The beauty of this dim sum spot's new Quincy location is in the extensive, sharply executed menu: In addition to traditional cart service, diners can order dishes via checklist, which means the char siu-stuffed bao are fluffier, the wok-fried radish cakes are crisper, and the pea pod stems—prone to wilting and sogginess at lesser restaurants—still retain their vibrant color and delicate crunch. Bonus points for a full bar. 706 Hancock St., Quincy, MA 02170, winsordimsum.com.
This 45-year-old local hair empire has expanded over the decades, launching its own product line, opening several satellite locations, and cultivating a strong media and runway presence thanks to dynamic lead stylist Nick Penna. But the Newton salon retains a family-owned vibe thanks to regular charity events for local institutions like Boston Children’s Hospital, pop-up shops with neighborhood businesses, and stylists who act like old (albeit exceedingly dexterous) pals. 31 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, MA 02461, saloncapri.com.
Unlike the chef-owners who delegate oenophilic duties elsewhere, Michael Serpa has embraced the role of part-time wine professional, curating an astute list that displays the same fastidiousness as his seafood menu. Debating between a sancerre and that stony Sicilian rosé? Just ask the chef: He knows the perfect glass to stand up to the panoply of flavors in his saffron-tinged bouillabaisse. 50 Gloucester St., Boston, MA 02115, selectboston.com.
One session with owner Lauren Rampello, and you’ll never hop into an automated spray-tan booth again. Her paraben-, formaldehyde-, and retinol-free formula is meticulously applied by hand, leaving no room for streaks or missed spots. Stop into the recently opened studio for a custom color consultation, or let Rampello bring her pop-up tanning station to your home. Either way, 20 minutes is all you’ll need for a subtle glow that lasts for the better part of a week. 176 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, pureglowtanning.com.
Visiting Oleana chef Ana Sortun's narrow bakery on the Cambridge fringes is an exotic way to kick-start the day. The menu is a parade of Mediterranean-inspired delights, including the luscious shakshuka, poached eggs pooling in a tangy tomato-curry broth that has even the most dignified Cantabrigians scraping the bowl. Ever-changing items like pistachio Pop-Tarts and pancakes stuffed with briny halloumi cheese and Swiss chard round out the glorious morning menu. 1 Belmont St., Cambridge, MA 02138, sofrabakery.com.
Elizabeth Smith to the rescue: When we rang needing immediate attention for our graying tresses, the stylist fit us in the next day—and matched our brunette locks perfectly, all while maintaining an intuitive balance of chattiness and quietude as we lounged on a couch, waiting for our color to develop. The best part? The salon’s gentle, ammonia-free dye meant we didn’t leave with a burning scalp after color correction—just glossy, shiny hair. skysalonlincoln.com.
Given its northerly location, Newburyport has an edge over other area markets: It's able to draw in vendors from southern New Hampshire. But it's the sheer magnitude of the selection—which ranges from standard-issue fruits and veggies to raw honey, locally caught fish and shellfish, and sustainably raised goat meat, not to mention prepared goodies like sweet and savory tarts from Puff—that draws crowds. Sundays May through November, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tannery, Newburyport, MA 1950, thenewburyportfarmersmarket.org.
Calling a restaurant "very New York" may not be a politically correct compliment in these parts. And yet, the label fits. With its sleek design, sake sommelier, and mind-blowing food (we've heard at least one diner, upon sampling the foie gras nigiri with balsamic chocolate kabayaki, wish out loud that "sex could be this good"), O Ya outshines all the stunning additions to the city's dining scene this year—not to mention anything we've tasted you-know-where. 9 East St., Boston, MA .
In Dante's Inferno, Canto 6 describes the circle of hell reserved for the gluttonous. In J.P., it's a cheery bakery that lures patrons with dark chocolate cookies studded with tart dried cherries and buttery almond croissants dusted with powdered sugar. Nothing's too sweet or too rich, even the French canelles—champagne cork-size treats made with caramelized vanilla and rum. If you're looking to give into temptation, this is the place. 3346 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA canto6bakery.com.
Unless 'fashion victim' is the desired look, carting a mountain of logo-stamped luggage through Logan is simply gauche. Then again, so is cramming the overhead bin with junky duffels. For travel gear that's both upscale and functional, London Harness is the ticket. This place rocks enough quality baggage to cover a Brangelina family vacation, including sleek Bric's rollers and handsome Ghurka twill-and-leather weekenders. And at the Wellesley flagship's in-store Tumi boutique, the selection of classic nylon suitcases and garment bags is unbeatable. 45 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 2482, .
Though we're not usually fans of national chains, Sephora's credentials in this category are unimpeachable (as anyone who's browsed its well-stocked shelves can attest). The store's Pru outpost has an even bigger selection of cosmetics than its other locations in the area, which is why we head here for tried-and-trues (Nars, Lancome, Makeup For Ever, Tarte) and new obsessions (Hourglass, Temptu, Buxom). Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2199, sephora.com.
The expert bicyclists who double as the sales staff of ATA not only love to ride, they love to ride what they sell: a wide selection of bikes, accessories, and parts ranging from recreational hybrids to top-of-the-line racing models. A family business, the full-service store will do tune-ups or dole out maintenance advice just as happily as it will sell you a new set of wheels. 1773 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA atabike.com/.
Rarely is a salon so valued its devotees whisper its name like a password. That's the case with Umi, and no wonder. Owner Jeffrey Dauksevich approaches the craft of the coiffure with a time-tested reverence for flawless precision and daring creativity. There's no air-kissing or fluffing up of egos here—just a seriously talented set of stylists who are shear experts at everything from five-point cuts to soothing scalp treatments. Every part of the experience delights, right down to the mini bottles of Italian soda served to thirsty clients. 75 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
While not entirely indie—it's part of the Kimpton hotel group—Nine Zero is a singularly splendid place to lay your head. All rooms boast robes, European linens, and windows that open to let in the fresh air. But if you're lucky enough to book one of the Premier View offerings—or, even better, the Cloud Nine Suite—you'll be treated to some of the best vistas in the city. 90 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2108, ninezero.com.
Matsumoto is an international celebrity in her field. Part of a rising generation of specialists who have quietly revolutionalized the profession, she combines Chinese medical theory with Western pathology. Her unique methods—dubbed simply the Kiiko system—are taught in acupuncture schools worldwide. She's written dozens of articles and textbooks and lectured throughout the United States, Europe, Israel, and her native Japan. Yet she's hardly the austere guru type—her patients remain her top priority. Newton Acupuncture Clinic, 1647 Washington St., Newton, MA .