Hitching your sense of self to a big ol' oil company's logo might seem like a manifestation of corporate personhood, but the sign advertising the Venezuelan energy outfit Citgo, which towers over Kenmore Square, provides a quick way for people to situate themselves in Boston. Not only does its design make it one of those rare neon signs that looks good when the sun's shining, Fenway Park and its Instagram-ready tableaux are just a stroll away. Kenmore Square, Boston, MA 02215, .
Enter this unassuming restaurant inside the tiny Chatham Municipal Airport, and questions abound: Should I order the croissant breakfast sandwich or the poached eggs with beet-and-sweet-potato hash? Is it appropriate to spoon the house-made blackberry-lemon jam directly into my mouth? Whatever you end up choosing (or spooning), one thing’s for certain: Chef Brian Erskine’s interesting and infinitely satisfying dishes take brunch to new heights. 240 George Ryder Rd., Chatham, MA 2633, hangarbcapecod.com.
Outfitting your postmarital life is no small feat, so finding everything you need in one place and getting sage advice certainly helps. Bloomie's consultants deftly provide estimates and mix-and-match services to help you build a highly personalized wish list. Table setups let you see just how that Waterford looks with the Villeroy & Boch flatware, and if you decide you want the Baccarat instead, swaps are a cinch. 225 Boylston St., Newton, MA 2467, bloomingdales.com.
With its efforts this past year focused on footwear, Louis Boston now rivals national department stores in quantity—and beats them outright in quality. Delicious flats by Devotte and Gryson line one wall, while heels both timeless (Mayle) and risk-taking (Proenza Schouler) perch along another. And although $800 Balenciagas remain part of the offerings, it's possible to score an equally dynamite pair of Coclico sandals for a few hundred bucks (as, unable to resist, we did). 60 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2110, louisboston.com.
When the nanny complains that little Madison has outgrown her pinafores, get yourself (or send your personal assistant) to Bonpoint. The French clothier's exclusive pastel sweaters, jumpers, pants, and dresses are acclaimed by fashion editors and parents alike for their high quality and adorable designs. This cuteness costs, though—upwards of $100 for simple overalls, $230 for silk dresses, and $280 for cashmere baby one-pieces. Baby Gap, it isn't. 18 Arlington St., Boston, MA bonpoint.com/.
Your credit card may get a workout here, but think of the time you'll save: an entire wardrobe in one fell swipe. Workdays are covered with Surface to Air button-downs and Alexander McQueen ties; for weekend wear, scoop up hoodies and tees from T by Alexander Wang. And if your pockets start to feel empty, there's always the selection of wallets and handkerchiefs to fill 'em back up. 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, barneys.com.
When it comes to underthings, there are places for function (Macy's, Lord & Taylor) and places for fashion (Agent Provocateur). But Copley Place's Intimacy is both kinds of shops in one. Flattering, well-priced, practical lingerie and bra-fit swimwear (the biggest selection in town) suit a variety of occasions and cup sizes, while red-hot lace pieces by Aubade and Simone Pérle and a rainbow of Hanky Pankys are just for fun. 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, myintimacy.com.
Most men suffer bad relationships with their shoes. They scuff, give off smells (not the men, the shoes), and need frequent tying. And the guys we know hate to shop to replace theirs. So a one-stop shoe store is a godsend, and the Tannery is worth a pilgrimage. From Tevas to Timberland, sandals to the most softly shining leather loafers, the Tannery can shoe a foot for any occasion, and in any of an enviable range of labels. 402 Boylston St., Boston, MA thetannery.com.
Yes, we know the cultlike following can be a turnoff. But no other store has a more-comprehensive selection of products or better-educated employees, eager to help locate the ideal solution for your particular nursing/sleeping/strolling/fill-in-the-blank dilemma. Even if you don't enroll in one of the informative prenatal classes or organized playgroups, you'll still walk out feeling like an empowered mom or dad. Prudential Center, Boston, MA isisparenting.com.
Whatever your passion—volleyball, basketball, yoga, even bocce—City Sports has the gear you need, including high-performance pieces from its in-house CS line. Ask one of the sporty employees to help you browse the Gore-Tex jackets, or find cleats or sneakers that'll let you hit the field, court, or track running. 480 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2116, citysports.com.
When they are not playing in the local band Major Stars, Wayne Rogers and Kate Biggar offer the city's most impressive collection of rare, avant-garde, and alternative music. In one aisle, collectors can find seminal releases by The Fall and Rain Parade; in another, lunar jazz from the likes of Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman. In addition to an extensive selection of European psychedelic rock, the Village also stocks local music, reggae and world beat, and new vinyl from emerging independent labels. 12B Eliot Street, Cambridge, MA .
See you later, Pottery Barn: Essentia is the perfect place to find a hostess, shower, or birthday gift. Accessories from this boutique have that handmade quality without smacking of hokey, homespun earnestness. Instead, the wares are stylish. On offer are one-of-a-kind pottery pieces from the UK, Europe, and local areas, an array of linens and cushions, and a smattering of handmade jewelry pieces and other fashion accessories, including handbags and silk-printed scarves from RISD. The Mall at Chestnut Hill, Chestnut Hill, MA essentialifestyle.com.
Forget the perfunctory décor and out-of-the-way address, Santarpio's pies are the zenith of 'za, delivered dangerously hot from the depths of a loud and steamy backroom. Some say the secret is the sauce. Others swear by the cheese. Whatever the magic ingredient, one thing is obvious: This is soul pizza. The doughy, oven-charred crust blisters with bubbles and is smothered beneath a voluptuous helping of cheese. Santarpio's is so addictive, it's got devotees cheerfully volunteering to make pickups at nearby Logan so they can stop on the way for a slice. Or three. 113 Chelsea St., East Boston, MA santarpiospizza.com/.
The years-long influx of challengers has ebbed, the smoke has cleared, and the winner and still champion is...Redbones. This is barbecue the way it's meant to be: noisy, messy, and crowded, with a selection of thick, meaty ribs that reads like a geography lesson—Texas, Memphis, Arkansas, St. Louis. Not in the mood? Try the fried Louisiana catfish or grilled sausage sandwich, or skip straight to the pecan pie. And don't forget to wash it all down with one of the 24 beers on tap. It's enough to make even a southerner all weepy. 55 Chester St., Somerville, MA redbones.com/.
It's fascinating to watch owner/ chef Paul Booras slave over the stove in the small kitchen here. It's even more rewarding to taste what he does with wood grilled salmon and monkfish, hanger steak, and thick racks of pork. Located next to the Needham Center MBTA station, the stone-walled hideaway is not easy to find but definitely worth the effort. Booras— a veteran of Pomodoro and Olives— also opened the new Mediterranean spot Sweet Basil down the street. How lucky can one town be? 1027 Great Plains Ave., Needham, MA .