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Bagel Rising

As of last month, Americans had spent more than $3 billion on bagels. That means two things: the cereal industry must be hurting, and many companies are capitalizing on the popularity of this convenient round bread. Bagel Rising, a cozy café in Allston, opened last summer in a high-traffic location (at Harvard and Comm Aves). Now it's a popular spot for a variety of crispy, freshly baked bagels with different flavors of rich cream cheese ($1.25 to $2.25). The bagels are baked with extras like wild berries, garlic, and veggies. Cream cheese choices include scallion, sun-dried tomato, and honey raisin. Wake-up beverages (99cents to $1.99) are plentiful, and here you get more coffee for your buck than at Starbucks.

For lunch, the Sahara ($3.95) is a good choice; the hummus, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, and tangy havarti make for an excellent ensemble of piquant flavors. The most adventurous concoction is Goldy's Delicious Smoked Fish Combo ($5.25): any kind of bagel piled high with whitefish salad, nova lox, tomato, onion, and cream cheese. Very tasty -- but don't forget your breath mints.

Bagel Rising, at 1243 Comm Ave in Allston, is open daily from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Call 789-4000.

-- Theresa Regli

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