alanna

Make a contribution to our CSA lottery, and each month we will match the contributions and purchase a CSA for a local family.
How it works:
For each contribution of $5.00 or more
You will make a nomination of someone you would like to see receive a free CSA
(it’s o.k. to nominate yourself)
Give us your contact information
Each month we will match $200.00 and purchase a CSA from a local farm.
Read our blog to find out who will receive the CSA each month.

Do you have ideas of other ways we can help?
We’d like to hear your ideas.
Send us an email at

Monday, September 29, 2008

share the harvest

Share the HarvestOctober 2, 2008
Eat at KISMET October 2nd and Benefit Vermonters in Need.
A portion of your dollars will go towards helping low-income Vermonters purchase CSA shares from their local farmers. Thank you for making a difference in helping to fight hunger, improve nutrition, and support Vermont's sustainable, family farms!
Visit for more information.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

welcome joel

here is joel- come into kismet and help us welcome our newest employee! joel lives in the northeast kingdom, works at Langdon Street Cafe and Claire's.. in his free time he likes to enjoy his free time!

welcome joel!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


lots of very ripe tomatoes
rotting fruit and lots of empty mason jars
ideas overflowing \that when left for too long
or with too many commitments
like the maggots out of the compost..
tried to do too much today.
tried and tried
and screamed and cried..
customers who say thankyou
but wih worried eyes..
as if they are apologizing for my tired body that serves them.

i am not a machanic.
nor am i a machine.

i am an artist
trying to make good of
perfect potatoes
okra longer than ive ever seen it (even in mississippi)

but i am a lover too
needing love and needing to make love within still moments.

i tried to fix the espresso machine today.. tomorrow i will call a mechanic
and instead of yelling at the dishwasher i will
steal her away
and make her smile true

i want to tell everyone how thankful i am and
still how hard we are working to
do our best
be good
and thrive in this abundance
and complement eachother.
if you see me-
and do good work.
feed hungry children
help a farmer
be open minded
love abundanty
but lets all help eachother to know when to surender to the
when to stop and be still
to let go of the fear that there wont be enough
to enjoy all that we have had
and to not wallow in what could have been.

i love kismet
the truth that all the hard work does not go forgotten.
that if we work hard we hill be given treats and favors.
i love seeing myself here-
but honestly i am still learning
and often i do not feel like i am enough.
tonight- after a very long week- i will go home and work on that.
and rise
to that
and meet you in that


Friday, August 29, 2008

slow and dreamy

slowing down to enjoy the end of summer-- yes it's true, it's the end of summer- and anticipating the nostalgia of autumn. bushels of corn by the back door- a case of green beans...lots of tomatoes and ... HOORAYYYYY---blueberries still!

these last few days at kismet have been slow and dreamy- sunny and cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon- and few customers.. we dont mind though- we've been chatting and catching up and looking at cookbooks and eating!!

today i am enjoying a bowl of black beans, simple, subtly spiced, and with just a bit of raw milk cheddar- yumm.

special today:

wanna join my club?


local free range chicken breast, organic local bacon (stuck in the fridge last night by art-our ham man), local tomato, local (get the idea?) greens, fresh local pesto, chevre (yes..local too!)- you know, all the good stuff- served on a toasted and layered artisan roll by la strata bakery.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

local peaches

the fridges are full of local foods and i am more inspired than i have been in a while.. today; zucchini pancakes topped with poached eggs, house roasted cherry tomatoes and basil... tomorrow- walnut and raisin strata with Cinnamon and vanilla served with these especially fragrant peaches and vanilla scented cream... yumm..

