It’s been a crazy year for us here at Cloak & Dagger.  From 23 course dinners to moving our kitchen down to Manhattan, every month we’ve explored something new.  While we have learned so much together and had a wonderful time cooking and serving Portlanders, we’ve decided it’s time to tie up our adventure.  So without further adieu, we announce our last Cloak & Dagger for Portland, Maine.

We’ll be taking you to the deep South, to the countryside of Spain, to Paris in the spring, to Tokyo, New Orleans, Brazil, and Italy.  American pies, BBQ chicken, to falafel and cold ramen, we’re throwing the ultimate picnic.  Here’s what you need to know:

Theme: The Final Cloak & Dagger; A Salute to Spring
Date: May 7th, 2013
Time: 7pm
Price: $55 per person, not including gratuity

If there’s enough interest, we may add an extra date, but we’ll announce that when the time is appropriate.

If you’ve never been to a Cloak & Dagger, this very well may be your last opportunity to eat some delicious food and make some wonderful new acquaintances.  Please RSVP by sending an emailed request to:, or by leaving a comment.  This menu will not be vegetarian friendly– so we offer our sincere apologies. 

Again, we want to thank Portland for all of it’s support.  Here’s to the final Cloak & Dagger!

I’ve had Vin et Grub for quite some time now, and while I haven’t always been the best blogger in the world, I’ve enjoyed my ramblings in the food world.  When I started this blog, I had a very basic knowledge of food, where it came from, and the culture around it.  Three years later, I have found my passion in due part to the discovery and creation of this blog.

Get on With Your Point…

I have been pushed to work in the restaurant industry, in the front of the house and in the back of the house, as an expeditor, as a pastry chef, as a line cook, and as a hostess.  I’ve been pushed to out eat myself, to further my education in the culinary world.  I’ve found myself in the past three years sitting at tables in some of the best restaurants in the United States.  I’ve found myself responding to emails from strangers regarding where to eat in Portland.  I’ve found myself surrounded by talented industry workers, and two of the most influential chefs (Krista Desjarlais & Nicholas Nappi) I’ve encountered thus far.  In all truth, I’ve found what I want for the rest of my life.

I’ve created and launched Cloak & Dagger Underground Dinner Club (by far the most DIY in Maine).  As a result, I’ve found myself in Manhattan along with my best friend and favorite chef, cooking a 9 course meal to celebrate a year of trying dinner services.  I’ve found myself developing new ideas every day.  Slowly, my first restaurant is being built every day.  And from now on, everything I do is to get to that point.

I have found my eyes glued to food literature– Lucky Peach, Gastronomica, Saveur, alongside Eater National, Portland Food Map, and Grub Street.  I’ve met great friends from Portland, Boston, New York, Chicago, and San Fransisco.  I’ve had the desire to learn more about one subject (despite the fact that there are a million parts) than ever.

So What?

And now, it’s all changing.  The next step in my journey is to find the roots of my obsession.  To understand it and live it.  That’s why I’m moving on.  I’m hoping on a flight and making my way to Europe to see how and where food is produced.  I’m going to farm and pickle, and jam, and stage, and find the roots to make this picture slightly more vivid.  Sweden, Greece, Denmark, Italy, France.  And an extended stay in Vietnam.  I need to see my passion elsewhere in the world.  So it’s when I leave that Vin et Grub is no more.  Instead, I’ll be writing a new blog Not in my Rice Bowl Bitch, which promises to be a little more adult, a little more wry, a little more serious, and a little more unpredictable than Vin et Grub ever was.


Stay tuned for information on Portland’s last ever Cloak & Dagger and other updates before I leave.  I promise I will post these things soon.

And this is the post-script that I’ve wanted to leave for quite some time now:

Perhaps the only thing that has disappointed me in the past three years is simply the ego that comes with this industry.  From pompous line cooks, to cowards hiding behind their computer screens, the amount of unhealthy competition and sabotage that goes on is disturbing.  I was recently asked by a friend who doesn’t work in the industry to give me a snap shot of the Portland restaurant scene.  Do you know what I told him? I said, “It’s odd.  Right now there are three generations cooking in this town- there are people like Rob Evans and Sam Hayward, legends, and the creators of the Portland food scene, that are part of the first generation.  The second generation seems to be geared towards current chef de cuisines, and the 30-something year old line cooks.  And then, well, there’s my generation, which is perhaps the more difficult generation to be part of.  We’re caught between our chef owners and chef de cuisines, not to mention influences from outside of Portland.” It’s three generations working in the same kitchens, but not necessarily working together.  What I hope to find is a real sense of camaraderie, not the pseudo-team vibe that restaurants in Maine seem to specialize in.  We’re all in it for one similar reason (this is not to say it’s our only reason), that is the love of food.  So here’s a plea.  Let’s drop the egos.  Let’s drop the anonymous craigslist ads bashing incoming chefs from larger cities.  Let’s drop the nameless comments on Eater Maine and Portland Food Map.  Let’s stop with the fake reviews on Yelp, Urbanspoon, and OpenTable.  Let’s cut the shit and do what we’re supposed to do.  Cook.  Create.  Let’s do our fucking jobs.  If you can’t do your fucking job, then you should get another one.  I hope to find Portland in a better place when I return than when I left it.

cloakdaggerWe’ve been waiting for this dinner for months now, and to say the very least, we are excited. Cloak and Dagger is going to Manhattan! You can find us on March 10th, a Sunday evening, in Manhattan serving a menu comprised of dishes inspired by Tom Waits songs to a group of 20.  But hold on! We still have seats that need to be filled.  A little about the dinner.

