Homemade buckwheat blini and every fixin' you could hope for accompany the osetra caviar ($60/ounce). Yellow roses decorate the block of ice that chills a bottle of Stolichnaya (it comes with each order). All ceremoniously rolled out on a trolley. Does it get any better than this? Le Meridien Boston, 250 Franklin St., Boston, MA .
"Bibimbop" yourself to where every stone pot runneth over with savory dishes starring rice, fish, the freshest veggies, or practically the whole darn cow (from tongue to blood to feet). Novices can find Korean food inedibly strange, but Koreana's savory dishes make it easy to learn to like the cuisine. 154 Prospect St., Cambridge, MA .
Not too sweet, not too sticky, these addictive, oven-warm, golden, glazed concoctions, known as Morning Buns, are required a.m. accompaniments to coffee and the newspaper. That's assuming they last until you get back home. Available with or without walnuts. 178 Thorndike St., Brookline, MA .
If you can beat two eggs, your choice of breakfast meat, hot bread, grits or home fries, juice, and coffee for five bucks, let us know. Don't miss what may be the best sweet-potato pie in the city. 604 Columbia Ave., Boston, MA .
"It's okay to hold the mayonnaise or mustard but not the meals tax," warned the DOR when temporarily closing down that Boston landmark and gastronomic nightmare, Buzzy's Fabulous Roast Beef. Who said bureaucrats don't have a sense of humor?
On the quieter (i.e., not downtown Gloucester) side of Cape Ann, this erstwhile grange building is home to gourmet sandwiches, salads, a tiny seating area (great for local gossip) and a miniscule garden that will make you forget about the beach entirely. 457 Washington St., Gloucester, MA .
Singer/songwriter Kevin Connolly's soulful voice (reminiscent of that of Van Morrison) has taken us to Italy and other faraway places via his "musical postcards." His next record—inspired by his childhood in Marshfield—will keep us closer to home.
Lasers have—figuratively, of course—exploded onto the beauty scene in the last few years. That's especially true in the realm of hair removal. Alas, in the hands of neophytes, such powerful new weapons can leave clients with red marks, patches of untouched hair, and unjustifiably high bills. You'll find none of these at Beauty Therapies, where R.N. Claire McArdle relies not on big-talking promises, but on cutting-edge technologies, diligence, and skin-care expertise. One of Boston's first laser practitioners, she permanently removes hair from anywhere on the body—eyebrows to bikini lines—with a steady hand that zaps clients smooth faster than light speed. One Brookline Place, Suite 302, Brookline, MA .
Last year Food and Wine magazine named Formaggio one of the five cheese shops in the nation, and Cambridge Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck wrote an ode to the shop, included in her latest book and printed in the New Yorker. Overkill? Au contrarire. Formaggio's selection is amazing: from Pecorino di Pienza and Fontina Valle d'Aosta from Italy to Castellano and Manchego from Spain. The shop even has a ripening cellar where more than 100 cheeses—including English cheddars and Italian pecorinos—age in perfect humidity. Don't get us started on Formaggio's noncheese delectables... 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA .
Held only once a week (every Thursday afternoon), this farmstand is worth the wait. Some of the South Shore's freshest produce is found here from early June through mid-October. Local growers trot out terrific stuff, from vine-ripened tomatoes and hefty cucumbers, to more greens than you'll find in all the big chain superstores combined. In addition to local growers (who, as one farmer put it, strive to "shorten the distance from land to mouth"), there are potters, bakers, and craftspeople selling quilts, stools, soaps, and such. Cohasset Common, Cohasset, MA .
Its serendipitous location—just a bulkie roll's throw from where drunk-grub mecca Buzzy's Roast Beef once stood—is one reason why Scampo gets our late-night bucks. More important, it's also steps from fellow Liberty Hotel denizens Clink and Alibi, whose hormone-charged bar scenes can overwhelm even the most dedicated carouser. When it's time to retreat, follow the scent of garlic down to Lydia Shire's Italian-inspired eatery for crusty pizzas, fresh-baked flatbreads, burrata BLTs, and other starchy, cheese-laden hangover preventives, all served till 11 (and pizzas till midnight). And for those not ready to cash it in yet, Scampo's potent cocktails will keep that buzz going. 215 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, scampoboston.com.
As sushi has gone mainstream, it's become increasingly run-of-the-mill: rolls, rolls, and more rolls, with too much rice and tasteless (and, frequently, cooked) fish. O Ya doesn't even offer rolls, just sparklingly fresh sashimi and nigiri—including heretofore unseen specialties like big-eye red snapper, conch, and Santa Barbara spot prawn. With a surgeon's precision, chef-owner Tim Cushman and his line of sushi sous pair each fish with thoughtfully chosen exotic adornments like Thai basil and torched banana pepper mousse, and one of dozens of house-made sauces. The results—like the bluefin tataki with smoky pickled onions and truffle oil—are transporting. 9 East St., Boston, MA .
When the avant-garde salons of Newbury Street mistake overzealousness for creativity, only one man can come to the rescue: Antonio Vitale. You won't find posh ambiance here; Vitale revels in his tiny Kenmore Square studio's perfunctory décor and pretense-free atmosphere. Instead, come for careful, thoughtfully rendered hair coloring. The 29-year-old sixth-generation stylist started working with hair at 11 in his father's studio and came back to it after years of toiling as an artist. That's exactly what he still is—an artist layering subtle shades of color to tone down or brighten in all the right spots, fixing what has been put asunder and putting his clients at ease through every step of the process. 464 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA studioforhairboston.com/.
It may feel safe to visit a salon now, but that doesn’t mean it’s always convenient. That’s why we’re grateful to have Glamsquad in our backyard: Serving busy beauty buffs throughout Boston since setting up shop here in 2018, the New York–based company’s services include top-notch blowouts, makeup application, and — as of summer 2020 — haircuts, all executed from the comfort of home. Book an appointment through the website or app for your next pampering sesh, and watch as a seasoned stylist deftly transforms your look in any indoor or outdoor location you choose. glamsquad.com.
Even the most reluctant shopper will enjoy Cuffs & Collars, which offers ample options for designing the perfect wedding-day getup. Host a private event in the store, where you and your crew can choose from thousands of fabrics with a cocktail in hand, or book the company’s “We Come to You” service, during which a tailor will take your measurements at your home or office and then send the finished product, made to order in Italy, to your door in just four to six weeks. One Federal St., Boston, MA 02110, cuffsandcollars.com.