Monday, December 31, 2012

Some things are worth waiting for

For the first time in 7 years, kismet will be silent & empty on New Year's Eve & New Year's Day. In the past, the girls and I have spent the New Year's Eve prepping for New Year's Day brunch until the wee hours of the morning- & for the last 7 years, that felt like exactly the right thing to do. 7 years ago tonight, I fell asleep on a concrete floor- so exhausted- and preparing for our GRAND OPENING & first New Year's Day brunch on barre street.  I dreamt of hot chocolate, and prayed- even in my dreams- that the next day would be a success.
Tonight, we have other people to cook for us- gliter & sparkles, our own glasses of champagne to drink, resolutions to make, & tomorrow we will (try to) sleep in.

& after tonight, it will be another 7 years until we have the night off again--
But some things are worth waiting for--

May yours be a seriously delicious end met with an equally delectable beginning..
Come celebrate with us later this week!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Alone in the kitchen

14 years ago, I spent Christmas in Byron Bay Australia.  I lived on a nude beach dotted with tea tree pools & coconut trees and passion fruit vines.  Pregnant, with my New Zealand husband, I spent my days on the beach, while the husband went looking for jobs, or went surfing.  I had no idea how much those days would stay with me.  It was there that I tasted ripe tropical fruit for the first time, had my first dandelion root latte, and discovered South Indian food.  I would save every bit of extra coins we had, so that I could walk into town for a dandelion latte, and on big occasions- an Indian curry.  On this day, 14 years ago, with a seed of a child within me, I sat beneath a mangrove tree and ate butter shrimp and saag with stuffed paratha.  I remember it so clearly, as it if we're just yesterday; I remember eating so slowly out of the take-out container, not wanting to waste a single morsel of the savory ginger and tomato sauce, or delicate spinach that hung loosely on the most tender pieces of cumin toasted potatoes.  I remember giving myself completely to the pleasure of that food, not knowing what would happen next, or worrying about anything ever being familiar again.

14 years have passed, and after spending many christmas's in the South Pacific, eating many curries, stir fries, and other people's left overs for christmas, I have yet to fully embrace the winter Christmas I knew as a child.  For the last 7 winters, I have shared my Christmas holiday with my staff as a gentle day off before the New Year's Day brunch service that loomed ahead.  Last year, was my first Christmas celebrated in the traditional fashion; but one that could not be repeated.

This year, my gift to myself, and to kismet, is to spend the day alone in the restaurant kitchen making stuffed parathas, butter sauce, and saag, while also cooking unfamiliar recipes from the pages of a brand new book of  Syrian recipes..  The whole empty restaurant smells of ginger, toasted cumin, and sweet onion.  My heart is warm, my children are celebrating happily with their fathers, and I am here in an apron to honor the journey that continues to flavor my life.

May all of your Christmas wishes come true,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In my heart

like any parent, I think about my children all day.  I lay in bed at night thinking of their future, their lives, giving thanks for their health, and in awe of their birth and the shear magic that brought us together.  Like most of the world, I worry about there being enough, about doing the right thing, and constantly balancing myself between wants, needs, fears, and just trying to be on time- 
During simple tasks, I think of my own parents, my own ancestry, and I am so often humbled by the utter HUGENESS of being human. 

today was a very quiet day. 
quiet when we spoke of "samo", 
& of mazy, 
and even between friends, there wasnt much to say.  
just prayers & love to these children, parents of children, & to their friends who will miss them so much. 

is about 
having to make light
while in darkness

so i will light the fires
& roast the seeds
and we will meet
our eyes 
in the warmth of a good meal

full moon 
cheeks glowing
with wine & whiskey
your woolen bits

kiss heaven gently
on snowy quiet & frozen brows

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

new hours:

wednesday through saturday 8 am-9pm
sunday 9-2

counter service
dandelion latte
crazy awesome hot chocolate

bisquits & gravy
& other stuff!


Friday, November 16, 2012

roasted roots

its nearly winter-
we expect it,  but we are weary too.

dandelion latte..
how long has it been?

bonnie told me tonight (nearly 65)= she say's: "best thing i've ever tasted".  i am so honored= and also doing a little jig myself- cause this is my ALL TIME favorite..
thanks for sharing with me

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

we are under construction


will be re-open

friday, october 26, 2012


Friday, August 31, 2012

and suddenly it is september!

