Monday, December 27, 2010

dinner this week.

this week we will serve dinner on thursday and saturday night. Friday, New Year's eve, we will host our own little cocktail party with free food treats. new year's day is our grand opening brunch! see you then!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

and suddenly everything is different now.

so much has changed in the last month. kismet has claimed new boundaries. we have given ourselves the opportunity to start again. so much work and effort has been applied. so much thought and care has been infused to each and every detail... after one week, i am so ecstatic, overwhelmed with joy, and relieved, to know that each and every person involved has contributed their best and most.. it is more than i could have asked for..

this week has been interesting & amazing- once we took the paper down, it was as if we were suddenly transported to another place in time.. DOWNTOWN! there has been lots of learning to be had.. downtown at 7 :30 am... downtown at noon... downtown at 3:30 pm, downtown at dinner.... downtown at 1:30 am... I am watching and learning it all.. mesmerized ..

thank you montpelier for having us.. xxoo

would you like to know our new hours?
tuesday through saturday we open at 7:30 am.. thursday through saturday we serve dinner and close at midnight. sunday brunch 9-2.

see you soon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

another day

I wish that there was enough time to articulate all that has happened today- I wanted to make sure that before i went to bed I (at least tried) to outline this day's flow... amazing. what an amazing day..

let's start with MORNING
.. morning came while i was still working in night mode. deliveries, dawn, rawness within me..
- slept in the dining room for an hour, and met the staff as they trickled in a few minutes later...
- dining room A MESS
- systems all in my head.. (not on paper... oops)
-no menu
- no tables
- no sleep...

time went by so fast.. noon... 2... 3... will we open on time...

or will we.?

well. we did.

see youwhen we see you, we are open now.. xxxooo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thinking of you

As millions across the country center themselves around one of the most notorious meals of the year, I stand alone in the new kismet kitchen and prepare food for what will become kismet's next era.

For the last 3 months, I have been completely consumed with this transition. My whole life, most of my thoughts, all of my relationships, and every moment has been about kismet, about the details of the new space, the new menus, new employees, new systems, and new responsibilities.. Being in it has been overwhelming, and I have watched myself go through layer after layer of emotion and internal reflection- Fear, anxiety, doubt, denial, distress, excitement, anticipation, confusion, frustration, elation, -- all of it has cycled through my veins.
Today Is the first and last quiet day here for a while- I have enough prep work for a full day for 5 people to do, but I am thankful to be in this space with myself. I havent cooked in so long! The pots and pans are out of the basement, cleaned, and yearning to be used, for the hands to be held, and the centers to be filled. I have food in the pantry and walk-in- a collection of assorted beets from allen up the road, 200 pounds of jim markle's potatoes, pork and poultry from art, a whole collection of greens, herbs, and leaves from all around central vermont. ahh... the smell of something fresh and alive- much different than the smell of paint, harsh chemical cleaners and glue...

so, if I get everything done... we will be open tomorrow night at 6pm for a little cocktail party... and YOU'RE INVITED...
then, saturday will be the premier of the all day kismet on main street movie.... hope to see you there. xxoo

Sunday, October 31, 2010


the day started - i was well rested- but, man, it was cold as i walked my way down the block to kismet on barre st.. a walk i have done nearly every morning for the last 4+ years... i opened the restaurant with robert as i usually do on sunday mornings- this time aware that it would be a long time until i will feel as comfortable.. this space has become an extension of me, and is my home in any ways.. my children have been growing up here- i have grown up here.. but alas; the space is just too small, and it is time to move on.. am i sad? not really.. am i excited? sort of... but very much nostalgic and IN IT..
for the next three weeks, this space will undergo a transformation for SALT and i will be in my new space organizing and taking great measures to ready it for another series of years of BRUNCH..

deep breaths... remembering this space.. all that has happened here. the times alone, the times full, the times i just watched..
the beginning days of cleaning and building and painting- i was so lucky, esme jumping in whenever she could before VENUS and lindsay painting the name on the door, and damian's craft put to use, all of the folks who scrubbed and scoured and helped with joy and excitement.. alexis & raina were our first waitresses, and they have both since moved on- raina still watching and encouraging me, alexis also cheering kismet on, but also kismet cheers her on in her college studies.. they were both so young and it was all so different then. Alanna too has moved on, and i am thinking of her now too. thinking of us in this space in the first few years. we laughed and cried, and pained with each other. this space has been a place of growing and of working- to be and get to the places we all want to go.

thank you to all of you who have fill this space and my heart with joy- with encouragement- with pride- and with love. I have loved sharing this space and hope that our new space will be as loved as this has been.

i will walk around one more time, and say goodbye for now.. xxoo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

oh wow...

