No matter the time of year, the burgers sizzled here instantly evoke thoughts of sunny summer cookouts. That’s because Bred flattens and seasons its burgers right on the grill, preserving the juiciness of restaurant-quality, grass-fed Maine beef while lending the perfect outer char we love to bite into at backyard bashes with neighbors. The single most lip-smacking result might be the Maui burger, a luau-like lineup of bright pineapple, grilled ham, sweet plantains, and spicy pepper Jack cheese, all doused in sauce from nearby M&M BBQ. 2255 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA 02124, bredgourmet.com.
One of the best things about a day off is having the ability to choose comfort above all else. At the Boston outpost for this popular designer, sartorial-minded gents can find soft, well-fitting tees and premium cashmere track pants that won’t look embarrassing in the produce section. And if an invite comes your way that involves meeting people you know in public, you won’t have to sacrifice said comfort when you swap the sweats for cotton pants, a linen shirt, and crisp, retro-looking sneakers. 17 Arlington St., Boston, MA jamesperse.com.
At this sweet slice of heaven on Observatory Hill, apothecary jars of blood-orange caramels gleam beside a case filled with fine bonbons, brown-butter toffee, and craft riffs on candy-bar classics courtesy of Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney. The chocolate makers are known for infusing their handmade, artisanal confections with fancy teas, spices, and fruit purées, resulting in uniquely decadent treats. The one thing they all have in common? An air of whimsy and dedication to sky-high-quality. 145 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA ehchocolatier.com.
Save your airline miles: This new Davis Square destination offers all the pleasures of Thai street food, minus the daylong flight. The killer khao soi (“cut rice”) is a study in richness and fiery depth, sharpened with fixings such as pork belly and pickled mustard. Classic pad thai, meanwhile, is mercifully more savory than sweet. And the rice porridge and satiny egg custards at the weekend-only breakfast pop-up (dubbed Egg E Egg Egg) consistently dazzle. 195 Elm St., Somerville, MA dakzen.com.
A year-round locals’ favorite, Island Kitchen expanded in 2017, adding a patio bar and a counter serving house-made ice cream and doughnuts in varieties such as maple bacon and Mexican chocolate. But you may have to forgo the sweet stuff after feasting on chef-owner Patrick Ridge’s inspired breakfast and brunch fare: panko-crusted eggs Benedict, apple-bacon-blue-cheese omelets, turkey hash, and fine finnan haddie, preferably washed down by mimosas made with always-fresh-squeezed OJ. One Chins Way, Nantucket, MA 02554, nantucketislandkitchen.com.
There's always something that catches our eye at this contemporary gallery inside the Back Bay's Church of the Covenant. Now celebrating its 40th year, Naga prefers to showcase work by locals, such as Peter Vanderwarker's stunning landscape photography and Gerry Bergstein's mixed-media agglomerations on panels. The other thing the artists all have in common? They hit the sweet spot of challenging the mind while creating images that you can immerse yourself in for years. 67 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, gallerynaga.com.
Want to avoid the inevitable box o’ chocolate roulette? Pick up an assorted selection from Jeremy Spindler’s new Cambridge shop, where the truffles are filled with Cabot-butter caramel, the chocolate-covered pretzels are dusted with Atlantic Saltworks sea salt, and the peanut butter cups are pure perfection. Keeping the focus on the local bounty, the confectioner incorporates Carr’s Ciderhouse syrup and Somerville’s pride and joy, Fluff, into his finely crafted sweets. 2257 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, spindlerconfections.com.
After competing on the 2011 season of the Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race, brothers James and Mike DiSabatino parlayed their signature brand of mayo-slathered grilled cheese into two trucks, an Allston brick-and-mortar, and a sweet stand just outside Fenway Park. While their restaurant venture has seen a transition from cheese-on-bread to flat-top burgers and poutine swimming in beef gravy, James says a forthcoming expansion (two locations are due to open in 2015) will delve further into the canon of elevated comfort food. 485 Cambridge St., Allston, MA 02134, roxysgrilledcheese.com.
In a messy taste test of buns from eight area bakeries, the addictive swirled pastry from Iggy’smade from buttery, pecan-studded croissant dough and topped with semi caramelized wildflower honeyreigned supreme. Can’t make the trek to the bread company’s store near Fresh Pond? Fret not: The sweet treats are also sold at Bloc 11, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Darwin’s Ltd., and other spots around town. 130 Fawcett St., Cambridge, MA 2138, iggysbread.com.
Parting with a furry friend pre-vacation is such sweet sorrow. But book your pup a stay at this 7,000-plus-square-foot boarding-and-daycare facility, and you can rest assured that he’ll sleep tight after romping for hours in one of four supervised, climate-controlled rooms where dogs, from teacup Chihuahuas to mastiffs, are grouped by play style and size. Walks and Blue Buffalo food are available at no extra charge, and Web cams allow globe-trotting owners to keep tabs on their pets throughout the day. 139 Endicott St., Danvers, MA 1923, nsdog.com.
Rye crêpes with ricotta, smoked salmon, and fiddleheads. House-made linguiça with eggs. Portuguese sweet-bread French toast with strawberries and streusel. This Newburyport hot spot turns out pumped-up versions of brunch favorites with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients (which makes sense, considering chef Patrick Soucy is an organic farmer himself). When the weather’s fine, kick back on the patio for prime Sunday-morning people-watching. 38 State St., Newburyport, MA 1950, ceiakitchenbar.com.
After tasting every cake in town—hey, anything for the job—it's official: Party Favors' sinfully rich but not-too-sweet cake/frosting combo is the most delectable. You can mix and match colors and flavors for filling and icing, and sample two combinations before making a decision. Bring in a wedding photo of your cake a year later, and the shop will make you a mini anniversary replica for free—a handy service, considering your reception guests will want to devour every last morsel of the original. 1356 Beacon St., Brookline, MA partyfavorsbrookline.com.
La Ruche owner Brooke Laughlin gives Martha Stewart a run for her questionably earned money with the precious stationery and invitations she stocks at her colorful Newbury Street shop. More creative than stuffy, the lines by Dempsey & Carroll, Surtout Pour Vous, and the Wren Press run the gamut from monogrammed note cards to customized printed invitations. Choose from sweet ribbon-topped birth announcements, pony-shaped children's party invitations, even sophisticated cocktail invites. 164 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
The man has magic hands! Nezat, a recent transplant from the now-defunct Spa on Newbury, not only releases any stress-induced tension knotting your body with the fundamental Swedish massage, he can also pinpoint problem areas and offer sweet relief with more advanced techniques. With his strong yet gentle touch, you'll leave feeling like a wet noodle. And he'll do it for a whole hour longer than your Significant Other's brief obligatory poke-and-prod. Candela Laserspa, 28 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
P.J. Waters made his name at Via Matta with his irresistible 'mascarporeos,' whipped mascarpone with delicate chocolate cookies. At upscale Radius, he's let his imagination soar with innovations such as deconstructed carrot cake with mascarpone, pickled carrot salad, and a shot of spicy coriander chai and the Cinema Paradiso, a sampler of crunchy chocolate, cherry slush, and buttered popcorn ice cream. This is no standard sugar fix. Waters's creations boast a delicate balance of creativity, whimsy, and old-fashioned, sock-it-to-you sweetness. 8 High St., Boston, MA 2110, radiusrestaurant.com.