Thursday, August 07, 2008

middle of summer- still raining

we're back after having taken a week off-

and we've jumped right back into things- weddings, the end of summer vacation for our kids and the restaurant.. oh- and the green beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, broccoli, blueberries, blackberries, and all of the other little garden treasures flooding our kitchen right now. Today- still rain though- so we have fresh tomato soup with basil aioli and grilled cheese on olive focaccia, and polenta dishes piled high with the whole assortment of vegetables delivered from the local farmers.. we are doing all this- all of us- working, cooking, eating, going on and on trying to do our best but still aware of the coming seasons, the gas prices, the potential costs of sticking around here this winter.. it's been cloudy, the chickens are laying less, the melons just aren't ripening, and the lettuce greens have been beaten and blown and even though it's been a good berry year, few can really enjoy it when the cost of a pint is right around $5.00. We're here in that too- encouraging our farmers, making the most with what there is, and trying to manipulate the expenses so that everyone (even our customers) are able to profit even just a little. The calender urges us to celebrate the summer- keep the swimsuit nearby, the charcoal int he back of the care --just in case-, but around here we are all talking alot about the REAL COST of this year, this place (vermont), and our individual preparations to endure it all. In an effort to support our local economy and the health of our community, we are continuing to strengthen our commitment to source as much local food as we can-- it is LOCALVORE month by the way- and want to encourage you to think about things you could grow or forage that we may want to buy-- like micro greens (those baby broccoli, basil, and sage mixes are really good, and sunflower greens are really easy to grow), home-made jam, pickles (i love pickled carrots!, pickled beets etc..), potatoes, garlic, shallots (these are all really easy to grow around your yard and make nice easy lawn perimeters). Or maybe think about planting some peach or plum or apple trees, berry bushes or even grapes (we will buy what you have at market price).
i'm rambling and i have to get back in the kitchen. come see us soon- or send us your comments of ways we can serve you (or how you can help us serve you).

Friday, July 04, 2008

its been a while...

its been a while
since ive written...things just all started to happen so fast, and the heat of summer, and the rapid growth just, well... kind of overwhelmed us here..

lets see..

spring birthdays--both alanna's and mine, and moses too and so many others...then there are the baby spring greens that come in with such tender and earnest eagerness--they come in and sing to us "use me, use me, use me quick!!",and well, we do our best and try to be the instrument that the song of spring wants to come through..

and now, well, this message comes at 12:30 pm, with me just really returning from my first real vacation in 10 years and sitting with kismet and the first snap peas of the season (stuffed in the fridge in big bags next to the first brocolli) and looking for words to describe who, when, and why i am here= everything just comes together and at the same time, emphises how sepreate things are.. i guess owning and running a restuarant and being a member of montpelier's close community and being a single-mom and, well being me, can be kind of overwhelming.. but in the spring, and in the summer it doesnt seem so bad--it just kind of grows on me, like the wild grape leaves and the bright moss and like how the artimisia just stand so tall by everydoorway, we too just kind of get a bit stronger, more alive and wild and free....i like that--dont you?

this spring at kismet we have explored the new local cherries, we have miandered through the many flavors and depths of the cheeses emerging from jasper hill's new caves and we have celebrated the earliest and freshest greens from the vermont herb and salad company.. our customers seem happy (it's actually really impossible to tell from my perspective) and we are all learning so much.

stefi has rejoined us, meagan and kelly have become trully exceptional, sara grace and alexis hurley in the kitchen have helped to fine tune somethings as well as lightened us with their vocal charms --and us--well we are still here everyday and honestly falling more and more in love with this process..

a recent talk with basil reminded me that love and intesity are not the same thing..

honor each equally and and watch the seasons go by...............

by the way---our pistou at the moment is amazing!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

its spring..?? again..


do you know the joy of dandelion?
i do..
jaded leaves-jagged and bitter--- ready to make my winter liver glow... yellow blossoms-promising fine fall wine- tempting children with the "pick me pick me" blossom of the first steady blossom..
i know spring.
i long for it all winter long
i was born in its quaking song.
i know wild leeks.
i know spring eggs.
i know easter
babbling brooks..
i know mothers day.
i know what it means to ask for something
and get it.
and here i am in vermont
really loving vermont
and still pining for other places.
but i am here because it is spring
and i know two or three months of summer will follow
and it is my desire
and my challenge
to celebrate those who celebrate
these next two months with me..
broccoli in the green house..
cauliflower on the rise.
radishes and spinach all summer.
kale beyond disguise.

and love
where is love?
it is in the air we all know.
wedding bells
and babies being born..
and homes built
and summer vacation before first grade
and tomatoes from the garden
and swimming,,,,,......................................................
where is love?
in the micro basil..
in the raspberry patch..
in the walk after midnight
in the heart
of it all..

