CASUAL

Costa Rican Breakfast

Ruby Slipper Café

2001 Burgundy St.

200 Magazine St.,

139 S. Cortez St.

1005 Canal St.

(504) 525-9355

therubyslippercafe.net

After growing to four locations, this popular local breakfast and lunch café revamped its menu to serve the same dishes across its different dining rooms. That move has changed the Costa Rican breakfast ($11) from a frequent special to a permanent option to start your day with the powerhouse combo of rice and beans (black beans in this case) dressed with a mild, warm tomato salsa. I order the eggs fried, break them up into the rice, mix in chunks of spicy chorizo and then use the long, thin slices of fried plantain like chips to scoop it all up.

UPSCALE

Wood Grilled Lemonfish

Red Fish Grill

115 Bourbon St., (504) 598-1200; redfishgrill.com

To my taste, lemonfish (a.k.a. cobia) is one of the most flavorful catches from the Gulf, with the bright flair promised in its name evident through its firm white fillets. That makes it a prime contender for the always-changing lighter treatments known as the “spa plate” ($22 lunch/$26 dinner) at Red Fish Grill. A bit of wood smoke from the hickory-fed grill suffuses the fish, while light char on grilled fennel adds to its aroma. Sweet potato purée doubles as a sauce, and with dark green kale as a side you can probably splurge on dessert.

WILDCARD

Roast Beef Pizza

Vine Dine

141 Delaronde St., (504) 361-1402; vine-dine.com

Combine two popular comfort foods and it seems reasonable that you could come up with something like a super comfort food. So why should roast beef pizza ($15) sound so unusual? Maybe we’re just more accustomed to an either/or proposition with these two favorites. But the example at this delightfully laidback wine shop, wine bar and café in Algiers Point is delicious in its own right and manages to evoke yet another comfort food comparison along the way. Plumped with mushroom slices over a creamy white sauce, its toppings of beef and grilled onions under a stretchy blanket of Swiss all work together on the bubbly, substantial, toasty-golden crust like a French onion soup pizza.

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.