One year ago, this week, 1/2 of the kismet staff was laid off due to flooding from Hurricane Irene.  In a last chance effort to save the restaurant and attempt to recover from 2 near fatal floods in one year, we reduced our hours and our staff and have existed for the last year ambitiously working off our 2011 losses, and awaiting the day that we could renovate the restaurant and re-open with more weekday hours.  Alas, that time has come! & we are in the midst of renovation plans & scheduling interviews for additional staff & positions!

Here's what we are looking for:

Service Professionals
excited about beverages barista/juice attendant
  knowledgeable, charismatic and quality conscious waitstaff
host/hostess with the most/mostest

Daytime Juice & Espresso Bar Manager
experienced quick learner, self motivated and organized, community oriented, understands and relates to organic food philosophy 

Experienced Kitchen Professionals
dynamic self directed and motivated person/s, understands and is familiar with food sensitivities, organic & seasonal ingredients, has a realistic understanding of menu design, is organized and must be excited to work in a female dominant kitchen.
Daytime Dishwasher/Prep Cook
great opportunity for the right person to learn additional kitchen skills. Must be timely, have good personal hygiene and a very strong work ethic.

how to apply:
do  not: call, stop in, or wait outside the back door.

create a personal statement including your name, address, phone number, age, passions & your opinion of your most desirable qualities. 

a list of your strongest references 
include the last 2 places of employment & contact numbers
a list of any trainings or experience you may have attended that would benefit your position
include a picture of yourself

note: most of the kismet employees have been with kismet at least 2 years.  we prefer long term (at least 1 year) commitments, and are looking for people who are proud to represent our philosophy on and off the clock.
compensation is dependent on experience, with room to advance. We have many staff perks, and pride our self on being a community oriented business.

email the above items to:

you can learn more about our restaurant, menus, and history through this blog as well as

Thursday, July 19, 2012

summer time

the garden today!

It's been dry and and hot & sunny for most of the last 8 weeks.  We've had so many beautiful days, & this summer really has been unlike any other I have ever experienced in vermont.  The lack of rain does have it's disadvantages- which, in my opinion are much easier & more pleasant to deal with than an over abundance of rain, the likes of which nearly killed kismet last year.  Honestly, the lack of rain means that our sandy garden needs constant watering- which (due to a tiny budget that prevents us purchasing any sort of high tech irrigation) means at least 9 hours a week speant watering the garden!  Besides the obvious impact it has made on my seriously minuscule social life,  I am happy to spend the time in the garden & for the first time in nearly 7 years, I get to work outside of the kitchen!!

Thankfully, earlier this week we were showered with a blessed inch of rain & a hearty amount of lightning that woke the soil, stimulated the plants & gave everything a little boost of confidence for a couple of days.  Today, Moses & I went to the garden together to check on the 40 foot rows of tiny carrot seedlings genevieve & I planted nearly 3 weeks ago- with their roots so tiny & our soil so sandy, I was keeping my fingers crossed that they hadn't met their fate in the 90 degree weather we had earlier this week.  Sure enough they were still there, though a bit stunted & already dry in this morning's early sunshine.
Moses watered & I weeded, pulling out & setting aside the plantain for a salve we will make for gifts later this year.  We snacked on succulent purslane & nibbled the blueish gray leaves of the wild lambs quarters.  Then together, we walked through the garden to count toads, harvest herbs & green beans, & check on the pollination activity buzzing around the mellon & squash stations.
I asked Moses if he would rather work in the garden or in the kitchen & he readily said, "The garden!".  "Even if it were cold & rainy like last year?", I asked.  "Oh, right" he said, "definitely the kitchen."  Then he said, "Well, I guess you're pretty lucky to get to do both."  Yes, indeed I am.


another batch of green beans, ready to be pickled & set aside for august weddings
calendula blossoms, these perfectly orange blossoms will spend 4 months hanging out in 2 gallons of olive oil for a cheery golden salad dressing to brighten up our winter salads
sage tips, about to be married to a large jar of honey- a particularly aromatic & sensational relationship 
nasturtium & pansies, because they are fun to put in salads & i like the way the purple pansy petals look chopped up in my feta marinade mix

Friday, June 15, 2012

celebrate today

lately i have been so full of awe and inspiration
true gratitude

today i was met with
garden flowers
blue sky
& sunshine
i met the children after school to celebrate
the end of another school year
& the beginning of summer
tomorrow moses will turn 13
and officially kismet
will watch another set of teenagers
grow, blossom, and become
just as we did with alexis years ago.

today is also my grandmother's birthday
june blake
one of the most gracious and inspiring people i have ever known
& whom i was named after 

