Breakfast. It's allegedly the most important meal of the day. But for most of us in New Orleans, breakfast is an afterthought. Scarfing down a banana on the drive to work or eating a granola bar at your desk is not exactly the apotheosis of a fine morning meal. And on the weekends, many of us find breakfast to be so inconsequential that we sleep through it, opting instead for brunch - an entirely different animal at which we thrive. But in the springtime, after the busy, hangover-laden months of football and Carnival have passed us by, our weekends open up and we are more inclined to rise and shine, stop and smell the roses, read the morning paper and have a proper breakfast.
Bagels have never been an integral component of a typical New Orleans diet. My earliest memory of eating bagels are the dry grocery store versions whose cut surfaces were as rough as sand paper. Things for the most part have not improved with time, as anyone who has eaten a bagel at a CLE or hotel continental breakfast can attest to. And, I loathe thick thick gobs of cream cheese.
But recently Artz Bagels has me singing a different tune when it comes to the round, boiled and baked breakfast staple. Northeastern transplants, the team behind Artz aims to bring the quintessential bagel to the Big Easy. A New York native in my office has told me on multiple occasions that Artz is the only worthwhile bagel purveyor in the city - good enough for him to warrant weekly trips to stock up on breakfast supplies.
I wasn't born and raised in New York, but I know delicious when I taste it. The bagels at Artz are excellent, with a chewy crust that does not require an extra set of molars for consumption. Bagels are 3" or so in diameter and come in a wide variety of flavors – asiago, salt, onion, garlic, and everything. The breakfast sandwich ($4.25) takes your pick of bagel flavors and fills it with a fried egg, your choice of cheese and pork product. Flavored cream cheeses abound, including creole veggie – an ingenious use of the trinity. Plain bagels are $1.09; add a $1 for a schmear.
Artz can be a bit difficult to locate for first timers. The Magazine municipal address is deceptive, as the entrance is halfway down Ninth Street. The dining room is white, bright, and spacious, with plenty of room to spread out with the morning paper. Definitely a reason to add breakfast to your Saturday or Sunday morning routine.
Artz Bagels - Birdie
3138 Magazine Street
Open Daily: 7am - 3pm