Thursday, January 10, 2008

thinking about spring? us too..

i miss how the air feels on my skin- seems like i'm covered in multiple layers all the time now.. i miss green leaves and fresh local braising mix.. i miss long sunny afternoons and swimming.. i miss summer, it's true- and though i appreciate that it is winter that makes me appreciate every fleeting moment of summer, i can't help but feel that longing pulling at me a little..
When Alanna and I decided to close Kismet for all of February, we did so thinking that we would use that time to take a little winter vacation. We've both been working over 50 hours a week at kismet since last year as well as single-parenting each of our two children, and taking care of life's little miss-haps.. We fantasized about puerto rico, mexico, callebra, new orleans, and long hours lying in bed reading those books we've heard about on the new york times best seller's list.. I thought that I would take care of my book tour- i initiated and booked radio interviews and made little tour plans in my head- But alas, as the harsh reality of another vermont winter continues to deplete and demand all of our energy and attention, it feels like all we can do just to get our car out of the driveway and feed our children something other than miso soup and dumplings..

Oh summer-- find me now. i crave your fire and creative sparks- i want to walk the streets during your 9 pm sunset, and know that if i choose to drive your long open highways i can do so without fear of an ice or snowstorm.. I want to use the $200 a month i spend on heat to go towards something fantastic and long lasting- a trip to the beach, or towards a summer home in the baja of california....
I have a feeling that a lot of people in this town feel the same way right now-- we all are enduring winter, because we're vermonters, and that's what we do- we stay inside for days at a time, we look deeply at ourselves, our homes, our health, our secret desires for ourselves as individuals. And we fantasize about how after this winter, after we are rejuvenated by this coming spring, we will enjoy the coming summer more furtively than the last, and we will sort it all out
so that next year,
next year it will be easier (and maybe we will plan a little better too and take that darn trip to callebra..) .
Don't get me wrong, i appreciate months of meat and root vegetables.. I like cozy afternoons by the fire and how quiet the world is after fresh snow- i love going to bed early, watching movies, and the warmth of friends as we gather for meals. I love it when every branch of the trees are covered with ice or snow- i love the feeling i get when i open a jar of locally made preserves or pickles in the coldest months, and i so fully appreciate that every potato, beet, carrot, onion, and garlic that i pull from the pantry was grown nearby in earth that i can almost smell, harvested by humble hardworking hands like mine, with the intention to maximize every moment of our momentary growing season so that we can sustain ourselves and each other all year long.. Can these beets and garlic be enough? As I ration them out and try find new and excited uses for rutabagas and carrots, can i use this time to appreciate the little things? Can i really know simplicity and love it? how simple is a winter in vermont though?
Tomorrow morning the photographer from the seven days will come to take photos of our food for next week's paper.. We are featured as an organic local foods eatery and continually talk about how dedicated we are to the local foods movement and seasonal heirloom recipes. We make crepes with local organic flours, we limit our fruit and vegetable selections to those locally grown, and use only local meet and cheeses that are hormone free.. and tomorrow at ten am i will make a crepe dish and a salad for him to photograph for the paper... now- at the moment we have 5 pounds of beautiful mesclun mix in our refrigerator that has been flown in from california.. the last week has been particularly warm (for montpelier) and so we've sold lots of it.. everyone wants salad.. and the closest we can source it from is california... Now when the photographer said "make a salad" did he mean leafy california greens? or should i make something more season and local- as our menu (our menu says "seasonal salad") and mission statement promises? Is he trying to test me? Are we being set up? Honestly, the most photogenic of our salads is mesclun greens, vermont chevre, grated beets and carrots, slices of local apples, toasted sunflower seeds and sprinklings of organic pomegranate... hardly local really ... what if i made it with just the local ingredients? (apple, beets, carrots, chevre, grated cabbage, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, maine sea salt...)
Winter is full of hard choices like this i suppose.. and more..