FIrst we have to tear it all apart- THEN we can re-do it!
Work Party Today - and tonight too- 5-9!
bring a paint brush if you have one, gloves, and a scrub brush of your choice...
we'll provide the beer and some snacks- you provide the elbow grease!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

getting it done

kitchen walls-- step 2-

well, we pulled all the plastic stuff off of the kitchen walls and are plastering to make them smooth so we can have a nice washable surface...

there is LOTS to do still.. new ceiling, new floor, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.. then we will be ready!
for this week-
WE WILL BE CLOSED WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ... but OPEN friday & saturday 8-2:30, and sunday 9-2.
our next WORK party is October 28th, xxoo

Sunday, October 03, 2010


huff & puff…
that's what the winter winds threaten to do= blow your house down..
& at the same time, it is what we do when we are working hard to keep hour homes up right… huff and puff…
it's what i did as a child when i was scolded… all the way to my room, or the woods beyond my house… huff & puff..
it's what we do when we try to get a fire going.. when we pace our driveway to cary & stack wood…
it is often how we relate to our children-- they huff & puff when they are on the edge of conflict and surrender… it is a term we use with both lightness and sarcasm as well as a primitive descriptive term…

it is midnight, & im making oeuf et bouffée.. (huff & puffy)
for you.

well- for all of us really.

chicken & duck liver pate with garden herbs in puff pastry with wild mushroom duxelles and poached egg.
served with salad..

Saturday, October 02, 2010

october 1st... moving

last night I left kismet at midnight, after a long day of drowsy darkness and entered into the warmth of hurricane weather- 85 & windy… i felt that air- felt the energy in it- and all of a sudden realized that it was the last heat of summer blowing around and through me.. i left- sweaty from the kitchen oven- and drove out to the sandpit in east montpelier for an end of summer swim… i was shaking with cold when i got there- but also maybe shaking too from the anxiety of these last few weeks- and i dove in- ooh so cold at first- but then magnificently perfect and gentle and familiar all at once== exactly what i was needing… then it was raining, and 12:30 am- and i knew i had to get home to sleep for the day that was awaiting me.. summer is over, & sure enough- this day arrived at 6:30 am- and i woke to a room full of autumn; all cozy and warm and safe- and faced the obligatory duty of extracting myself from that cacoon so that i could be on time and present with all awaiting me.
this day brought croissants at birch grove bakery before 8 am..
this day brought the job of carrying my laptop from place to place, meeting to meeting..
this day brought 2 dozen phone calls i could not answer..
this day brought renovation plans, meetings, lawyers, chiropractics, rainy jaunts, paint samples, furniture moving, window covering, box collecting, box filling, box moving, and then= ended in the kitchen, cooking lasagna..
and tomorrow?
brunch on barre street, again, but for one of the last times…..

Friday, October 01, 2010

time to move

today is the beginning of our new lease... if you are interested in stoping in and lending a hand to clean or paint or move stuff around, send an email and let us know!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

time to turn in..

for the last month I have been sincerely focused and concentrated on an illusion. As the season changed, the heat floated away, and the air filled with the breath of transformation, I have been breathing this breath and attempting to harness it to the fantasies i yearn and strive to manifest.
This season, 4 years ago, Alanna and I moved into the space currently known as kismet. We worked long hours into the winter to clean and paint and prepare the space for an unknown future. Would our wee kismet make it? would we be able to satisfy our business's needs as well as the needs f our individual families? how would we be received? how long would it take to stabilize the business? Last year, this time, i discovered the answers to some of those questions. Alanna was ready to leave kismet, the space between us and the profit the business collected was too small for the both of us and our children. Knowing that if i wanted to see kismet stabilize and be able to to meet the demand of our now regular customers, I would have to move kismet into a larger space, closer to downtown, and extend our hours and services. Again, I found myself preparing bank applications and business plans, meeting with advisors and landlords, and pushing to find a home and resources for kismet to move downtown. When we were approved for our loan, I knew we could do it- i just still needed to find the perfect place.
2010 may just be the fastest year of my life- Winter sped by, and summer rushed in like a sun drenched over zealous backpacker fresh from morocco ready to take vermont by storm. I worked while realizing that the days and weeks were like drops of dew evaporating off of the pavement- like sugar dissolving on my tongue- just sweet and moist and there for a minute- then gone. And then- suddenly- I see that I am entering the transcendence of autumn-& with many of the same desires i had this time last year- only now with an even clearer vision and closer view.
I decided to focus in and get even a little closer- and challenge my own anxiety to become the fuel with which to power this machine that is here to transform and empower the being that is kismet.

At the same time, everything seems so ironic.

* years ago, I returned from new zealand. Wanting to work along side a chef in montpelier, I applied to connoscenti's italian restaurant (later to become restaurant phoebe). Dale wouldn't hire me, but did treat me to many fine meals that still influence my palate. Over the years, I have thought of his restaurant as being my ideal restaurant space, and have fantasized about creating a space like it. Now, 8 years later, I am holding the keys and the lease to that exact place…
guess it's time to get to work... xxoo

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

this week's menu

our benedict is on baguette with steamed spinach and baked cheddar. we'd love to put bacon or tempeh on that for you too!
our huevos is with tortillas, black beans, salsa, spiced roots, eggs, cheddar and sausage or tempeh..

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

home hunting

As many of you may know, kismet has been looking for a larger space closer to downtown for the last two years... well, I am happy to report that we have FOUND such a space, and are now in the process of working with our bank to secure the funds to move in... Looks like we need to borrow about $100,000. Though we are happy with our bank, it is not a local bank, so we are also investigating alternative sources of funding ( if you have any ideas, shoot us an email ).
It's a pretty exciting time for us!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

this week's menu

guess you'll have to click on this for now...
new menu includes your favorites, plus a bit more... tell us what you think..
expect weekly changes ok?

Friday, August 20, 2010

what to do?

well, it looks like we have a super busy weekend, and i conveniently triple booked myself as well...
everyone else at kismet is busy too- leaving just joel and robert to run the show....
what to do?

with that said, Kismet may or may not be open on saturday august 21- and if we are open, we may have a special menu... what do you think? email or share your comments here--

xxoo crystal

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

oh my amazing! better sign up!

one night only! italian family feast!
send an email or call kismet to make a reservation!

Thursday, July 01, 2010


different menu each week! beginning july 10th and each saturday there after!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

this tuesday's chef event MATHEW BILLODEAU

reserve your table now!
3, 4 & 7 course tasting menus paired with digestives and aperitifs provided by three penny taproom!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

well then

tonight kismet was robbed and only a few things were taken.. my computer (YIKES!!!), $200 petty cash) and the $ we were raising for the washington county mental health children's garden project...(as well as the whole jar..)

i had to revise the menu anyway, which is how i discovered the computer stolen, so after meeting with montpelier city police, i went to the BLACK DOOR and sat in the office while an 80's cover band sang all of the classic 80's tunes, and re-did our menu.. wish i could show it here, but phil doesnt have internet in his office, so it is in print only (at least we have that for tomorrow...)
after finishing the menu, i drove home aware that the drama of the evening mixed with the coffee i had earlier while in burlington, was not going to allow me to sleep, but could best be used to help me prep for the morning ahead.. so i went home to kismet...
just made pork chorizo (in honor of my mother), scallop cakes (in honor of my grandmother), lamb sausage (in honor of pregnant with twins lindsay), fillet carpaccio (for the montpelier mom's in need of decadence) and prosecco poached salmon... did dishes, came home and swept my floor.... wow.. now it is 3 and brunch starts in 6 hours... dont hate me if i am not beautiful-- love me for being the mom of all of this.. sometimes motherhood means sucking snot from the infant's nose, or staying up all night then having to be nice in the morning, or saying NO or saying YES... i am a mother, and kismet is very much my child.. thank you for sharing her with me...
sleep well (i know you will) and i will see you in the morning (or you will see me first most likely because i am VERY near sighted-just so you know).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

let's do it!!!! GAME ON


Kismet vs. Taproom

Published: April 29, 2010

MONTPELIER – There's nothing like a little friendly competition for a good cause.

Kismet and Three Penny Taproom, two Montpelier establishments, are going head-to-head to see who can be the fastest to raise $500 in donations for the Children's Garden Project.

The competition is an effort to establish an organic Children's Garden on the grounds of the Children, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) division of Washington County Mental Health on Beckley Hill Road in Barre.

The contest will run from May 2 to May 15, and both businesses will display prominently placed donation jars to encourage customers to make contributions. Due to looming State budget cuts, this project is being run entirely on the steam of volunteers and donations, according to a news release from CYFS.

