We like to think of this Brookline mainstay as the ultimate neighborhood monger, one that demonstrates its openness to the community through its displays: Pristine whole black bass, local squid, and carefully portioned fillets of sole and salmon are all laid out on ice for close inspection rather than hidden behind panes of glass. Local chefs have taken notice of Wulf’s wares as well, and the shop is angling for a restaurant distribution license. In the meantime, we suggest throwing one of their signature halibut steaks on the grill for your next seafood feast. 407 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 2446, .
Canny gastronomes make it a habit to trail MIT's international students to the area's top home-style Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American spots. So when we heard that Mary Chung was a hit with the grad students, we immediately set out to investigate. Befitting its Szechwan focus, the menu at this friendly Central Square hole in the wall is heavy on the heat. Start with the zesty Yu Hsiang eggplant and the dan dan noodles with shredded chicken, and finish up with the less-spicy crispy duck, which comes off the bone tender and juicy. 464 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 2139, marychung.com.
Tucked among brownstones on a South End street corner, this neighborhood Greek restaurant embraces certain Platonic truths. One, that there’s never too much salty char on a whole grilled lavraki with lemon and olive oil. Two, that frosty ouzo is a perfect palate cleanser for moving between garlicky mezzes. And three, that unpretentious food and a familiar vibe will always make a restaurant feel like home. 315 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA kavaneotaverna.com.
This acre-sized children's-wear store has such great buys that even mothers of triplets will smile as they pay the cashier. Savings average 40 percent below retail. West Meadow Shopping Plaza, Westborough, MA .
Marilyn Riseman has brought an art gallery into her designer-clothing shop. Watch for the Chinese prints. 112 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Nothing like it. More foot traffic than Disneyland. Stranger characters, too. Boston, MA
A lack of hassle is one major thing to look for in a cleaning service; the other, sparkling results. The Maids are the sole local pros in the tidying-up business who nail both every time. Armed with a serious stash of cleaning products, the uniformed crews deploy from their sunny yellow vehicles with a speed-oriented, no-fooling-around plan that leaves every corner of the target home immaculate. And unlike some experiences we've had with other, larger services, the Maids have yet to mix up our keys with another client's, or let our indoor cat outside. 179 Boylston St., Jamaica Plain, MA 2130, .
Getting into a Red Sox game these days is like trying to hit the Mega Millions jackpot: The odds are seriously not in your favor. Either you suck up to the boss in the faint hope he'll throw you one of the company tickets, or you overpay a scalper and pray you don't get scammed with phonies. Or, if you're smart, you try Ace Ticket: The company has been getting Bostonians into Pats games, concerts, and even Red Sox tilts for more than 20 years now. And because Ace is a licensed broker, you won't be left holding counterfeits when the big event hits town. 20 Franklin St., Allston, MA .
The chatty bartenders, trivia nights, and weekly karaoke are more than enough to turn this hidden gem into your go-to watering hole. But the friendly Rozzie locals are what really make Brannelly’s feel like the home you never knew you needed. 4432 Washington St., Boston, MA 02131, .