Erica Feldmann’s spellbinding boutique blends the metaphysical (spell kits and tarot decks) with the sort of good taste even the devoutly unspiritual can appreciate (art by indie makers, naturally dyed meditation pillows). The shopkeeper draws on her background in design and feminist theory to help people spark some interior magic while encouraging self-care through reiki and tarot readings at the shop’s nearby “healing space”—this is Salem, after all. hauswitchstore.com/.
If the house-made charcuterie at Moody's deli is art, its adjoining restaurant, the Backroom, is the gallery in which chef-owner Joshua Smith's smoky, fatty, umami-rich masterpieces get their finest showcase. Spicy 'nduja is blended into a ragu for strands of bucatini here; Iberico pork belly dots a clam flatbread there. In fact, the entire menu, from the slow-smoked chicken with crisp spaetzle to the melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu brisket, is a master class in meat—and the perfect syrah or sangiovese to pair with it. 468 Moody St., Waltham, MA 2453, moodyswaltham.com.
Boston is touted as a top arts town, and it lives up to that ideal when its institutions are constantly refreshing their canons. Well, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has been doing just that since 1996: Its adventurous approach to contemporary classical music includes works by locals such as John Harbison and world premieres by international artists such as this year’s season finale of contemporary Chinese composers. MA bmop.org.
Is it uncool to call this store cool? Regardless, it’s hard not to get excited once you open the door camouflaged as a vending machine and step inside the sleek, well-lit space, where the latest and greatest styles from Nike, Adidas, and Puma are lined up like artifacts in a museum. And just to ensure Bodega continues its reign of cool, the brand opened Series, a constantly evolving micro art space just a couple of doors down that offers buzzy limited releases and serves as a mecca for local sneakerheads. 6 Clearway St., Boston, MA 02115, shop.bdgastore.com.
Grape-juice stewardship is an art, not a science. But it’s empirically proven that a well-informed beverage team increases your odds of success. Sommelier Robert Taylor manages arguably the city’s loveliest Italian lineup—showcasing gorgeous bottles in the two-digit range and exhilarating nebbiolo depth—and GM Megan McKinnon is a seasoned vino vet herself. A deep bench helps: On a recent visit, a clued-in server whisked us away on an impromptu Friulano mini tour. Charles Hotel, One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138, benedettocambridge.com.
Jill Rosenwald's groovy patterned pottery and accessories are pure bold technicolor, and so is her personality: Chatty and effusive, Rosenwald considers her clients and colleagues old friends. When you call her studio, it's actually her on the other end, always game to kibitz about your latest design needs. She's a big supporter of our arts scene, too, as a cofounder of the Design Salon, a networking organization for creative women to swap ideas and advice. 369 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, jillrosenwald.com.
Walk into this shop on a Saturday and you’re likely to run into dining-scene bigwigs like Shepard co-owner René Becker probing for tips on aging steaks or working with off cuts. That’s because owner Michael Dulock and his staff are experts in the art of butchery, specializing in pasture-raised animals reared on farms less than 250 miles away. 201A Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, mfdulock.com.
In seven years, founder and director (and former Boston Ballet teacher) Betsi Graves has grown Urbanity Dance into a thrilling, whimsical, acrobatic beast. Last year, the company collaborated twice with local chamber orchestra A Far Cry, leaping and weaving with the violinists in Jordan Hall. At the Institute of Contemporary Art in February, they performed "Bend," an orgy of strobe lights and corporeal geometry. Whether twisting into one another to form a human skirt or wrestling with their shadows, Urbanity's dancers fulfill their mission to "elevate physical intelligence." 1180 Washington St., Boston, MA 02118, urbanitydance.org.
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.