Local barbecue fiends once faced a split decision: You could hit up roadhouse joints like Lester’s, in Burlington, or SoulFire, in Allston, or go a tier higher at Newton’s Blue Ribbon or Davis Square’s Redbones. Then came this smoked-meat haven, which, true to its Fenway locale, is in a league of its own. The quality of chef Tiffani Faison’s signaturesgiant biscuits, fall-apart racks of ribshasn’t changed since the restaurant debuted in 2011. 1381 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2215, sweetcheeksq.com.
Proprietors Hal and Erin Ryerson, who took over this island favorite from their pals in 2017, are on a mission to make a sweet spot even sweeter. And they’re succeeding thanks to elegant dishes like potato gnocchi with island-raised lamb, basil, and shiitakes. sweetlifemv.com/.
It's the scent that hits you first: sweet, pungent garlic, mixed with basil and white wine as it hits the pan. After that, it's the service—warm and friendly, as if you've just sat down in someone's kitchen. Then there's chef Dave Becker's Italian-influenced menu: phyllo-wrapped baked Gouda over truffle-vinaigrette-dressed greens; baked ziti with winter squash, goat cheese, and bread crumbs; and rib-eye smothered in provolone fondue, all served in gargantuan portions. When we crave comfort food and a bottle of BYO wine, there's no place we'd rather be. 942 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA 02492, sweetbasilneedham.com.
The meat’s still sweet—and smoky, and spicy—at Top Chef vet Tiffani Faison’s firstborn by Fenway, where the southern-inspired barbecue hasn’t suffered for the opening of her neighboring restaurant, Tiger Mama. Still lovingly tended to (kudos, chef de cuisine Dan Raia) are the metal trays of tender ribs, buckets of now-iconic honey-butter biscuits, and Mason-jar cocktails, best imbibed by the outdoor beer shed. Sweet mercy. 1381 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215, sweetcheeksq.com.
A superthin chewy crust that crunches even at the top of the wedge, and inspired flavor combinations, such as roasted eggplant and sundried tomato—now that's pizza! 20 Waltham Street, Lexington, MA .
WCVB's Clark Booth is knowledgeable and perceptive, and has a command of the language that Cosell himself would envy. MA
This place lives up to its adjective, luring patrons from near and far with lethal flavors like banana cream and mojito. 378 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 2144, kickasscupcakes.com.
Skoah’s short but sweet facial menu promises customizable “sweat-free skin-care workouts” powerful enough to whip even the most problematic skin types into shape. Case in point: The “Fitskin” facial, a 45-minute treatment that includes an exfoliating mask, hydrating lotions, and an ultra-relaxing hand-and-arm massage, will leave even the most blemish-prone skin looking bright and healthy. 641A Tremont St., Boston, 857-350-4930; 33 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-383-5185. 641A Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118, skoah.com.
Sometimes the most unassuming places pack the most punch. This humble haunt serves up pad see ew with ample wok char, just-sweet-enough pineapple curry, and a soulful pad gra prow with enough heat to make you sweat. About that sweating thing—the five-chili marker on the menu (completely written in Thai) really does mean business. You've been warned. 168A Brighton Ave., Allston, MA 02134, sanditogo.com.
You’ll find plenty of old-school Neapolitan and Sicilian slices in the neighboring North End, but if you’re craving Detroit-style pizza — a square-cut variety slowly starting to appear in Boston — you’ll need to stop by this young TD Garden–side brewery, which tapped a super-talented team of Eastern Standard alums to perfect its recipe. Locally milled high-gluten flour yields a wonderfully chewy, sheet-pan-deep pie built with sweet tomato sauce on top of salty, tangy cheese that reaches all the way to the caramelized edge — and don’t forget the crispy, heat-curled cups of dry-aged pepperoni. 1 Lovejoy Wharf, West End, MA 02114, nightshiftbrewing.com.
Some argue that power yoga is not really yoga. But sweat and stretch your way through just one class with Baron Baptiste and you'll be a believer in his high-intensity, high-temperature workout. Just ask the dozens of devotees who pile into his tiny Porter Square studio for his first-come, first-serve classes—or any of the professional athletes and celebrities (including Elisabeth Shue and Helen Hunt) who are fans. Lest you assume that Baptiste's method forgoes the meditative properties of traditional yoga, be assured that classes are conducted in a soothingly quiet room where traditional breathing techniques and perfect form are stressed, though the room is heated to more than 90 degrees to keep the muscles loose. And at only $10 per session (a dollar extra for mat rentals), it's an indulgence that can easily be made a habit. 2000 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA baronbaptiste.com/.
We've tried it at home. We've done the booth. We've stood stark naked before strangers and had every inch of our bodies airbrushed, only to emerge St. Barts brown on one side, Back Bay white on the other. But we never got the elusive all-over glow until we went to Bella Santé, where an almost painfully thorough full-body exfoliation precedes careful application of Phytomer's clear (!) bronzer. It won't streak when you sweat or rub off on your clothes, which means that even after a sticky, slow ride to the beach, we pulled up looking as if we had been there all summer long. 38 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, bellasante.com.
Once you and your sweetheart have strolled the beach and sailed at sunset, your next romantic rendezvous should be dinner at the Sweet Life Café. This upscale eatery serves fresh fare such as chévre ravioli in curry sauce and roasted halibut with eggplant purée. Don't miss dessert—the blueberry— brown butter tart is divine—in the candlelit garden. 63 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, MA sweetlifemv.com/.
Ten bucks says if you were asked to imagine your ideal evening of outdoor island dining, you'd pick something with a water view. Oh, naive soul: On the Vineyard, the most delicious outdoor experience happens in Sweet Life's fragrant garden, where threads of tiny white lights illuminate a handful of white-tableclothed seatings. The food is similarly divine: Lively island fare such as sweet-and-spicy roasted scallops, savory halibut with curry onion rings (a must), and salmon with lemon salsa round out the experience. 63 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, MA 2557, sweetlifemv.com.
State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien disavowing the comments of her own father, Edward M. O'Brien, when he blasted Swift for holding meetings via speakerphone while pregnant.
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child."