A huge industrial loft in Woburn, the Boston Rock Gym is carpeted with 20 tons of chopped-up car tires, the walls are studded with tiny gargoyles, dinosaurs, and rocklike footholds, and the place looks like a preppy torture chamber. One of the best-equipped climbing gyms in all of New England, the rock gym has 30 different climbing routes of varying complexity, ranging from beginner to impossible. Check out Hades—a bouldering cave in which climbers hang upside down, suspended by their fingers and toes—as well as the Treadwall (imagine a treadmill that's a vertical wall). Patient instructors keep an eye out for your safety and offer group classes and individual instruction. 78G Olympia Ave., Woburn, MA .
For years, Grill 23 has served Boston’s ultimate power-crowd fare. Sure, you have your waiters in white jackets, towers of fresh seafood, and a top-notch wine list, but the reason we keep coming back to this local institution is because no one in town cooks a better steak. It’s salty, crusty, buttery—an unmistakable carnivore’s delight. And remember, if the 10-ounce American Kobe cap seems a bit too small, the 18-ounce 100-day-aged prime rib-eye will be more than happy to oblige. 161 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116, grill23.com.
Carri Wroblewski and Klaudia Mally founded Brix in 2003 on a radical idea: that inventory should be determined not by household-name popularity or distributor pricing windfalls but the owners' discerning tastes. Apparently, believing in every last bottle on your shelves wasn't a bad business model, as evidenced by their expansion to two additional locations, and by the city's patiently groomed taste for high-toned Burgundies, off-the-oaken-path Italians, and deep-track rosթs. Multiple locations. Correction, June 26, 12 p.m.: In the July issue of Boston, Carri's name was misspelled. We regret the error. 1284 Washington St., Boston, MA 02218, brixwineshop.com.
Want a side of local color with your Devil's Purse pint? Pay a visit to this neighborhood hang, where Cape Cod memorabilia—from family crests to vanity plates—fills every inch of wall and ceiling space. It's not all about the kitsch, though: Bartenders behind the lacquered wooden bar aim to please, and the late-night menu satisfies with grub for both landlubbers (burgers) and seafarers (fish and chips). 38 Main St., Orleans, 508-255-5165; 429 Main St., Harwich Port, 508-430-0404; land-ho.com. 38 Main St., Orleans, MA 2653, land-ho.com.
Yes, lingerie is sexy. But it can also be cool. And thanks to Forty Winks, there's no need to eschew your fashion-forward sensibilities, or comfort, for the typical underwire and lace. In an elegant boutique with plush armchairs and chandeliers, owners Rachel Wentworth and Meredith Donaldson have assembled a collection of intimate apparel that fits a variety of body types and styles, from Marlies Dekkers's trendy line of bras to Eberjey's delicate chemises and Stella McCartney's designer body suits. In other words, underthings so beautiful you'll wish you didn't have to wear anything over them. 56 JFK St., Cambridge, MA 02138, shopfortywinks.com.
With a degree from Johnson & Wales and training under Todd English, Manita Bunnagitkarn could very well have gravitated toward fine dining. Lucky for us, the skilled chef set up shop in a former Watertown wing spot to concentrate on MSG-free, made-to-order Thai food. Start with an order of coconut-marinated satay and tom kha gai, move on to the pleasantly peppery panang duck curry, and leave room for dense house-made ice creams in unique flavors like spicy chocolate and Thai iced tea. 613 Mount Auburn St., Watertown, MA 02472, chayenthaicookery.com.
Great salads, delicious entrees, and terrific desserts make this our favorite stop on the way home from work when the day's been a dud and only a Chinese chicken salad and a Tarte Tatin will make it better. 190 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
When a chocolate craving hits, there are few things in life more satisfying than one of Rosie's cookies. Sophisticated enough to feel adult; fudgy enough to make our inner child stop whining. 243 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA .
Our food critic, Steven Raichlen, found the best stir-fried clams here a year ago. Now he swears by the little dumplings. We have to agree. 14 Hudson St., Boston, MA .
There's a tendency toward New Wave here, but owner Mark Ostrovsky still managed to outfit several of our editors with dinner jackets for an evening. 273 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Several shops rejected our ripped Ferragamo pump as unsalvageable, but the guys at Rinaldi's said, "We'll do a good job." And they did. 384 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
The garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil is our favorite, but we hear that cracked-black pepper and possibly mustard-seed oils are due in the fall. All locations, MA .
The people of Randolph probably deserve a great restaurant, but we would rather have Caffe Bella next door to our offices at Horticultural Hall. 19 Warren Street, Randolph, MA .
All we can say is that we wish Boca Grande were next door to our offices. The chicken burrito can't be beat. 149 First St., Cambridge, MA .
Yes, he's also our political columnist. But he wins because he has the sources and asks the toughest questions.