The truffle display alone, filled with row upon row of beautiful, handcrafted chocolates from the best confectioners in the world, is well worth the trip to this Charles Street boutique. Once we've chosen from the blood-orange fleur-de-lis and candied-bacon caramels, each dainty treat is wrapped individually—which we suppose is cool and all, but really just delays our tearing into them. 91 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, beaconhillchocolates.com.
Trailing orange blossom syrup and rose petal sugar, Ana Sortun's year-old bakery-café comes on like a Salome of sweets, beguiling the cupcake-and-cookie crowd with such Middle Eastern-inspired delicacies as Egyptian bread pudding and Syrian shortbread with rhubarb-rose jam. To pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick, our oversugared palates owe thanks for a much-needed dose of spice. 1 Belmont St., Cambridge, MA 2138, sofrabakery.com.
Where others might lean on 'steak wines' like big California cabs (yawn), Grill 23's DeWinter is likely to suggest a Paolo Bea Rosso 2000, from the little Umbrian town of Sagrantino, for your bone-in filet—he's just that excited about the unsung heroes in his cache of some 1,500 labels. Odds are, you will be, too. 161 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 2116, grill23.com.
Formaggio features a carefully considered yet seemingly endless array of marbled blues, sharp cheddars, and runny Robiolas, some of it kept in underground "caves" built to duplicate the conditions of the natural European caverns where cheeses are traditionally aged. You'll find a great selection of other high-end groceries, too, but just try walking out the door without an expertly wrapped wedge of fromage in your bag—it simply can't be done. 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA formaggiokitchen.com.
WHDH-TV, Channel 7, whose Jeff Derderian was slapped in the face on camera by an alleged sex offender's girlfriend while he was trying to interview her, and whose Mike Macklin—once reportedly charged with assault in an incident involving his girlfriend (the charges were later dropped)—was told on camera by an alleged priest sex victim: "We all have our problems."
Who says that a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none? Handyman extraordinaire Phil Nowers applies his substantial fix-it skills—and markedly pleasant attitude—to hanging curtains, installing smoke detectors, repairing stairs, putting up molding, and just about anything else a homeowner could need. On the rare occasion that Nowers can't solve a problem on his own, he'll bring along a specialist who can. 35 Pleasantdale Rd., West Roxbury, MA 2132, .
Chef Michael Leviton's ode to fresh, light, locally sourced cuisine is an elegant yet casual boîte perfect for toasting birthdays and promotions, or even just a night away from the kids. The vaguely French menu focuses less on a specific style of cuisine than the food's provenance, which translates to vibrant dishes like flaky Maine halibut served with roasted artichokes and a citrusy salsa verde, or juicy Crystal Valley roast chicken perfumed with preserved lemon and mint—the kind of fare that turns an ordinary day into a celebration. 1293 Washington St., Newton, MA 2465, lumiererestaurant.com.
Big screens, sharp sound, stadium seating. The AMC Fenway, once again, gets top billing. And here's why: We like our popcorn popping out of its box in Sony Dynamic Digital Sound. We prefer to recline way back in club-car-like seats. And we insist on plenty of parking. Hollywood cinema may lack substance, but at least you can treat yourself to star service in the theater. 401 Park Dr., Boston, MA fandango.com/regalfenwaystadium1326rpx_aaovd/theaterpage.
The best gay club in town? Whichever "straight" bar (their words) this grassroots group decides to take over, flash-mob style. Unlikely past locales have included Tommy Doyle's, An Tua Nua...even Europhile favorite Caprice. Once you find out where to go—the details are announced via listservs and Twitter—get there early: Lines often stretch around the block. bostonguerrilla.com.
This is not the place to go to make some great new musical discovery—the Pavilion's schedule remains heavy on well-known arena rockers. But there's no better spot to catch your favorite '80s band than this open-air venue, especially once the sun sets, the breeze picks up, and you settle in with a couple of frosty beers. Bonus: As Boston's waterfront continues to develop, so do the Pavilion's pre- and post-show drinking and dining options, such as Morton's, Legal Test Kitchen, and Atlantic Beer Garden. 290 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2210, bankofamericapavillion.net.
Fundraising is still under way to save this beloved Harvard Square institution from the pernicious encroachments of Netflix and TiVo, and the outcome remains uncertain. All the more reason to buy tickets for the Brattle's screenings of foreign gems, art-house premieres, tributes to Golden Age Hollywood, and annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival. Skip the DVD for once, and watch Casablanca the way it was meant to be seen: on the big (independent) screen. 40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, brattlefilm.org.
Know a guy in need of a makeover? Steer him to this fledgling family-run menswear spot, where the eclectic threads have personality, like the flower-printed Original Penguin button-downs; slim-fit Levi’s jeans; and cheeky Spenglish tees (skinny ties, swimsuits, shaving brushes, and fun socks are among the slew of trimmings also on offer). Once outfitted, he’ll want to check out the trunk shows, styling sessions, and other in-store events. 606 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, carameloclothing.com.
For a generation, this minimal-frills North End eatery at the water’s edge has attracted a legion of fans with its herb-y, unpretentious, preposterously thick take on the New England staple. To wit: Each overflowing mug comes loaded with fresh, tender clams and, in an unusual but welcome twist, a handful of chopped dill. There are few chowders in Boston this rich, and none this good. 80 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02110, thebostonsailloft.com.
First impressions count, especially when it comes to wedding invitations, which set the tone for the entire event. Work with designers Emily Hostetler and Caitlin Snyder to create custom letterpress or flat-printed pieces jazzed up with on-trend hand lettering, funky geometric patterns, or intricate maps. Don’t have enough time (or budget) to go bespoke? Paper Moss’s ready-to-order collection offers just enough customization options to make it feel personal. papermoss.com.
Tired of the humdrum pace of that 9-to-5 lifestyle? Head out to Braintree to show the world you’re really the next Danica Patrick in training. Sure, you’ll be driving a go-kart at a slower speed than the average grandmother, but once you’re clad in an actual racing jump suit, helmet on, whipping around the indoor track, you’ll swear you’re ready for the big leagues. Hairpin curves and an endless series of Days of Thunder references await. 290 Wood Rd., Braintree, MA 02184, f1boston.com.