It’s National Bagel Day, but it’s not like we need an excuse to eat lox and bagels.
The cured-and-smoked salmon’s unique flavor, when partnered (as it so commonly is) with tomato, onion, cream cheese and capers creates a rich, creamy indulgence fit for a king/queen on a subway, headed to the nearest deli.
Sure, you could go to the chains — the Einstein Bros Bagels, the Big Apple Bagels — to get that fix, but we’d rather take you to six local spots to help you get your allotted sodium intake for the day.
From inexpensive and quick to the gourmet and artisanal, these choices range from around $8 all the way up to $17. Some are ready-made and best to-go. Others are involved platters you build yourself, where you govern how much of each ingredient you wish to have in your own choose-your-own-lox adventure.
Here they are, in order of lowest price to highest:
The “Loxy Lady” is a steamed, plain bagel topped with smoked salmon, capers, tomato, red onion, cream cheese and cucumbers. It’s well-proportioned and easy, with a tinfoil wrapper to take to-go or enjoy there. The chewiness of the steamed bagel is one of those nostalgic hangover cure-alls that only Ripple Bagel and Deli can deliver. This one’s the cheapest at $7.50.
This one comes ready-made in an open-face format — think a lox pizza — with cream cheese, tomato, red onion, capers, lox. It doesn’t offer as much of a heaping portion of sliced salmon, which might be a good thing for those who think the flavor can be overpowering. $10.
The bagel is the standout in this one: It’s a toasted everything bagel made with lots of the “everything” seeds. It’s a full sandwich with herb cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, red onion and capers. It’s $10 at the YMCA, and $11 at the Indiana History Center.
4. Milktooth, 534 Virginia Ave.
OK, so this is technically on a bialy — not a bagel, but it’s a close enough relative that we allowed it in. This version, at the popular Fletcher Place brunch spot, is a toasted house bialy with lemon paprika lox, whipped cream cheese, shaved onion, capers and arugula. The addition of the greens adds some welcome freshness to the typical lox bagel, and is the most unique take on the dish. $12.
5. Shapiro’s Delicatessen, multiple locations (we ate ours at 808 S. Meridian St.).
This version, the most traditional, uses more Nova Lox than you could possibly ever need — but that’s how Shapiro’s rolls. It comes out on a plate after all your other dining partners have received their meals, but it’s worth the wait. It’s on a toasted plain bagel, with tomato, onion, capers, Greek olives and cream cheese, all to build yourself. $12.50.
6. Patachou, multiple locations (we ate ours at 225 W. Washington St.).
This make-your-own version is made with Ora King sustainable smoked salmon on a toasted bagel with tomato, cream cheese, red onion, cucumbers, olives and a healthy portion of capers. The crispness of the diagonal-cut cucumbers changes the mono-textured meal and eases some of the saltiness of the dish. $16.95.
And if none of these sound like they’re your style, here are two places to get a free bagel on Feb. 9:
1. Einstein Bros is offering a free bagel and cream cheese (“shmear,” to them) with any purchase, and they’ll donate a bagel to someone in need for each they give away.