When I was 15, I cooked a meal for my grandmother
whole grilled tomatoes with rosemary & lemon
and while we ate she exclaimed
"oh crystal, when you open a restaurant I WANT TO EAT THERE!!"
i laughed at the thought
because i never thought i would open a restaurant!!
30 years later
 invite you to join me in celebrating
 the many days and moments that have lead us all here

eat well 
love deeply
and enjoy yourself!


for grandma:
chilled tomato soup
of pureed grilled tomatoes with rosemary & lemon

for my kiwi:
gluten free fish & chips
fresh maine flounder, house fries


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

inch by inch

it has been such an amazing spring! hot weather, sunshine, green everywhere, birds everywhere, but also kismet is back in the garden!!

watch as our garden grows, and look to mark your calendar for upcoming garden events!!

today genevieve & i dug raised beds (with emer in the lower bed pulling sod & making beds too), and planted our wee little onion stets (from cate & paul at high ledge farm), as well as sewed some seeds! it is kind of crazy how amazing it feels to be in that garden! Every morning when I arrive, i take a walk around the grounds and note the growth that occurred since i had been before.. sometimes, even while i am working, i feel like i can look up and SEE things GROWING! dandelions have practically blossomed & gone to seed before my eyes in this crazy 80 degree spring heat wave!

join us in celebrating the tiny miracles!

hello spring!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

mother's day menu 2012!

ok, it's true.. i picked some of my favorite things.. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

spring harvest in session

 this weeks local produce includes:
wild ramp pistou 
steamed fiddleheads
hartwood farm baby parsnips
mystic morning farm radish
blackwell roots turnip
pete's tatsoi, kale, basil & salad
dog river spinach
deep root carrots & beets
jim markle's baby potatoes
genevieve's sprouts
our own violet petals 
champlain apples 

and all of it will be featured along with local meats & cheeses on this week's restaurant week menu!!

now it begins! and will just get better & better!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

melissa told me to

from time to time, someone will give me insight from the perspective of a kismet diner (something i rarely ever get to be, considering i spend open hours in the kitchen).  Last week, while discussing our menu and specials being offered for the week, Melissa (our saturday host and our newest member), commented that she wished that the kismet menu offered more appetizer or "snacky things".  It's true that we have a very limited selection of apps, and all of them have been on the menu for at least a year now.  
"Hmm, ok," i thought, that's a good point.  I also like to order apps when i go out to eat, and sometimes will go to several places in one night just to sample appetizers (one of my favorite ways to dine while on vacation).  Recently, on my trip to new orleans, I think I mentioned that jay and I went to 6 or seven restaurants one day, ordering snacks and sampling wine menus- it was really fun! And just last month, several of us from kismet when to burlington to celebrate a birthday and went app hopping with a group of 8! We were psyched to get to sample different little bites, and also thankful for the places that could accommodate us (we are a very flexible group & can squeeze 8 into a table for 4 if that's what was needed! & we LOVE going out and leaving BIG TIPS for our hosts!!)

tonight, in honor of melissa's request, we have 3 app specials, inspired by MY favorite meaty things (veg specials featured next week!!):

moses & miguel's flounder ceviche 
with toasted spices & grapefruit
moses & miguel made this today while talking about their girlfriends, sports & books they like to read.  moses will be 13 this year, and has really been attached to miguel who will be 17 this year.  Though this is not the first time they have made ceviche, this is the first time they made it together= i think it tastes better today for some reason.. (and i'm a sap that just loves teamwork)

with capers, our own horseradish, fennel & pickled red onion
i think that carpaccio is one of the sexiest, luscious, delicious ways to eat good cuts of beef.  one day, while playing with some leftover end cuts of fillet, i made a plate of carpaccio for my 7 year old son fela.  he was heard from all of the restaurant yumming & wowing while he devoured it using knife & fork like a prince.  Since then, he has declared this his favorite "salad" and asks me to make it nearly everytime he comes to the restaurant.  I agree, it is pretty darn good.

lamb meat balls (g.f.) with white bean ragout & ramp pistou
something you may not know about me is that i LOVE meatballs.  My love for meatballs is truly an adult revolation.  When i was a kid, i was much more of an eggplant parm kinda girl over meatballs (unlike my sister who was seldom more pleased by anything other than a meatball).  In my early adulthood, i spent my naughty vegan fantasies on brownie sundays and anchovies, but in the last  years, since identifying my own "comfort foods" I've come to accept and appreciate my honest & pure love for a good meat ball.... here's one recipe that i love- it's inspired by minestrone soup, but served as an appetizer with a healthy olive oil & lemon garnish perfect for spring..


