With its shabby-chic dining room (mismatched old chairs, vintage ephemera), the Biltmore makes weekend mornings feel like brunch at Grandma's. An indulgent grandma, that is. Yours probably didn't serve Cap'n Crunch-coated French toast drizzled with warm vanilla icing, or whole-wheat flatbread topped with fresh mozzarella, local tomatoes, basil, pancetta, and sunny-side-up eggs. The sausage-infused biscuit "fritters" with house-made apple-butter dipping sauce, meanwhile, are hearty enough to inspire a post-meal nap. 1205 Chestnut St., Newton, MA 2464, thebiltmoregrill.com.
If the array of refined Asian-inspired nibbles doesn't clue you in, the owners of this four-year-old restaurant will take pains to make clear that Cha Fahn is about much more than tea. But set aside the premium sake and the inventive entrees, and what's left is simply the best-chosen tea selection in the city, in a perfect setting for enjoying it: a peaceful yet romantically charged room, ideal for lingering over pots of aromatic darjeeling, oolong, assam, lapsang souchong, and so on. It's the kind of spot that feeds the soul. The fact you can also feed your appetite is a lovely bonus. 763 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA chafahn.com.
Omakase translates—very roughly—to “entrusting the chef to create a special meal of sequential bites from a perch mere inches from your face,” and Uni was always one of our favorite spots to partake. In the meantime, whatever Akira Sugimoto’s super-luxe 8-, 12-, and 16-piece nigiri boxes to go lack in off-the-cuff serendipity, they more than make up for in jewel-like exquisiteness. 370A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, uni-boston.com.
Time and time again, we reach for the pieces in our jewelry box linked to this darling South End boutique. The sisters Flynn—Moria and Megan—have impeccable taste, amassing chunky woven bracelets from Maine's the Ropes; delicate handpainted enamel necklaces from Les Nereides; and knockout earrings from Erickson Beamon and Alexis Bittar. The pair also stocks their own in-house label, and if you have a piece of heirloom jewelry you'd like to recast, they'll help you design a custom keeper. 40 Waltham St., Boston, MA mflynnjewelry.com.
After suffering through trainers who merely barked advice (our ears are still ringing), we were overjoyed to discover owner Vera Wilkinson's quiet expertise. Certified both as a dog-behavior consultant and professional dog trainer—and armed with more than a decade of experienc—Wilkinson begins by watching you interact with Fido at home. Only then does she offer suggestions. She takes her time, and you and your dog will end up the better for it. 1786 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 2445, cooperativedog.com.
Pouring hot wax onto skin sounds strange at best. Ripping it off seems worse. Yet women everywhere repeatedly submit themselves to this hair-removal process. Our hirsute pursuit takes us to Bella Santé, where we have actually dozed off during a thorough thigh-to-toe wax. That's how gentle was the aesthetician, whose careful attention to detail left us beach ready and bruise free. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA bellasante.com/.
A visit to any of our local high-end jewelers will render you an expert on the four Cs in no time. But on selection and service, Long's takes top honors, offering more than 500 styles in-store (from vintage-inspired numbers by Ritani to modern beauties by Furrer-Jacot) and guaranteeing that if a stone shakes loose long after you walk out the door, they'll fix it, gratis. 100 Summer St., Boston, MA 2110, longsjewelers.com.
This Kenmore Square taproom raises the, ahem, bar on pub food. Try the build-your-own Fenway Franks, one of the crispy tater tot varieties (like 'poutine tots' or 'tots mexicana'), or the tasty nachos. The 7-ounce burger, meanwhile, comes piled high with whatever unconventional toppings we crave, from chili to chipotle aioli. Apologies to Burger King, but when we want it our way, we come here. 476 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2115, thelowerdepths.com.
And we don't mean the star of "Hogan's Heroes." The local Crane show is just as long-running but our Bobby has had better luck getting out of tight spots. As state treasurer, Crane has survived thirteen years under four governors, emerged unscathed from a lengthy Justice Department probe of his financial affairs, and now, with re-election time at hand, he has managed to make his opponent's magical name—Kennedy—a political liability. Now that's wizardry.
Because we eat with our eyes first, the food at this charming, Italian-inspired spot is as visually arresting as it is delicious: house-made ricotta tortelloni di maggio accented by fava beans, green garlic, asparagus, wild chanterelles, and a kiss of purple chive flowers; pillowy honey mousse with walnut dacquoise crumble and roasted-blood-orange granita. Complementing all that artistry are congenial, knowledgeable servers and an intriguing, mostly Italian wine list. 21 Federal St., Nantucket, MA 2554, ventunorestaurant.com.
If you wear makeup, there will come a time when you raise the goopy mascara wand to your eyes and think, What the heck is in this stuff? Shop at Credo, and you’ll have the answer. The San Francisco–based store, which landed on our shores last year, carries only cosmetics made with clean ingredients. From Kjaer Weis’s certified-organic cream foundation to Ilia’s avocado-oil-enriched mascara, you can feel good about the products that make you look good. 177 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, credobeauty.com.
We approached the crew at Newbury Tailoring Company with a horizontal-striped dress and an innocent question: "Will hemming it mess up the pattern?" Turns out, we had no need to worry. Flavio Rivas and his team have tackled far greater challenges, inspiring customers to follow first as they moved down Newbury Street in 2009, then over to Boylston four years ago. We can see why: Exactly a week after dropping it off, we were reunited with our beloved frock—every last stripe intact. 376 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, .
Handsome, flirty, and extremely supportive: No, we’re not talking about our latest flame, we’re talking about the underpinnings from this one-stop Cambridge shop. Situated outside the store, Forty Winks’ new walk-up bra bar is an easy, safe way to upgrade your lingerie drawer—or opt for a gratis 30-minute virtual fitting and browsing session with a sales associate and pick up curbside. 56 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, MA 02138, shopfortywinks.com.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's our mantra when it comes to the rug selection (pictured) at Landry & Arcari, where you'll find everything from antique Oriental numbers to long-piled Persians to hand-knotted classics. With an unparalleled collection sourced from rug makers all over the world, this mainstay has all you'll ever need to turn your floors into functional works of art. 333 Stuart St., Boston, MA 02116, landryandarcari.com.
This shop's limited-edition, retro-funky frames—in specs and sunnies—will give you 20/20 vision, and the service is a perfect 10, too. High-quality craftsmanship seals the deal: We've had our sturdy See frames for four years, and they've fallen on the floor, been crushed by a toddler, and gone through the dryer—and never snapped under pressure. (Multiple locations.) 115 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, seeeyewear.com.