In the words of one $350-a-cut stylist (who thought the handiwork was his own), our Albor-made chestnut brown "has never been better." 207 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, theloftsalonanddayspa.com.
Our most powerful Catholic politician issued a statement condemning predatory priests but stopped short of urging Cardinal Bernard Law to step down.
Turns out, dan dan noodles and Latin libations are a cross-cultural match made in heaven. After putting Woburn on the map as a cocktail destination with his nationally lauded Baldwin bars, Ran Duan recently opened his third concept, in Brookline. And just as expected, the minimalist bar he installed in his parents’ Sichuan restaurant offers drinks that are as adventurous as they are thirst-quenching: Tropical flavors, unexpected textures, and sugar-cane-based spirits drive the menu, with mascarpone cheese adding weight to the Bocadillo Sour, the anise-y Colombian spirit aguardiente mingling with papaya in the Angie Valencia, and a grasshopper rim imparting an element of surprise to the avocado-tequila libation Broken Spanish. 295 Washington St., Brookline, MA 02445, blossombarbrookline.com.
This Fort Point spot from the Island Creek Oyster Bar team is as much a serious beer bar as it is a seafood mecca. Maybe that’s why cult-followed breweries seem to celebrate special occasions here—think only-at-Row drafts from Bissell Brothers, Dieu du Ciel, and Upland Brewing. Beer director Suzanne Hays has saved deep cuts, such as cellared bottles from the dearly departed Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, for past Sunday specials, but any day, it’s the best place for a rotating selection of fresh hops and food-friendly sours. 383 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, row34.com.
Let the tourists stand in line for fried clams across the way while you claim a seat at Patrick Shea’s riverside Essex spot and let the clams come to you. The scene here is pretty darn scenic, with boaters and paddleboarders drifting by as live music plays in the background. Yet you may have a hard time pulling yourself away from what’s on the table: Shea’s brunch favorites include house-made smoked salmon, a wicked good lobster Benedict, and a bloody mary to make you forget all others. 112 Main St., Essex, MA 01929, ckpearl.com.
Stroll into Vivant Vintage, and you’ll immediately understand why this Allston shop gets its name from the French word for living: Each and every one of the old-school-cool finds here has a story just waiting to be told. Slip into psychedelic platform sandals and a tie-dyed Grateful Dead tee, and you can almost hear the music playing at Woodstock. Try on a pair of perfectly broken-in Levi’s and a hand-dyed flannel, and be transported to the Friends set with Rachel and the gang. Then step out of the store and make these vintage treasures your very own. 318 Lincoln St., Allston, MA vivantvintage.com.
Powder House Square’s traditional Mexican kitchen is well known for its regally stuffed and sauced chile relleno en nogada and, yes, crispy grasshopper tacos. But what you absolutely can’t miss here are the produce-forward dishes: nopales (cactus) that tastes like tangy green beans; dense, tender chunks of chayote (Mexican squash) smothered in verdant pumpkin-seed mole; and slate-gray blooms of cuitlacoche (corn smut, an edible fungus), which cook into soot-colored mush but charm with an earthy, mushroomy depth of flavor. 858 Broadway, Somerville, MA tuyyorestaurant.com.
Meghan Thompson’s seasonal desserts aren’t merely a source of Instagram envy—there’s nostalgia and accessibility beneath the aesthetic. Take her frozen yuzu soufflé with poached quince, wild-bay-leaf ice cream, and toasted meringue shards, scattered like a broken robin’s egg. It looks like a late-era Metzinger, but swipe your fork through each element and take a bite. Yep, tastes like lemon meringue pie. This avant-garde ingenuity is everywhere on her menu, from the jerk-spiced bagels at brunch to the complimentary brown bread augmented by Korean doenjang. 120 Kingston St., Boston, MA 02111, townsmanboston.com.
Despite stints under legends Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse and three tours of duty on Top Chef, it feels like Tiffani Faison is just getting started. A culinary chameleon who’s excelled at sushi (O Ya), Italian (Rocca Kitchen & Bar), and even Texas-style barbecue, Faison recently unveiled her most electrifying venture to date: Tiger Mama, a verdant wellspring of Southeast Asian cuisine. And that’s not all for 2016, as come fall, the chef will introduce her latest Fenway project—a luxe cocktail bar modeled after Ernest Hemingway’s old hangout, Minetta Tavern. Sweet Cheeks, 1381 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215, sweetcheeksq.com.
The commonwealth's next great rock ’n’ roll band? That'd be Speedy Ortiz, a quartet secretly amped on pop but swinging its guitars with a raw, righteous roar. The new Speedy album, Foil Deer, gives the same goosebumps you got back in college when you first heard Pavement and Helium. At the front: Sadie Dupuis, a former UMass Amherst poetry MFA who was raised on Top 40 R & B, sang in a children's choir that toured internationally, and has admitted to asking herself, when writing a verse, "What would Fiona Apple do?" The bandwagon is boarding...now.
All of Milton (and a good chunk of Boston) flock to chef Chris Parsons's sprawling fiefdom in a former car showroom and ambulance garage. They come for creative craft cocktails and local beer on draft. They come for the rustic-meets-sophisticated ambiance. Most of all, they come for Parsons's whimsical, honest-to-goodness American fare—spaghetti with green garlic, broccoli rabe, bacon, and a poached egg; grilled smoked-chicken flatbread with homemade ricotta; and a juicy Niman Ranch burger on brioche, presented with a side of house pickles and potato chips in an adorable metal box. 95 Eliot St., Milton, MA 02186, steelandrye.com.
Not feeling up to excessive sartorial risk-taking? That doesn't make it okay to fall back into the Gap (you've come too far!). More moderately priced than Barneys, less alternative than Stel's, Uniform straddles practicality and panache with its tailored casualwear. The well-crafted separates from elusive brands like Original Penguin, Scotch & Soda, and Canterbury—plus work-hard, play-hard shoes from Gola and Tretorn—will outlast any chain-store buy, making the most of your wardrobe budget while averting death by boring button-down. 511 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2116, uniformboston.com.
Founded with help from Curious George coauthor Margret Rey, this Harvard Square mainstay doesn't rest on pedigree. It livens up the calendar with frequent author signings, stays timely with additions like an "environmental awareness" section, and balances its bountiful classics with acclaimed new releases. And since sifting through thousands of titles for all reading levels can be daunting, the seasoned staffers are ready to help you locate, say, the perfect horse-themed series for your equine-obsessed nine-year-old niece. Though here's betting no assistance will be required to spot books and toys featuring a certain mischievous monkey. One JFK St., Cambridge, MA 2138, .
If you didn't even know you needed a baby-care timer, pee-pee teepee, or pacifier pod, make a beeline for local chainlet Magic Beans to get a primer on modern-day parenting supplies before the stork touches down. The married-with-kids owners, Sheri and Eli Gurock, and their gung-ho employees have done all the research for you (exhaustively reported on their blog, at spillingthebeans.net), testing hundreds of products in deciding what to stock. The result: everything your own parents never had when you were little, but wish they did. 200 Linden St., Wellesley, MA 2482, mbeans.com.
There's more to upscale salesmanship than strategically doled-out snootiness. In her 30 years at the ring-for-entry Alan Bilzerian boutique, Bilzerian-Kelly (Alan's sister) has developed a knack for divining what customers want and, better yet, what they need. She'll know, for instance, to break the news gently but firmly that, alas, that fabulous Alexander McQueen corset is not a good look for your untoned upper arms—but that you might give this Rick Owens tunic a try. Her unfailing candor doesn't crowd out her dry sense of humor, though, which can turn a quick shopping stop into a memorable event. 34 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, .