Some say you should never trust a bald barber, but there's an exception to every rule. Poirier, the tonsured and tattooed owner of this year-old salon in South Boston, is ours. He uses a straight razor and skills acquired during a two-decade tour on Newbury Street to create the kind of just-got-outta-bed looks that hipsters know can only be crafted by expert hands. 840 Summer St., South Boston, MA shagboston.com/.
The renowned proprietor of E. Shan Tang apothecary, Wang stocks an exotic A-Z of medicinal herbs. But his clinical expertise is what sends Bostonians flocking to him for treatment: He teaches at the Boston Shiatsu School, lectures at Harvard Medical School, and is widely acclaimed as a leading practitioner of toyo hari , or traditional Chinese pulse diagnosis. He's also a trained chef—ask about his herbal recipes for soups and main dishes, a clever way of masking his prescriptions' pungent flavors. E. Shan Tang, 157 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA .
Boston doesn't have many patisseries, and our bakeries feel like coffee spots that just happen to have cinnamon buns and cupcakes. Café Vanille, however, seems like a French pastry shop that just happens to serve espresso and tea. One look at the lineup of flaky napoleons, ganache-glazed éclairs, colorful petits fours and fruit tarts, and buttery brioche makes the cookie-and-donut offerings everywhere else seem downright dull. 70 Charles St., Boston, MA 2108, frenchmemories.com.
Boston is often called the most British of American cities, so it's only natural that it offer plenty of afternoon tea options. Bond's daily Metropolitan Tea takes place under a soaring red ceiling and enormous chandeliers, making it feel like a swanky retreat. But the unusual teas, exquisite sandwiches, homemade scones, and attentive servers are what make this tea service tops. If you linger, you'll see the transformation from posh lounge to upscale watering hole. 250 Franlin St., Boston, MA 2110, bondboston.com.
Not only is the airy, spacious feel of this Alsatian bistro a great atmosphere in which to conduct business, but the lunch menu is a treat. Any appetite can be satisfied: There are fresh omelets, spunky sandwiches (roasted chicken and brie on a baguette), plentiful salads (a traditional frisee et lardon avec ouef), and the best fries in town. We should know: Noontime here is the best place to spot a Boston Magazine employee. Note: For those who don't practice midday prohibition, the martinis are classic. The Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA brasseriejoboston.com.
So many sports bars in Boston these days feel like impersonal warehouses, strewn, as they are, with a bajillion giant TVs over a zillion square feet. Parlor is the rare gathering place that feels cozy and intimate. Crucially, the bartenders are adept at knowing when to turn up the volume on the commentators and when to flip it to music (a major problem at bigger sports bars). And while the place is known as a haven for basketball geeks, it's really worth checking out on any game night. 3 Beacon St., Somerville, MA parlorsportsbar.com.
Biddy Early's is the city's best dive every day of the year, a fact that was proven on Friday, April 19. That day, while police hunted the remaining marathon bomber, all of Boston shut down. Not this spot. The old Financial District landmark—with its dim lighting, dusty wood floor, and jukebox—remained open. So even when there was no other place to go and everything seemed beyond reason, people could still haul themselves here for a much-needed, no-frills drink. And that, friends, is everything a dive bar should be. 141 Pearl St., Boston, MA .
Does Boston need another Italian restaurant? If it's Umbria, the answer is a resounding yes. Chef Marisa Iocco is turning out flavorful cuisine from Italy's bucolic central region, which means straightforward grilled, slow-braised, or brick oven-roasted food. It also means melt-in-your-mouth buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, and moist, pan-seared cod loin with creamy celery root purée. And unlike its North End brethren, Umbria offers desserts—amazing ones, at that. 295 Franklin St., Boston, MA umbriaprime.com/.
There are plenty of Boston ice cream shops worthy of caloric indulgence, but none as enticing as this one. The selection may not be the biggest in town, but it's varied enough for even the pickiest of palates, with about a dozen incredibly smooth and rich flavors including Hydrox cookie, Vienna Finger, burnt caramel, and ginger-snap molasses. The real draw, though, is the super-light texture, which especially comes through in the richly flavored nocciola (hazelnut) and Belgian chocolate varieties. 899 Main St., Cambridge, MA tosci.com/.
At this clean, bright restaurant across from Boston College they've spent six years perfecting roll-up combinations with ingredients such as their own homemade roasted red-and-green-tomato-cilantro salsas, Haas avocados, premium breast-meat chicken salad. Specials include Asian, Mexican, deli, barbecue, and even seafood roll-up combos. And the frequent-eater program gets you one free wrap for every 10 you buy. 11 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, MA .
Sure, Lobel can come across as obnoxious at times, courting controversy for its own sake. But he and the rest of the Channel 4 sports crew aren't afraid to ask tough questions of players and management alike. And his late-night Sunday show Sports Final is a must-see, even if you don't suffer from insomnia. His resident legal expert, Boston lawyer Harry Manion III, provided the smartest play-by-play analysis of the Reggie Lewis medical-malpractice trial in town.
It's three hours from Boston, but it also has the lasagna this side of Naples. Sal, formerly of Sal & Ciro's in Provincetown, uses homemade noodles, sausage, and hard-boiled eggs in his recipe; since he serves lasagna on Sunday nights only, until he closes for the winter at the end of September, you'll have plenty of time to budget calories in advance. 99 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA .
There's no shortage of great bars in Boston: Green Street, Eastern Standard, and Deep Ellum are on par with the very best in this cocktail-revived country. But Drink is the thinking tippler's bar. Under the leadership of manager/cocktail wonk John Gertsen, it demonstrates a commitment to excellence at every level, from the cocktail-specific ice cubes to the historical authenticity of the flips, punches, and fizzes served at the bar. 348 Congress St., Boston, MA 2210, drinkfortpoint.com.
As far as pedigrees go, Williamson has no worries. she's handled her fledgling gigs gracefully and will give her diploma recital at the New England Conservatory this fall. She can scat her way skillfully through a standard and charm the audience with ease. Expect to see her back at the R-bar and breaking out of Boston in the coming year.
Master puppeteer Basil Twist's adaptation of Stravinsky's ballet about a tragic love triangle among a clown, a ballerina, and a Moor managed to convey humanity and grace in the movement of Japanese-style marionettes. One compact hour long, it begged for repeat viewings from both kids and adults. Unique productions like this during ArtsEmerson's inaugural season have proven that this organization should be central to Boston arts for years to come. 559 Washington St., Boston, MA 2139, artsemerson.org.