When blu opened at Sports Club/LA last winter, many eyed the restaurant with suspicion. Would the brightly colored, Cali-inspired glass-walled dining room work in Boston? Would the menu be filled with bland, flavorless health club fare? The answers: yes and no—in that order. And it's all thanks to Dante deMagistris, the 27-year-old Belmont native who has won the hearts and stomachs of Bostonians with his culinary style (honed under Michael Schlow during their stint together at Café Louis and flourishing under blu co-owner and culinary legend Michela Larson). Even fitness-phobes clamor over deMagistris's fresh seasonal dishes. His "Out of the blu" appetizer, a presentation of assorted sashimis served on brightly colored glass plates, is a work of art, while entrées like steamed wild striped bass or potato gnocchi (made from deMagistris's grandmother's recipe) show the promise of a chef on the rise. Sports Club/LA, 4 Avery St., Boston, MA blurestaurant.com/.
A good trainer knows how to get people in killer shape. A great trainer is part fitness expert, part therapist, part motivational speaker, and—let's face it—part drill sergeant. Mitch Shechtman amalgamates all of the above, and adds to the mix a solid dose of humor that takes the edge off that grueling last set of squats. His understanding of just how hard to push clients physically and mentally is a sixth sense. None of which is particularly surprising when you consider that Shechtman is head trainer at BodyScapes, a fitness center dedicated solely to the notion that bodies benefit most from one-on-one time with an expert. Just as important, though, is Shechtman's other dedication: to make workouts tough but fun. One Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
With “Anything for Selena” — a limited series that’s part investigation, part love letter, and part deeply personal essay — WBUR’s Maria Garcia gets to the heart of why so many people still adore the late Tejano pop star. Through vivid storytelling in both English and Spanish, she fills in gaps in the public’s understanding of Selena’s life via intimate interviews with elusive family members. Mixed in are heart-to-hearts with fans who saw, as she did, an aspirational version of themselves in the code-switching, border-straddling performer. wbur.org/anythingforselena.
A good eyebrow artist can change your face, but a great one can change your world. Part therapist, part girlfriend, and all parts godsend, Julie Michaud is Boston's arch angel. Her minimum-pain tweezing sessions—peppered with good gossip, health factoids, and beauty tips—result in perfect but natural brows fit to flatter every face. And while Michaud's talent has turned her scheduling book into a fortress (be smart and book months in advance), it's also turned the business into a dynasty; if Julie's booked, don't hesitate to make a reservation with any of her equally adept colleagues. 297 Newbury St., Suite 21, Boston, MA .
Hidden in the quiet, tweedy folds of residential Cambridge, this neighborhood restaurant is part exquisite cuisine, part delicious local fare, and all parts homage to true French bistro culture. Entering the intimate, family-owned spot, with its cozy furniture and warm colors, is like walking into a well-loved (and well-populated) living room. But the extremely well-priced menu is anything but predictable. Chef Tony Maws keeps it fluid with his improvisations (Exhibit A: the red chile-marinated prime hangar steak with sultry roasted bone marrow) and an ebb and flow of local produce so fresh, all Montmartre would be impressed. 5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA craigieonmain.com.
Whose typical response to a political thwarting is to retire to his office for a good long sulk. Will someone please tell George to grow up and take his lumps like a big boy.
<em>Phoenix</em> political writer Al Giordano's portrayal of House Speaker Charlie Flaherty as a statesman.
If Giordano had taken his blinders off for a couple of minutes, he might have realized that Flaherty isn't part of the solution, he's part of the problem.
Take one part funky restaurant and one part festive bar scene. Sprinkle it with urban hipsters, geeky academics, and East Cambridge natives. Shake gently to the beat of Sinatra or maybe a little Esquivel. Chill to taste. 92 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA .
Who says rock is dead? With a club like the Paradise offering its stage to the kinds of acts that will never, ever get air time on MTV (and that's a good thing), the genre is thriving. Everything about the Paradise is designed for the audience: the acoustics, the lights, the five bars (the lines are never long for a drink), and the long, rectangular space that lets just about everyone get close to the stage. Which is why acts from the Donnas to Ryan Adams have lined up to play the Paradise this year, the club's 25th in business. With the addition of the adjacent Paradise Lounge, there's now a smaller stage for acoustic shows by local acts, plus a bar menu for between-show snacks. And unlike other Boston clubs, which stage their shows on the early side so they can turn their floors over to dancing by 10, the Paradise rocks all night long. 969 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA thedise.com/.
Celebrated grill god Chris Schlesinger's Inman Square spot is its own Cambridge institution—part community hangout, part nationally known restaurant, part vacation. Wild décor (from the blackboard that shouts daily fresh fish specials to the kitschy "live volcano") and even wilder mixed drinks (like the scotch bonnet pepper—infused "martini from hell") set the scene for equatorial specialties from the world's most spice-obsessed regions. That means terrific barbecue, sweetly rich fried plantains, wasabi-laced tuna, and an inventive postmodern pupu platter to die for. Hot-food connoisseurs shouldn't miss "Hell Night," a fiery food challenge featuring some of the spiciest foodstuffs on the planet. 1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA eastcoastgrill.net/.
A gallery space for top-notch local artists, including Roger Jones, Ken Brown, and Karen Aqua. 15 Pearl St., Cambridge, MA .
The Market Theater clamored onto the local scene pledging edgy, experimental works. And it made good with creative programming like Frederick Wiseman's The Last Letter and Biljana Srbljanovic's Family Stories. Now that the company is vacating its Harvard Square location and founder Greg Carr has parted ways with director Tom Cole, the first crop of Market devotees may find themselves back at the A.R.T.
The Police and U2 are tough acts to follow. But night after night at the Paradise, musicians take the very same stage where those greats once played. The three-level venue hosts both nationally recognized acts (Kings of Leon, Jack Johnson) and local up-and-comers (the Slip, Apollo Sunshine) piping their performances through a booming, second-to-none sound system made for big bass, pounding percussion, and fierce vocals. 969 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, .
Some desserts are among life's sweetest rewards precisely because they aren't too sweet. Kristen D. Murray understands this. Consider her walnut pain perdu, a soft and almost custardy bread laden with tart red currants, rich, nutty crunch, and tangy water-buffalo-milk yogurt sorbet. Or feast your eyes—and stomach—on her black pepper cheesecake, a masterpiece of smooth cheese jolted with black pepper and cut with the soothing sweetness of caramelized pineapple and tart-as-can-be-green apple compote. 9 Park St., Boston, MA no9park.com/.
Need some inspiration to kickstart that rooftop garden you've always wanted? You'll find it here. Part hardware store, part botanical garden, Mahoney's has countless spades and shears, plus all the soil, fertilizer, and pots you'll ever need. The selection of seeds, hanging plants, flower trays, vegetable plants, herbs, cacti, and even bonsai trees, makes this the most fertile corner of Cambridge. 889 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA mahoneysgarden.com/.