You care about your car. Somerville Car Wash and Detail Center does, too. With tons of affordable options, from hand wheel-polishing to an odor-control treatment (we’re looking at you, pet owners), this is the perfect place to get your ride looking like new. Bonus: The guys here are so well trained in the art of customer service that you’ll never feel judged, no matter how dirty your car was when you pulled up. 680 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA 2143, seeyoushine.com.
The rustic mite loaves and prosciutto-and-Parmesan-studded ciabattas at this North End bakery, located down an alley off Hanover Street, are a reminder that bread-baking is not only a precise science, but also an art form. Across from the bakery you’ll find Bricco’s new salumeria and pasta shop, which offers another must-have: hearty, spongy focaccia topped with everything from artichokes to arugula. 241 Hanover St., Boston, MA 2113, bricco.com/panetteria.
For atavistic hearts who still take pleasure in the smell of newsprint and the crackle of magazine stock, a trip to the Trident is a trip to paradise. The bookstore-cum-newsstand-cum-restaurant carries glossies from Arena to Yankee, not to mention a library of literary journals and a graduate seminar's worth of art and photography magazines. Browsers more dot-com-oriented than broadsheet-minded relish the free WiFi and the satisfying soup and salads. 338 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2115, tridentbookscafe.com.
This is the place for parents tired of chain stores and brands, logos, and swooshes. For more than 40 years, Mario Corsaro has been buying classic, supple leather Italian shoes for children. His staff is trained in the art of fitting small feet— they will not sell you a shoe that does not fit. Just don't expect any sneakers with flashing lights. 285 Hanover St., Boston, MA .
An unlikely place to find Newbury Street-quality merchandise, but don't be deterred by its setting hard by Foodmaster and Blockbuster Video. A small but lovely selection of art furniture, innovative gifts, CD storage racks, mirrors, photo albums, and classy cards make this a perfect place to pick up a wedding gift or a birthday present. And when you've finished shopping, swing by the other side of the shop for a latte and biscotti. Charlestown Mall, Charlestown, MA .
We can't quite put our finger on when brow shaping morphed from a quick rip of indifferently applied tape into an art form. But we do know that LuxLash has perfected the procedure. The specialty spa, so popular it moved to a larger location six months after opening, charges a reasonable $25 to $35 for a painless, expertly waxed and plucked arch. Owner Suzanne Cats has even developed her own brow-extension technology for those who believe more is more. 232 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, luxlash.com.
Thanks to a two-year, $68 million renovation of the former Boston Police Department headquarters, Jurys's wall of trickling water, sparkling elevators, lavish suites, and stunning marble bathrooms (with heated towel racks) are a far cry from the holding cells of yesteryear. A sizable accumulation of contemporary Irish art and a helpful staff lend European class to these very American quarters. 350 Stuart St., Boston, MA .
Awarded "Photographer of the Year" by the Professional Photographers Association of Massachusetts, this talented Boston newcomer wowed the judges with her wedding album, which took top honors. Artful black and white photographs capture the day in all its candid glory and charm, from prewedding jitters to frolicking flower girls, to Daddy's last dance with his little girl. 105 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
Anyone tired of cheesy, slick portraits on fake backgrounds will appreciate the simply, honest beauty of Unger's work. She prefers her subjects unposed in familiar surroundings with natural light. The result: refreshingly candid and artful shots. And she prints everything in classy black and white on high-quality paper, perfect for a long-lasting family heirloom.
A TV show as appraiser? Absolutely. WGBH turns out episodes in various cities, where locals line up with treasured heirlooms and garage-sale finds. Some of the art specialists in the country—including some of the local auction bigwig Skinner—are on hand to give owners and viewers information on their finds, including the estimated value. Ah, the agony of learning your prized highboy is a well-crafted knockoff? Ah, the pleasure of discovering that one of granny's knickknacks is worth more than the house!
The Bristol is a refreshing respite from the cigar-chompin' clubbier bars around town, yet it still manages—with its white-coated waitstaff, marble bar tops, and Vose Galleries art—to maintain a stately feel. Maybe that's why visiting celebrities (Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan, Billy Joel) flock to its sofas and armchairs. Or maybe it's the signature martinis (stiff and serious, even in the more frivolous forms such as the green apple) and warm nut mix that keeps them coming back for more. 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA fourseasons.com/boston/dining/the_bristol_lounge/.
Assuming the hyperfestive décor at this family-owned joint hasn't already knocked you on your heels, there's no doubt the powerful, wide-ranging flavors will. Surrounded by a rainbow of serapes and folk art furniture, diners are primed with homemade chips and salsa (and usually some high-test margaritas) before getting down to business. Mole is among the strong suits here, as is anything doused with the bright chili verde sauce. Bonus points for solid vegetarian choices, and lunch specials that pack dinnertime heft. 449 Main St., Melrose, MA 02176-3837, .
The sad fact is that big corporate multiplexes show big corporate movies. Truly, you are what you screen. Which makes Brookline's Coolidge Corner Theatre an art-house jewel among the plastic giants. This 75-year-old, not-for-profit space boasts a classy schedule of documentary, international, and independent movies. The Coolidge also keeps a hand in the community by hosting readings, live performances, and film festivals. 290 Harvard St., Brookline, MA coolidge.org/.
Enjoying the artistry of independent cinema doesn't have to mean enduring drafty old theaters. The Kendall Square is as state-of-the-art as any megaplex, but with niche amenities like baked goodies from Dancing Deer Baking Company and green tea. Sure, the tickets and concessions are a little pricey, but inside the nine intimate Dolby Digital Surround EX theaters, the seats are comfy and come equipped with cup holders. Cheap parking and a convenient shuttle from the MIT-Kendall Square T stop make getting there a cinch. One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA landmarktheatres.com/market/boston/kendallsquarecinema.htm.
Since 1933, this not-for-profit theater has boasted a diverse schedule of international and independent movies and documentaries. Modern indie films; broadcasts from London's National Theatre and Europe's grand operas; big-screen classics; midnight cult films and sing-alongs; and weekend variety shows for the kids—it's all here in an art deco theater with retro appeal. The Coolidge also keeps a hand in the community by hosting readings, live performances, and film festivals. 290 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 2446, coolidge.org.