The ok dol bibimbop still has our mouths watering: a bed of rice, crispy at the bottom where it meets the hot stone serving pot; heaps of beef and vegetables; a golden egg yolk that works its way onto everything our chopsticks touch. Nothing could be better—except perhaps the seafood udon, which tastes like that morning's catch. The modest storefront may not boast of the riches inside, but there's no better Korean around. 2 Tyler St., Boston, MA 2111, .
In 2011, Bryan Greenhagen founded Mystic on saisons, gruits, and other Old World styles. So when trendy, hop-forward beers such as Voltage IPA first hit shelves last year, he certainly had our attention. The brewmaster’s fruity, dry, farmhouse-style Table Beer is still our favorite, but even with a generous dose of hops, his suds are balanced, aromatic, and lush like no others. 174 Williams St., Chelsea, MA 02150, mystic-brewery.com.
There's a reason the crowd at this izakaya always spills onto the street. The sashimi's so fresh it tastes like it swam onto your plate, the beef yakitori crackles with charred flavor, and the ramen portions are more than generous. 1414 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02134, .
Need a one-of-a-kind present for a house-warming or dinner party? Step into designers Don Carney and John Ross’s funky shop for vibrant throw pillows, fragrant soaps, and more. 46 Waltham St., Boston, MA patchnyc.com.
Whether you're lacing up for work or a workout, the Tannery has your soles covered. The vast selection of footwear encompasses most makes—Clarks, Sperry, Converse—and models—wingtips, boat shoes, boots, sneakers, sandals. 711 Boylston St., Boston, MA thetannery.com.
Okay, so they don't have the largest selection in town, but they do have beautiful fresh flowers at half price on Saturdays, making it affordable to always have lots around the house. 280 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA .
What better way to cure a case of the drabs than to change your hair color? Whether you want a few streaks or a drastic color change, Geneses colorist Lisa can be trusted to get it right. 170 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
For a 50¢ fee and the cost of materials, Karen Swain's staff will help you select your frame, cut the materials for you, and instruct you step by step thereafter. It's as close as some of us will ever get to the creative process. 7 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA .
If it's green and grows, you'll probably find it here: an Eden of house plants and cut flowers. If they don't have what a customer is looking for, the owners are happy to special order it. 23 Charles St., Boston, MA .
This half-pound-plus burger is big, fat, and perfectly spiced. Toppings of cheddar, griddled onions, pickles, and house Russian dressing—which meld together without causing a mess—only make it better. 21 Temple Place, Boston, MA jmcurleyboston.com.
When Eckstein's two Maltese dogs play with your kids and sit on their lap while they're in the chair, they'll forget they're at the d-e-n-t-i-s-t. Concord and Malborough, MA
Unless you're up for ironing your own shirts and tablecloths, you won't get a better job anywhere in the area. And you pay for what you get: plenty. 11 Humphrey St., Dorchester, MA .
The theatrics alone make this starter ($9), accented with peaches and sweet peppers, a winner: A waiter pours the anise-flavored liquor over the salty cheese, then lights the dish on fire. The light show is impressive; the taste, even better. 134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 2139, oleanarestaurant.com.
"No brag, just fact," is the slogan of this 1993 Massachusetts Grande Barbecue Champion which takes the business of serving succulent ribs quite seriously. The only place these ribs will stick is in your memory. 47 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA .
Best last year and still the one to watch. Sorely missed when the Boss opened his national tour in Worcester while she was out sick. Nice to have you back, Joyce.