With working displays, experienced showroom consultants, and a selection sourced from the largest plumbing distributor in the Northeast, Frank Webb can be trusted to guide you through everything from going green to finally upgrading your showerhead. 307 Dorchester Ave., Boston, MA 02127, frankwebb.com.
Masters at balancing New England old and new, Carpenter & MacNeille excel at the unexpected: a local wood and stone Ipswich pool house, for example, and the renovation and restoration of a Marblehead Victorian. Essex, MA carpentermacneille.com.
A bustling coffeehouse that doubles as an intimate bistro, this spot can satisfy even the most singular of culinary cravings, morning (egg and cheese on house-made brioche), noon (kimchi grilled cheese), or night (the five-course tasting menu). 3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, brassicakitchen.com.
It's easy to miss this tiny, 13-table restaurant. Don't: It sells gently priced house-made pastas and pizzas that rival any North End locale's. 672 E. Broadway, Boston, MA 02127, cafeportobello.net.
Grand master Jae Hun Kim, whose approach emphasizes form over flash, teaches alongside a cadre of experienced instructors with a knack for keeping kids as young as four focused and engaged. 102 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215, tkd-boston.com.
The square’s best brews, pour-overs, and espresso are served in a café designed for quality R & R: There’s no WiFi, so unplug and unwind with some conversation—or maybe even a good book. 1642 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02445, cafefixe.com.
Feeling tense? Make your way to Urban Axes, where resident “axperts” will lead you in throwing honest-to-God weapons at a wall. Stress relief just got edgier. urbanaxes.com.
Your tootsies will be in tip-top flip-flop shape for weeks after a visit to Pagliarulo, whose secret weapons include a custom-made 'sander' (used once, then tossed) and just the right amount of vigorous buffing. 207 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, .
The best place in town for free advice with your wine, for specials, and case discounts (10 percent). John Gilbert (236 Boylston St.) might have a better selection of reds, however. 170 Cambridge St., Boston, MA .
The clerks there don't work for a specific cosmetics company, so they'll mix and match brands to help you achieve your look—even if it's not what Ultima or Estee Lauder is promoting this season. 5 Copley Place, Boston, MA .
Prices that will make even a bride's parents blush. Slightly used gowns and veils, with new shipments every four to six weeks. Also a small selection of mother-of-the-bride dresses. 188 Central Street, Hudson, MA .
For a simple bouquet of wildflowers or an intricate centerpiece for your wedding, Winston wins. It stocks everything from the freshest cut stems to topiaries and potted plants, and its various locations and delivery services add bonus points for convenience. 131 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
It won't be cheap, but when your favorite sweater has been visited by moths or some other holey disaster, Toni Columbo's magical reweaving process will render the damage virtually invisible. 72 Broad St., Boston, MA invisiblereweaving.com.
In one of the grittiest corners of the Combat Zone, Hand the Hatter still plies the ancient trade of blocking and cleaning hats. Your battered bowler and pathetic panama will be restored to their pristine glory. 20 La Grange St., Boston, MA .
The accompanying paper towel is merely decorative, considering B&G's semolina-dusted Ipswich bellies shed virtually no grease from their crisp nooks and crannies (which justifies double-dunking them in the addictive house tartar sauce). 550 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2116, bandgoysters.com.