"The Children's Garden will be a beautiful and nurturing place for children and young adults with emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges…" according to CYFS.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

some like it hot

well then.. hello spring!
kismet has been happily receiving lots of sunlight these last few weeks- standing over in my little area of the kitchen, i have enjoyed blazing temperatures nearing 90 degrees! Honestly, if i wasn't completely dependent on local food, I would swear it is June! but the contents of my fridge speak the truth of the season. Like many other chefs in the area, I am still having to use my creative efforts to make light and springy of the dense and heavy. Still doing the most i can with the ends of my squash, and root collection- When writing the easter menu for last week, I put calls out all around town in search of a few mushrooms or wild ramps to serve along side braised rabbit papoosas and tangletown duck eggs. Thankfully, allen lepage knows his woods and with one pound of ramps, I made ramp butter to spread all around.

Thankfully, Joe, of screaming ridge farm, has greens flowing out of his houses and we have successfully sold over 10 lbs of salad greens last week alone! we hope the warm weather will continue, but at the same time, the high temps have forced some of his delicate tender leaves to bolt into tough flowering stems...

With spring comes the hope and promise of summer. For us at kismet, that means utter abundance- our tiny kitchen will cater about 18 weddings this season, beginning in may, which means we will be making food for over 600 people each week through october!! So for now, we are doing our best to enjoy quiet moments, and little pleasures- like watching the trees bud, and tiny leaves and petals emerging from the ground.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

hello! we're back!

after taking a little vacation in Montreal- we're back in montpelier, ready and inspired and open for spring..
It's been warm, and we have wedding menus stacked in the office, and kismet expansion plans scattered along with 2009 taxes piled in the corner- and yet, it feels like the ice is breaking and everything is being put into place and the energy is here to get it all organized..

BIG THANKS to Three Penny Taproom for running Kismet while we were gone (and thanks to them i have a week's worth of chorizo in my fridge!!)- it felt really good to know that kismet was being enjoyed by others, and that the space was being used in a creative way..
upon return, I was greeted with the Seven Days article about our upcoming plans, and reminded how quickly time will go by between now and june!!

this week also gives us local tomatoes, local spinach and salad greens, and lots and lots of bright sunlight in the Kismet Dining room.
We are also beginning a new art show by Lisa Mase and Sandra Lory- a collection of collage (by lisa) and photos of cacao (amungst other things) from Sandra (she recently returned from a cacao farm in mexico)- the art is bright and alive in our newly repainted space...


Thursday, March 04, 2010

punk rock brunch

Guess what?
Three Penny Taproom
Does Punk
Rock Brunch
At kismet

sunday 3.7.10

9am to 2pm

kismet gals needed a little vaca- so we asked our friends at THREE PENNY TAPROOM to take kismet over for a day so we could head north-- & they said YES!

the menu:

raider nation brunch located at kismet

to quench the palette


cast-iron coffee “we’ll make it something a cowboy would drink for 3 extra bucks”

house made decaf tea ”herbs and fruit with a touch of spices”

O.J. “and no were not squeezing it”

bloody mary “if you really need it.”

dieu du ciel peche mortel stout

who drinks water?

to fill the belly

st. ambroise oatmeal stout and steel cut oats

romesco plate “veggies how we cook them served with traditional romesco” contains nuts….

green salad with poached egg “is there any better dressing”

patatas bravas “just think of braveheart”

house made chorizo con juevos

tortilla espanola “kind of resembles an omelet but better”

local piggy hash and two very sunny eggs

still want to play

tequila “we recommend with all meals”


chorizo “hog intestine stuffed with local pork”

patatas bravas

old bread


dieu du ciel aphrodite stout

Monday, February 01, 2010


join us thursday through sunday 8-2:30

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

turn around

Q: what's happening? Is kismet moving?

A: After extensive consideration, we have decided to stay put!

(we love our wee little kismet!)

Q: so, what's the scoop?

A: thankfully, we have been able to figure out a way to stay small and yet become more sustainable- it has been an interesting and inspiring process, and i am so excited to be able to have made this decision knowing that we really considered all of our options and were supported and encouraged along the way. Thanks to Chittenden Bank who accepted and approved our loan to expand downtown, and to Keven and Jesse who gave us the keys to their buildings and offered us locations that would put kismet "on the map" so to speak, we were able to organize the logistics of the "new" kismet.

After many many meetings, sight plans, estimates, brainstorming, emotional releases, and all of the other day to day business of the current kismet, it became clear that timing was becoming imperative. Frightened and pressured now, to "make it happen" i worked with nina to devise alternative plans should the move take too long or prove to be out of budget.

Plan A: renovate and move into a new space by may first, launching into wedding catering may 15th (yikes!). Raise another $100,000.

plan B: stay put and look at making more space in the building we currently occupy.

honestly, just having a plan B felt like a relief. As the days and weeks seemed to slip by like seconds in a minute, i was becoming more and more stressed about having to force something into being that may, or may not be ready in time. I went downtown and had breakfast out- i sat in almost every cafe in montpelier and just observed. I kept asking myself- is it worth it? what are my motives? what do my customers want?