Friday, April 13, 2012

hunting for spring

today i woke up to birds chirping and a family of deer outside my window-
i woke like a creature coming out of hibernation-
visualizing wild leeks and fiddleheads
i felt like i could almost smell them- & feel moist dank dirt on my hands.

so i made a few calls and set out to a patch of forest near the reservoir-
the sun was warm today, and the brook was babbling- so i knew that i could very well find something despite how early in the year it is to be foraging.

I walked along the brook
found puffballs and bones
saw dainty blades of chicory
and thought about what may or may not be growing beneath my feet.

It's true that i returned to town with an empty harvesting bag,
but my little visit to the forest inspired me in a way that
reading cookbooks, planning menus, or leafing through seed catalogs leave lacking.

today we celebrate the farmers & foragers
dedicated and determined to
find & nurture the wildness around us

steak frittes
seared greenfield highland beef NEW YORK STRIP, topped with a poached alpaca farm duck egg, drizzled with a savory butter of capers & allen lapage's wild leeks
served with vt grown potato fries

Friday, March 30, 2012

easter menu!

easter is early this year!
easter brunch sunday april 8
now taking reservations for parties of 5 or more!
802 223 8646

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

happy crepe makers

once a year, each of my children are allowed to bring their classmates to kismet for a crepe and tea party! Today, Lara Slessor's 2nd grade class came, made delicious fresh mint tea & each made their own crepe!! they did a great job, were very polite, and filled our dining room with giggles, joy & chocolate fingerprints!!
Having the children there reminded me how important it is to be sure to involve kids in the cooking of their own food. They had so many wonderful questions, and really were very proud of themselves & the food they made!

Friday, March 16, 2012

theres a new season on its way!!

AHH! SPRING! yes, really, it is nearly here!

Where does this joy come from?
is it in the sunshine-
the feeling of bliss when i wake-
the grass revealed?
Is it in the warm breeze-
the site of naked skin-
the extra bit of sunlight as i set my dinner table?
it is all of this and more!!

It is the pleasure in my heart as I receive local spinach-
newly dug roots
fresh eggs with the bright yellow yolk of happy chicks!
It is the excitement in my whole body when i plan kismet's garden-
5000 feet of simple expectations
where spreadsheets give way to soil, starts & seeds!
& it is within me-
my own yearning for new flavors, colors & nourishment...

After all that we endured last year (which i still struggle putting into words), at kismet, we are quietly celebrating the birth of a new year, and a new season!

I hope you are all well, and will drop in and join us soon!
Also, i hope that you will let us know what is your favorite oldies as well as your new favorites so we can form our new menus with you in mind!!


Friday, February 10, 2012


looking to celebrate someone special?
treat your valentine (& yourself) to a whole week of pleasure!

kismet will be open & serving swanky sultry specials
FEBRUARY 15 through FEBRUARY 19!

side note:
I am excited to report that our valentines week will also be influenced & inspired by flavors of mardi gras! this weekend, im headed down to new orleans for just a minute & i'll bring you back something special! xoxo

Friday, January 13, 2012


I finally feel like the new year has begun to settle in- There's been something different in the air- a sort of relief all around.
Though it is winter, and most everywhere there is snow and ice, our purveyors have managed to continue to bring us small deliveries of their squandered harvest- just this week we have seen root vegetables from allen lapage, dog river farm, and pete's greens, as well as eggs, chickens, kale, potatoes, onions, garlic, sprouts, pork & local beans from around the state! Squash, tomatoes, leeks & fish from maine too!
The farmers seem hopeful lately, and have begun to talk about the new year with a renewed voice of inspiration. It is true that last year was hard for much of vermont, as well as agriculture & and economies around the globe- but in challenge, there is opportunity for education and evolution.
It is important, now more than ever, to support our local sustainable farmers and their endeavors to recover vermont's agricultural land. This is not a simple task, however. It is true that buying local & organic foods, if you have time to source them, can be considerably more expensive than purchasing corporate subsidized foods. I understand and appreciate that more than most- not only do i attempt this on a personal level, but at a business level as well. In the last 6 years, we have seen some of our local vendors grow and expand, while others have gone out of business or have discontinued wholesale sales. Meanwhile, wholesale prices have come to nearly match retail shelf prices!! YIKES!

In the next few weeks you may notice that some of our prices have gone up a bit- bummer, i know- but there are so many things to celebrate too!

check out our facebook page for the weekend passwords that get you awesome deals

and dont forget: