WILDCARD

Stuffed Bagel

Cake Café & Bakery

2440 Chartres St.

(504) 943-0010

nolacakes.com

It seems easier than ever to find a good bagel around New Orleans, and this Marigny bakery and café has been making quality contributions to that quest for years. More recently, it also added a different twist with stuffed bagels. These baseball-sized orbs of bagel don’t have a hole in the middle but do have a whole lot inside them. One version ($4) filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, capers and red onion is like a mini, self-contained breakfast platter.

They resemble kolaches, but have the taste and texture of a bagel, with a chewy, slightly sour body under a crisp, shiny outer crust, and as a practical measure they address the problem of bagel fillings sliding out from between sliced halves when you bite in, making them ideal for breakfast on the go.

UPSCALE

Smoked Foie Gras

Ox Lot 9

428 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 400-5663; oxlot9.com

At Ox Lot 9, which debuted last summer in Covington’s new and very impressive Southern Hotel, chef Jeffrey Hansell imbues the broader realm of Southern flavors with a particular Louisiana edge. That shows vividly in this head-turning foie gras appetizer ($17), which is cold-smoked with perique, the Louisiana-grown tobacco variety. It lends a deep earthiness (though with no perceptible tobacco flavor) beneath the hard-seared surface of the foie gras, which melts across the palate in warm, caramel flavors. Roasted pecan butter and plum jam add alternating rich and tart notes and an orange sage biscuit provides a mellow, hearty foil for the intense flavors above.

CASUAL

Coal-Oven Chicken Wings

Amici Ristorante & Bar

3218 Magazine St., (504) 300-1250; amicinola.com

Pizza from a coal-fired oven is the main proposition at Amici, the Italian restaurant that opened Uptown last year. That oven also flavors these chicken wings ($9) with a distinct smokiness and etches a line of char on their edges. Coated in rosemary and caramelized onions and bright with a lemony flavor, they make a good first course before the pizza, or a quick snack at the bar with a decidedly Italian signature.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.