Eighty 8 Donuts Cafe serves bite-sized donuts in a variety of flavors. Photo by Ellen O’Keefe

The Eighty 8 Donut Cafe, which specializes in bite-sized doughnuts, opened last week in its new location at 225 Federal St. in Portland.

Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Eighty 8 Donuts are served in orders of six, or a variety pack of 25, and come in flavors such as cinnamon sugar, Maine maple and Boston cream.

The doughnuts are also available from a Portland-area food truck and at a cafe at Sugarloaf.

Farewell to Figgy’s

Figgy’s fans, you have four days left to say your goodbyes. The fried chicken takeout place at 722B Congress St. in Portland will serve its last order Saturday.

Owner Natalie “Figgy” DiBenedetto announced a couple of weeks ago that she is leaving the restaurant industry. Hours for these remaining few days will be 3 to 8 p.m.

Serious about sustainability 

If you enjoy a classic tuna fish sandwich for lunch, here’s an alternative you might also like: wood-grilled cobia prepared tuna-salad style, with lettuce, tomato and sprouts.

Wood-grilled cobia and other ingredients for the Black Pearl sandwich at Cera in Portland. Photo courtesy of Cera

That’s the Black Pearl sandwich at Cera, the new upscale-yet-fast-casual restaurant at One Monument Square, which opened earlier this month, with daily and weekend hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Everything at Cera is made from scratch. Chef Sean Doherty (formerly of the Rooms restaurants) cures and roasts (in a brick oven) pastrami, ham, turkey and roast beef. The restaurant also ferments and pickles its own vegetables and hot peppers.

Sustainability is a big part of Cera’s philosophy, thus the “tuna-ish” salad sandwich made with cobia, a flaky white fish that eats like swordfish. Co-owner Steven Lacount said he and his partners felt that they couldn’t guarantee that any tuna they served would be sustainably caught, so instead they are buying cobia from Open Blue, a Caribbean-based company that raises the fish in deep-water ocean farms.

Cera is also donating a portion of its profits toward bee protection, and selling raw, unfiltered Maine wildflower honey for $7.50 per 10-ounce jar; 100 percent of those sales will go to save-the-bee organizations.

In addition to the Black Pearl, look for the Nashville Samurai, a take on Nashville fried chicken with Japanese fried chicken (karaage), spicy-citrusy honey, lettuce, mayo and house pickles on a seeded scali roll; Peaches the Pig, with smoked ham, cheddar, lettuce, and peach-jalapeno chutney; and The Jabberwocky, with roast beef, pastrami, North Country uncured bacon, local Swiss cheese, barbecue sauce, red onion and tomato.

West End to get new cafe/market

Smalls, a new all-day cafe, will be taking over the space at 28 Brackett St. in Portland’s West End, the former home of The Cider House.

Samantha Knopf, a New Yorker who has been visiting Portland for 20 years and moved here just before the pandemic started, says the 20-seat cafe will have a full coffee program and much else. “We’ll have a couple of salads,” she said. “We’ll have some pressed sandwiches. Hopefully we will have a happy hour for the last couple of hours of the day. We’ll serve oysters and some small plates.”

She plans to partner with local businesses, such as Solo Cucina Market in South Portland, which will provide pastries for the cafe. The space will have a small market selling food, wine and gifts – a little bit of everything, Knopf said, “but we’re not going to be like a grocery store.”

Knopf spent 25 years in the hospitality industry in New York. Her partners in Smalls are Karl Deuben and Arryan Decatur from East Ender restaurant in Portland.

The business’ name, Knopf said, is a reference to getting items from small purveyors, but it’s also about “all the little small things that are treats in life.”

“In my mind, there are just not enough places that just have good, simple ingredients,” Knopf said. “You can come in a couple of times a week for breakfast, you can come in a couple of times a week for dinner. It’s a place that’s very accessible to everyone and has delicious, not-too-fussy but thoughtful food.”

Knopf says she hopes to be open by mid-September.

Farm dinners are back

After closing last year summer because of COVID-19, The Stone Barn at Sebago Lake has reopened for farm-to-table dinners prepared by chef Mary Paine, former owner of the Pepperclub in Portland.

The Stone Barn sits on an 18-acre farm at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. The dinners begin with local cheeses and appetizers. The main course for the Aug. 19 dinner is local grilled beef tenderloin; dessert is wild local berry trifle with lemon curd and orange blossom cream. The $85 cost includes gratuity and tax, but not alcohol. The barn opens at 5 p.m., and dinner starts an hour later.

The venue is also hosting family-style community suppers under a tent in the courtyard. Diners will be able to meet the farmers and makers who supplied the food, and watch a food demonstration. These dinners are scheduled for Aug. 5 and Sept. 9, and cost $45 each.

For complete menus, or to purchase tickets, go to stonebarnmaine.com/events.

Mushroom literacy

The Ecology School at River Bend Farm in Saco is partnering with North Spore, a company that sells mushroom cultivation supplies, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association on “Mycology Outside: A Mushroom Weekend in Maine,” workshops that will teach participants how to grow and cook mushrooms.

The weekend, scheduled for Sept. 11 and 12, costs $300. Participants can stay over Friday night in the dormitory at River Bend Farm for an extra $100. Proof of vaccination is required.

Workshops will include guided foraging walks, cooking classes and at-home cultivation techniques. A speaker will talk about “Mushrooms as Medicine.” The fee for the weekend includes one mushroom log. Questions? Email Alex Grindle at [email protected] Or go to theecologyschool.org to register.


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