7 courses (Little Drop of Poison, Bad Liver & A Broken Heart, Eggs & Sausage, etc).


6:00pm start time.

$100 pp not including gratuity

*Unfortunately we will not be able to accommodate vegetarians or people with shellfish allergies.*

295394_10100851198433369_1434559018_n IMG_2225

Now a note to our Portland clientele.  This is our second to last dinner that we will be hosting.  So if you have friends in Manhattan who may be interested in attending, please pass along the word.  We will be hosting our farewell dinner in April, and at the moment are expecting seats to go quickly.  If you have never been to Cloak & Dagger, now’s the time to express interest and keep an open eye on our site and facebook page for announcements.  April’s dinner has the opportunity to be served twice depending on interest.  Both Nicholas and I are very happy with the outcome of our dinner series, but due to our increasingly busy schedules with our professional careers and other obligations (ie the launch of the Chinese Laundry), feel as though it is time to end the Portland installation of Cloak & Dagger.  It’s been a good run for the both of us.  A time in which we’ve been able to create and share dishes with our diners that we wouldn’t be able to in a traditional restaurant setting.  *******There is a chance however, that we may continue to do spur of the moment dinners in the coming months.  We have been asked by a few people about hosting private dinners and we are happy to do so as well if that is of interest to any of you– just contact us at

Lastly, we’d like to thank all of our diners for letting us share our food with you.  Through our dinners, we’ve met countless people and quite a few new friends.  Without the interest that you all expressed, we wouldn’t have made it past our first dinner.  So cheers to you, the diner!

In the next few weeks, I will post the final details regarding our last supper, along with documentation of the Manhattan dinner, on this site.  Chinese Laundry updates will also be posted as soon as we have them.  If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with the Cloak & Dagger crew.

We love you, Portland.


e. joyce & n. nappi (the cloak & dagger crew)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asked more than a few times what exactly is a “pop-up”?

In short, the way pop-up has been used in Portland over the past year or so has been fundamentally wrong.  A good friend pointed this out to me this morning.  Pop-up has been used to describe dinner (and brunch) clubs in this town.  While these clubs do a good job of changing locations, they don’t necessarily have the other qualities that make them a pop-up.

Pop-ups are services that appear in one place for a limited amount of time before moving their location elsewhere.  They have become a force to reckon with in other cities and states in their respective food scenes.  In San Fransisco, for example, there’s Hapa Ramen, a ramen pop-up, that arguably makes some of the best ramen in San Fransisco.  Hapa Ramen can almost guarantee to be found in certain locations at least once a week, but they do change their location frequently.  Half the fun of a pop-up restaurant is the adventure, the last minute discovery of where it will be conducting service for the day.

It’s not that a pop-up restaurant has anything against brick and mortar establishments.  It’s just different.  We aim for a unique dining experience– much like that of a food truck.  A casual, wanderlust-esque experience is that which we hope to share with our diners.

The Chinese Laundry is a pop-up.  We have no address, but we do have this blog, a twitter, and a Facebook, that will be used to communicate our whereabouts on a regular basis.  Every day we serve dim sum, we’ll publish our location and our hours.  Make sure to check our social media pages (twitter, facebook, and wordpress) regularly so you can eat our dim sum!

I hope this clears up any confusion there might be on the subject.  If not, specific questions might help!

Join us for our February dinner on Wednesday February 13th! our menu will be based around the world of pastry, using techniques and flavors to develop an entire menu that starts as savory and will be culminated with some fantastic desserts. In addition to dinner, Cloak and Dagger will be debuting its first bread service during this dinner.  There will be plenty of meat included in this dinner — not just pastry! $65 a head not including gratuity.  BYOB

7pm February 13th.



On Sunday, Feburary 10th, 2013, we will be hosting a tea and dumping fundraiser for the Chinese Laundry.  Find us at Speckled Ax at 567 Congress Street from 5:30pm-9:00pm.  For $10, you will get unlimited dumplings and tea put together by the Chinese Laundry and the Little Red Tea Cup.  All proceeds will go to the launch of the Chinese Laundry on February 20th, 2013.

Come meet us on the 10th and get to know us.  You’ll be glad you did!

Hey all! Just checking in to let you know what’s going on at the Chinese Laundry.


On February 4th, during the daytime hours, we’ll be hosting a tea and dumpling fundraiser.  The location and exact time will be announced within the next week, so keep checking to see where we’ll be popping up.

As of now, and it’s looking rather promising, February 20th will be our official launch date.  We have a sample menu posted on our new facebook page, which if you haven’t liked yet, you should go do now!




Also, all the proceeds from January 28th’s Cloak and Dagger does Iconic Dishes dinner, will be used towards the Chinese Laundry launch.

Help spread the word about the Chinese Laundry please.

Any questions, email Erika at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers