Blue Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Peach
605 Canal St., (504) 523-1661; palacecafe.com
Palace Café has enough signature dishes to fill the menu at a smaller restaurant. But the kitchen still works in a lot of seasonal specialties, and an outstanding current example is a late taste of summer epitomized by this peach stuffed with gorgonzola and bacon ($11). It might sound decadent, but the cheese and bacon are both applied with a restrained hand, adding their respective pungent and smoky, salty flavors to the sweet ripeness of the fruit. Corn relish with a hint of jalapeno and a gilding of thick balsamic vinegar anchor the beautiful composition. The seasonal window for peaches is closing, so if this is in your wheelhouse I’d get here in a hurry.
Blue Oak BBQ
2828 Canal St., (504) 822-2583; blueoaknola.com
Blue Oak pitmasters Ronnie Evans and Philip Moseley named this sandwich ($12) for a college friend who smoked almost as much as their wood-fired barbecue cooker out back. A meat-on-meat proposition, it starts with very peppery, juice-gushing sausage, sliced to reveal purple smoke rings, packed together with chopped brisket with savory/sweet caramelized edges. Slaw and pickles are tucked in to dress it up and perhaps soften the impact of so much pepper and smoke in one place. The brioche bun is as dark as the brisket and, after containing the meats for a minute or two, just as juicy. Blue Oak is inside the music club Chickie Wah Wah, and serves at the bar or from the walk-up window outside.
Fried Chicken Livers and Eggs
601 Gallier St., (504) 944-9272 elizabethsrestaurantnola.com
Take a festival food favorite, add some eggs and hashbrowns, or maybe grits, and you have this straightforward but still unorthodox combination ($10) for a morning meal. Pepper jelly seeps over the musky, mineral funk of chicken livers, which are thickly crusted in a crackling-crisp batter, and mixes with the eggs. Served on the all-day breakfast menu, it’s a big plate of country flavors that can seem just right after a night on the town.
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.