Having your body hair pulled out by its roots is never pleasant, but this elegant spa's careful, considerate treatment makes the glamour of perfectly smooth legs worth the pain. A big plus here is the luxurious changing room, complete with a steam room, showers, and lots of lovely amenities like thick terry robes and hot or iced herbal tea. 38 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
From Gisele's bangs to gravity-defying J.Lo locks, nothing is too weighty a request for Brazilian-born Claudete Rizzotto. Her exacting cuts can run from high volume to low maintenance, all according to a client's whim. Rizzotto takes her time, meticulously training and taming your tresses into hairstyles you never knew you could pull off. 71 Newbury St., Boston, MA beaucage.com/.
When you buy a suit in Filene's Basement and ask the salesman whom he recommends for alterations, John Tzalemas's shop is often the response. Around the corner (5 Bromfield St.) from the department store, John the Custom Tailor will do a good job quickly and will make a suit to your specifications. "I've been a tailor since 1952," Tzalemas says, "and have developed an excellent skill. We offer good service and good quality." John the Custom Tailor, 5 Bromfield St., Boston, MA .
There have been three generations of Mantoses at Boston Bootmakers, 115 Summer St., a firm that itself is fifty years old—suggesting that they must be doing something right. For repairs or actual design and construction, Mantos and his ten-man crew are at your service. "We charge the best," Mantos says, "we give the best, and we do the best. In other words, we're very fair. We give quality." Boston Bootmakers, 115 Summer St., Boston, MA .
The whole point of brunch is that it's an excuse for indulgence. So why not inject a dash of naughtiness and have it on a weekday? We're talking about industry brunch on Mondays at Starlite, where calling in sick is rewarded with a pile of biscuits and gravy, or the brunch burger (crowned with a fried egg). The crowd, mostly restaurant types shaking off the prior night's last call, won't bat an eye at your request for a second butter-maple bourbon with a chocolate-covered bacon slice. 3 Beacon St., Somerville, MA 2143, trinastarlitelounge.com.
No child's play, this. Christina's ice cream is an acquired and—unless your offspring have preternatural palates—grownup taste. By that we mean green tea. Adzuki bean. Carrot cake. Fresh rose. Herbal chai. Even the standbys generally get an epicurean twist: The vanilla is malted, and the coffee is cappuccino. All of it is homemade, and flavors change with the seasons and the whims of its creators. When's the last time you saw something sweet taken so seriously? 1225 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 2139, christinasicecream.com.
Choosing just one of Hi-Rise's cookies is a little like being forced to choose between your children. The almond macaroons taste like an intense nutty cloud. The oatmeal coconut, studded with whole pecans, are as chewy as can be. But it's the deep, dark chocolate sandwich cookies—more brownielike than crunchy and double-stuffed with an extra scoop of vanilla cream—that truly take the, er, cake. 208 Concord Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, hi-risebread.com.
If God is indeed in the details, Au Soleil must be nigh holy. The operation gets every last request right, and often adds a few flourishes of its own. That might mean having bartenders shake up pitch-perfect cocktails to order. Or creating entrées that play up your favorite ingredients, or that reflect the seasonal bounty at chef-owner Frank McClelland's Apple Street Farm. Whatever occasion you're having catered, you can count on the eats being divine. 148 Hampden St., Boston, MA 2119, ausoleilcatering.com.
Talk about microbrewing: This Somerville-based enterprise was founded by husband-and-wife team Dann and Martha Paquette, and now employs all of four people to meet an ever-growing demand. Pretty Things' masterful ales are made in tiny batches, with each bottle and keg numbered (and slightly different from the next); the Paquettes even design their own labels. Restaurants and shops can't get enough of Jack D'Or, a dry saison with a touch of hops; or Baby Tree, a quad made with plums. MA
Chef Jeremy Sewall has a family connection to the best crustaceans around: His cousin Mark is a Maine lobsterman. And the best vehicle for his wares just may be Island Creek's lobster roll. Mixed with créme fraîche, dill pickles, and celery salt, the succulent meat is stuffed into a house-made rosemary-flecked roll and sent out to the table bursting at the seams. Take a moment to savor the stunning visual, because it'll be gone before you can say, "Pass the napkins, please." 500 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2115, islandcreekoysterbar.com.
One bite of this Allston beauty's crisp, pillowy scallion-and-roast-beef pancakes, and you'll never order those sad, green-flecked cardboard slabs from your local Chinese takeout joint again. Here, it's all authentic Taiwanese dishes—like three-cup cuttlefish, spicy beef-noodle soup, and dry-cooked chicken with three peppers—and none of that greasy cream cheese-stuffed crab rangoon or gloppy General Gao's chicken you get elsewhere. 103 Brighton Ave., Allston, MA 2134, jojotaipei.com.
In a mere four years this precocious trattoria has grown up into an authentic Old World beauty, its cloistered brick courtyard now mature with ornamental trees and grasses and a massive climbing hydrangea. Prices, though, have barely changed at all, with big bowls of pastas and other Italian standbys averaging about $15. With the patio's bee lights twinkling overhead and a glass of sweetly chilled Grechetto in hand, you'll find Roman holidays don't come any cheaper than this. 22 Birch St., Roslindale, MA 2131, sophiasgrotto.com.
Notwithstanding the beef tendon fire pot at Montien (still the hottest soup around, in both senses of the word), this unassuming Allston 12-seater is your first-class ticket to Bangkok. The Thai-language menu is filled with enough mild-mannered fare to sate even the most uninitiated of palates, while devotees can delight in rare finds like crispy double-fried catfish laced with whole sprigs of fresh peppercorns and volcanic som tums flavored with raw salted crab. 168a Brighton Ave., Allston, MA 2134, .
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.
When 9 to 5 becomes 9 to 9, takeout joints become a blessing. But how much hot-and-sour soup can one person eat? South End hot spot Flour now serves a handful of fresh meals to go, three nights a week, including roast pulled chicken with orange slices and green beans, and spicy stir-fried sesame-ginger noodles with tofu. Working late has never tasted so good. 1595 Washington St., Boston, MA flourbakery.com/.