Boston cream pies are all about ratios: cake to chocolate, chocolate to cream, cream to cake. At Mike's Pastry in the North End, somebody did their algebra homework. More like a cake than a pie, Mike's rendition brings together equal parts satiny custard, rich chocolate frosting, and airy sponge cake. 300 Hanover St., Boston, MA .
This classic not-really-a-pie has three parts: cake, custard, and chocolate frosting. Bentonwood's version is unconventional—individual, cupcake-size BCPs, a circle of cake topped with a creamy custard, all hidden underneath a bittersweet-chocolate glaze, but terrific. 47 Langley Road, Newton Centre, MA .
After armed robbers fled with most of their inventory in 2010, owners David and Stacey Page considered shuttering their jewelry shop. Lucky for the South Shore, the couple decided to remain open, and they continue to showcase traditional offerings (Rolex watches, pearls) as well as funkier, chunkier options (colorful, celeb-approved baubles from Anzie). 35 Whiting St., Hingham, MA 2043, hinghamjewelers.com.
A 46-foot-long marble bar gives manager Jackson Cannon room to move as he stirs up snow cone daiquiris, tart Whiskey Smashes, and mojito-esque Old Cubans. The jazz-meets-Brit-pop beats entertain a mix of twentysomethings and power brokers—most of whom Cannon knows by name. 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, easternstandardboston.com.
Four miles of white sand, more than 200 species of birds, and awesome striper fishing in the flats. And, if you have a boat, you can get to the backside, an unpopulated part of the beach that stretches on so far, you'll feel like you're at the edge of the earth. Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA .
The glowing reviews keep pouring in—not only for the movies IFFBoston shows, but for the festival itself. Highlights this past year included Dean, a dark comedy about family loss, and a documentary about Will Lautzenheiser, the world's third person to receive a double-arm transplant, thanks to Brigham and Women's Hospital. iffboston.com.
Gina DeWolfe inherited her leather-working tools from her grandfather, so we have him to thank, in part, for the ultra-chic leather backpacks, satchels, and wallets that the School of Fashion Design grad now crafts by hand, cutting and stitching each of the sleek pieces to perfection. ginadewolfe.com.
This cheery Chinese-American favorite recently released a cookbook, but there’s no re-creating the restaurant’s palpable passion, which permeates gobble-worthy bites such as lemongrass pork dumplings, smoked haddock fritters, and an aptly dubbed Magical Kale Salad. 506 Park Dr., Boston, MA meimeiboston.com.
The Wal-Mart of Chinese markets, the 88 is an all-encompassing cultural experience. Among many other delights, it stocks fresh noodles, pigs' feet, frozen dumplings, inexpensive Chinese ceramics, ginseng gum, Vietnamese chili sauce, or koala-bear shaped Japanese chocolates packaged with origami-like complexity. 50 Herald St., Boston, MA .
Rubyhorse's recent album Rise does not "sparkle" like their single, but it's to catch these Irish rockers (who are Cork-to-Boston transplants) in the act. The band, which jammed on Conan O'Brien's show in the spring, tears up the stage with high-stamina riffs that would wear out the Energizer Bunny.
Other clubs wow 'em with ambiance: plastic tropics or Beyond Thunderdome desolation. Nightstage relies on the real thing: music. With acts including Wynton Marsalis, Varl Perkins, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Dizzy Gillespie, Nightstage is the liveliest of Boston's live-music clubs. 823 Main St., Cambridge, MA .
We adore the cases brimming with imported and locally made cheeses (like fiore di latte from Everett's Mozzarella House), the boxes teeming with exotic Asian vegetables, and a deli counter loaded with top-notch finds. But the best part about a trip to Russo's is that we get whole foods without dropping an entire paycheck. 560 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA 2472, russos.com.
Andy Seplow, part-time owner of a limited catering service called L'Alliance Pate, makes a firm, toothsome cheesecake based on cream cheese, sour cream, and ground almonds. It's available regularly at Peasant Stock, the Stock Pot, and Malben's Gourmet. 383 Somerville Ave., Somerville, MA .
In contrast to all the molecular tomfoolery of the moment (honey 'dust,' chocolate 'caviar'), Ewald's plates at Bistro du Midi are familiar yet refined. Ice cream melts into warm cherry clafouti; Armagnac infuses a plum-filled tart. Compared with this, the nouveau stuff seems about as tasty as, well, a freeze-driedgoji berry. 111 Chelsea St., East Boston, MA 2128, .
From the latest Pusheen merch and Tegu block sets to all sorts of crafts and STEM-themed kits, this spot stocks everything the kids in school are talking about and more. Best of all are the unfailingly friendly staffers, who are enthusiastic enough to tell you about their after-work games of Rat-a-Tat Cat. 17 White St., Cambridge, MA henrybear.com.