I went home, tired, restless, and overwhelmed. I kept closing my eyes and begging myself to go easy- to prepare myself for miracles-

the next day i went to kismet. When i opened the door i felt happy- it felt safe and bright, and cozy in there. I checked my email, and there were several from regulars saying that they didn't want us to move, that they love the small space, and how they want us to make it work there-then the first few guests arrived and in a matter of minutes the dining room was full of familiar faces and conversations that were shared between all of the tables. At one moment some-one looked at me, and i felt myself smiling, and they said quietly and directly "i love it when it's like this in here, it just feels so good". we exchanged eye contact and quiet excited smiles, like we both just found out that we were so lucky to be there and that

kismet has something really special.


so we stay.

and practice the art of patient loving- watching kismet grow from the inside- making room and celebrating the intimacy.

Q: Now what?

A: re-arranging, cleaning, organizing, repairing, stocking, working with staff to apply new systems and more efficiency, expanding services, working on the menu, expanding our catering services, and ........

Friday, January 08, 2010


it was while searing some tofu that i realized how much my life has changed since my vegan days, traveling and making seitan in the bathtub.. things are much more complicated and different now.. I used to leave Vermont every winter for warmer places- New Zealand, Australia, Arizona, California, Mexico-- but since kismet i have stayed put. This is my fourth winter here, in this room we call a restaurant, and doing much the same as i have been doing for the last 3+ years.. As I have been writing about, I went through most of last year working towards big and great changes- i have been working on lots of plans to move kismet, make it bigger, get more organized and bring forth all of the ideas i have been working on since we began here. I came in to this year with loan approval, and peace of mind that it would all happen..
today as i sear tofu at nearly 11 at night, nostalgic of my earlier twenties, all-nighters, and bathtub seitan, I realize that I am kind of stuck and still waiting in limbo.. don't worry- it seems that kismet is not going anywhere (at least not tonight), and that there is this whole new business plan to write, and lease to negotiate, and landlord to bargain with.. and yet, I am oddly inspired and excited in a whole new kind of way. On the surface, everything seems and looks the same- and just behind that, there is this package waiting to be opened.

thank you for your support-
and by the way-- everything is really yummy...

favorites to have with my seared tofu:
Vermont Herb and Salad Company baby greens!!! YIPPEE!! live living local greens!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

well, hello there...

well, hello there- how do you do?
it is now 2010, and wow, can you believe it?
I'm still kind of in shock- though thankful that this winter has been less cruel than others (at least here in Montpelier)
and wow- i realize that my age is like a wild weed- growing taller and with deeper roots- and lately it seems that i am constantly nostalgic.. last year doesn't seem that long ago- kismet, deep in snow, kale and eggs and polenta bread- and at the same time, 10 years ago i was only 12 miles down the road (and with the same lot of folks)- my children have grown, i have ventured into my thirties, and the little girls i watched (and admired) nine years ago at the river run are in their twenties now!

Alexis turned twenty one yesterday, and to celebrate, kismet sends her off with much love and encouragement. She left today for a cross country drive to visit her sister in Mexico. I am so happy for her- and happy for all of us who have been able to watch her grow into that person she is now! though it may be snowing in Texas, at least i know Alexis can manage... we will miss her, but happy to hear of her travels when she returns. and I am happy for this inspiration to revisit my own travels cross-country (and Mexico too!)..(ole!!)

so what of kismet?
well- let's talk about 2010.
kismet has been approved for a large loan to move downtown and expand.(!) Over the last year, it has seemed that everyone wants us to do that (expand). It's true that our space is tiny. we push ourselves to serve nearly 90 folks a day in our wee 18 seat space, and our catering business has grown such that we can barely fit anything in our fridge!! But we love it here too. And, it will be hard to say goodbye to this space that has become so (uncomfortably) comfortable. This has become our home, and you have become OUR family.
For the most part of this year, I have been working on expansion plans for kismet-
for most of this time, i have also been overwrought with confusion about the right thing to do. I know that financially, moving would be taking on a BIG risk.. more debt, bigger lease, more bills, more payroll.. but at the same time, it could mean more time together- more room & a place in the heart of downtown...
Anyone who knows me, knows that this year has been full of anguish for me. "WHY?" i keep asking myself.. "WHY CHANGE?"- and "WHAT?"

this is your chance...
how should we do it
when we
make the move?
(here's your chance to speak your mind!)