This cafe's a bit dark, a bit smokey, a bit of a hole in the wall, and a bit more country/western than Southwestern. But it has the most authentic Mexican food in the city— from old standbys like chiles rellenos and burritos to more imaginative creations such as pescado con mole verde (with pumpkin seeds and peanuts) and enchiladas poblanos (with a chile sauce flavored with bitter chocolate and sweet spices). Who says hot has to mean bothered? 1682 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .
A classic pale ale—vaguely sweet, distinctly hopped, and tinged a deep shade of copper—this is the flagship brew of tiny Atlantic Coast Brewing, more commonly known as Tremont Brewery, in Charlestown. The really cool part? After years as a tap-only product, Tremont is finally, thankfully, in bottles available at finer packies everywhere. For a by-the-pint-only treat, look for Tremont's cask-conditioned best bitter of IPA, stocked in small batches at select bars such as Doyle's in Jamaica Plain.
In his newly renovated restaurant, chef Franck Tessier serves extraordinary French cuisine including goat cheese—and—portobello timbale, scallops with saffron risotto, and chicken fricassée. Guests sit in one of three tasteful dining rooms, and pastry chef (and Tessier's wife) Rachel Portnoy makes a hot chocolate mousse and a banana toffee tart that are sweet bliss. 150 Main St., Lee, MA cheznousbistro.com/.
Andover students and faculty know this hearty buffet rocks, so you can expect a packed house on school-year Sunday mornings. The inn has all the standard brunch items but also includes such gourmet goodies as smoked salmon, fruit, and specialty cheeses. Rounding out the meal are enough sweet danishes, croissants, and freshly baked breads to satisfy any palate. 4 Chapel Ave., Andover, MA andoverinn.com/.
From the pizza loaded with sweet figs, rich duck confit, and salty Gorgonzola to the agnolotti stuffed with tender pork cheek, the divine Neopolitan cuisine here tastes like it was made with nothing but amore. Just make sure you savor the cozy atmosphere, too—the butter-hued walls, wooden beams, and fresh flowers will have you feeling the love in no time. 504 Main St., Waltham, MA 2452, lacampania.com.
We appreciated the doting service. We marveled at the kitchen's inventive-ness (e.g., the vegan-friendly dish whipped up for our dining companion). We admired the exposed-brick dining room. But we absolutely worshipped Ceia's steak frites: a mouth-watering hunk of tenderloin coated with porcini butter and served with sweet-potato steak fries and chef Patrick Soucy's house-made ketchup. This stuff is so good, he'll soon be bottling it for household consumption. 38 State St., Newburyport, MA 1950, ceia-newburyport.com.
When seafood titan Roger Berkowitz sold the local-born restaurant chain that his father conceived as a single fish market in 1950, we had one important question about the new corporate owners: Would they — heaven forbid! — mess with the family’s famous chowder recipe? Thankfully, the answer is a definitive “hell no.” Nothing changed about those iconic cups of super-creamy chowder studded with sweet clams, though as with every taken-for-granted pleasure, we found we loved it more for the sudden fear of losing it. Multiple locations, legalseafoods.com.
In the parking lot of a motorcycle dealer in the distant shadow of the Encore casino, a trailer bumping Latin beats serves hard-to-find Brazilian hot dogs deep into the night. The ridiculously delicious sliced dogs, if ordered complete, are as (over)loaded as they would be at a block party in Rio — hot-pressed with sweet corn and peas, seasoned beef sauce, mayo, mashed potato, and more, more, more. You will devour one. You will be called “friend.” You are so coming back. 1865 Revere Beach Pkwy., Everett, MA 02149, facebook.com/vandeju.
We don't fancy ourselves the "needs a private driver" type—but Uber swept us off our feet (in a luxurious Lincoln Town Car, no less). Launched in Boston last fall, the car-service smartphone app allows you to get a limo ride from anywhere, to anywhere with the press of a button. Apps available for iPhone and Android. Boston, MA uber.com.
Buff, Lycraclad CEOs ogle the quads of passing yoga addicts; yoga addicts ogle the finely tuned glutes of venture capitalists; interior designers swap tall tales of ankle twists by the pool; and male and female models struggle to understand their StairMaster readouts. Boston has never seen a fitness club like this—largely because it's as much urban country club and schmoozefest as gym. In this top-dollar, luxury-ridden setting meld two of humanity's greatest aphrodisiacs: money and sweat. Pound for pound, this four-star spectacle has the most muscle in town. 2 Avery St., Boston, MA boston.sportsclubla.com/.
An alumnus of Chris Schlesinger's East Coast Grill and Gordon Hamersley's eponymous bistro, Johnson is the quintessential product of Boston's familial and sometimes incestuous restaurant scene. Bridging the gap between the austere classicism of Hamersley's and the raucous atmosphere and aggressive flavors of East Coast Grill, Johnson also draws on sophisticated French and Asian influences. Having also mastered Schlesinger's grilling techniques, he has now come up with his own imaginative and well-prepared rendition of the new American cuisine. All of which means that his combination of talent, patience, and perseverance is a winning one indeed. And as one of the founders of the local chapter of the Chefs Collaborative and the Fresh Sheet - as well as a tireless mentor - he's a culinary gift that keeps on giving. The Blueroom, One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA .
Indoor cycling studios are so 2014. These days, it's all about group rowing classes, and now New England has its very first dedicated rowing studio right here on the South Shore. Launched by Kerry Connolly, a longtime news anchor for CBS Boston, Row and Ride offers group rowing and stadium-style cycling classes for a new spin (ahem) on the latest fitness trends. The squeaky clean facility also has a fully stocked locker room with showers to rinse off after sweating it out in class. 200 Webster St., Hanover, MA 02339, rowandride.com.
You've heard the hype: Walls made of limestone reclaimed from a French abbey. A copper spit for roasting chicken and suckling pigs. A $400 glass of Screaming Eagle. But let's be honest: You're really here for the meat—every juicy, wood-fired, artery-clogging bite. And from the smoky-sweet bourbon-bathed pork belly and tender Wagyu brisket to the sliced-to-order charcuterie platters, the sophisticated new wine bar within Moody's deli is a carnivore's dream. 468 Moody St., Waltham, MA 02453, moodyswaltham.com.
If you lack the patience to sift through piles and paw through racks to find vintage gems, head to this Harvard Square institution, where staffers have done the treasure-hunting for you. Waiting to meet your closet: sweet Twiggy-era shift dresses, a sequined Valentino jacket, and baubles to satisfy every taste, all at not-that-outrageous prices. Guys can get in on the fun, too, with Hawaiian-print shirts, striped ties, and denim jackets. 1210 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, oonasboston.com.
Who knew brunch in a takeout box could be so sweet? Before escaping to the National Seashore, pick up some much-needed fuel at this restaurant and bakery with locations in Orleans and Eastham, which offers its beloved stacks of cinna- mon-roll pancakes and scallion-cheddar biscuits smothered in sausage gravy to go. Word to the wise: Whatever you get, don’t forget to add a dozen hand-cut doughnuts (including specials like blueberry crum- ble, s’mores, or Reese’s) to your order. 98 MA-6A, Orleans, MA 02653, theholecapecod.com.