A good eyebrow artist can change your face, but a great one can change your world. Part therapist, part girlfriend, and all parts godsend, Julie Michaud is Boston's arch angel. Her minimum-pain tweezing sessions—peppered with good gossip, health factoids, and beauty tips—result in perfect but natural brows fit to flatter every face. And while Michaud's talent has turned her scheduling book into a fortress (be smart and book months in advance), it's also turned the business into a dynasty; if Julie's booked, don't hesitate to make a reservation with any of her equally adept colleagues. 297 Newbury St., Suite 21, Boston, MA .
Schumacher has been the grad Poo-Bah of flora for the past 31 years, and is largely responsible for bringing a healthy dose of green to Boston's asphalt avenues. Its creative ingenuity can be appreciated throughout the city at the Fraser Courtyard in the Museum of Fine Arts, the Snell Library Plaza at Northeastern University, and Post Office Square Par. But don't be intimidated if your yard is more like a foot. These doctors of the green thumb are equally adept at smaller residential projects— say, planting pansies around the porch, installing sod over that crabgrass, or mowing your lawn when you just don't feel like it. 17 Electric Ave., Brighton, MA .
This isn't the place where the suits go to celebrate closing a big deal, or the restaurant everybody talks about down at the club. It is, in fact, something much better: Boston's oldest steakhouse and a Porter Square institution. Locals arrive by 9 Wednesday through Saturday so they can listen to performers such as Preacher Jack on keyboard while digging into a New York sizzler—an unadorned 14-ounce sirloin that arrives at the table sizzling, as advertised, in a cast-iron skillet. The marinated steak tips, prime rib, and seafood are every bit as terrific. Oh, and forget about the wine list: Just order a beer. 2310 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA frankssteakhouse.com/.
Gourmets and gourmands alike have for generations found solace in this small family-run specialty foods shop; the high culinary priestess herself, Julia Child, called founder Jack Savenor her butcher for decades. No wonder. The friendly, knowledgeable staff will guide anyone through the international selections, doling out advice on how to serve foie gras or properly prepare lion meat. The cases stocked with imported cheeses, a commendable produce section, and bread from Iggy's all earn this neighborhood market an enduring place in Boston's epicurean pantheon. 160 Charles St., Boston, MA savenorsmarket.com/.
Three years after its feverishly hyped opening, the South End's Stella draws a dinner crowd that's more Newton-Wellesley than bright-young-thing. After those diners have retreated is when the insider action at this stylish modern Italian restaurant gets under way. Until 1:30 a.m., Boston's movers and shakers perch on the tall bar chairs and inhale mushroom and white truffle oil thin-crust pizza and fantastic (and only available late-night) burgers—welcome tidbits for those who would otherwise be scarfing greasy New York-style slices on their stumbles home. 1525 Washington St., Boston, MA 2118, bostonstella.com.
Don't write off Olé for its unremarkable exterior. Inside you'll find a peppy atmosphere and Boston's most bona fide Mexican fare: In place of sloppy enchiladas, chef Erwin Ramos serves up inventive plates including tacos de cangrejo, crabmeat tacos with crème fraîche and baby spinach, and costillas de puerco, pork ribs cooked in banana leaves with a chili ancho peanut glaze, which go down even better when accompanied by pitchers of the potent house sangria and bowls of fresh guacamole prepared tableside by friendly waiters. 11 Springfield St., Cambridge, MA 2139, olegrill.com.
Given all the sterling pubs in Boston, a city that's become a destination for the beer-drinking world, you'd think Sunset would see stiffer competition in this category. Yet there's no arguing with the math: Over 100 beers on tap plus 380 microbrews equals 10 Best of Boston nods in the past decade. From the Hazed & Infused American pale ale to a host of obscure but lip-smacking Belgians, there's always something new and intriguing on offer. More important: The staff is as astute about beer as sommeliers are about wine, minus the superciliousness. 130 Brighton Ave., Allston, MA 2134, allstonsfinest.com.
Dorchester has become a hub for Boston's gay scene, with Dbar at the center of it all. From Showtunes Tuesdays to Magnum Saturdays (you'll have to see for yourself), there's always something happening at this Dot. Ave. hot spot. The Christopher Coombs-inspired menu and deftly crafted cocktail list are all the fuel you need to dance into the wee hours when the restaurant transitions into a nightclub. 1236 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA 02125, dbarboston.com.
Rare is the makeup artist who can shake you out of your routine with a single application of blush and eyeshadow. Tavi de la Rosa, who mans the Sisley counter at Neiman Marcus part-time and preps Boston's style icons, can suss out your look in minutes. For us, that meant smoky eyes, flawless foundation, and near-nude lips, plus a few false-eyelash applications for extra zing.
This Back Bay boutique is famous for stocking Boston's most fashionable array of kicks. Choose from the latest lines of Nike, Converse, Reebok, and Vans, plus plenty of special-edition hats and graphic tees. The shopping experience, like the inventory, defines what it means to be hip in the Hub: Bodega is pet-friendly and regularly showcases paintings by local artists. 6 Clearway St., Boston, MA 2115, shop.bdgastore.com.
Need a springform pan for a mile-high cheesecake? Eastern Bakers has Boston's broadest, deepest, and widest inventory for baking, pastry-making, and all breeds of professional supplies. This is the place that the professionals turn to, from pots and pans to doo-dads like pastry nozzels, pastry brushes, brioche molds, rolling pins, and paring knives. It ain't pretty in there, but the place works. Ask for Al. His manner seems gruff, but it's a put-on. 145 North Washington St., Boston, MA .
Speros has run his own restaurant (Gloucester's 197 East Main) and hopped around Boston's top kitchens (Radius and Armani Café) but it wasn't until Soma that he developed a distinctive personal style. Encouraged by fellow Grecian and owner Nik Paras, Speros has embraced his roots, turning out dishes like beet and bean salad with ;skordalia, a Greek garlic sauce, and rare steak salad tossed with yellow wax beans. It's all Greek to us—and it all makes delicious sense. 256 Cabot St., Beverly, MA 1915, somabeverly.com.
Enough with the fruit-and-berry recipes made by all those microbreweries that are (not coincidentally) going out of business left and right. Enough, too, with the endless seasonal brews—even the ones from Tremont. It's time to get back to basics, and the finest basic Boston beer is this one, with its malty, hoppy goodness and light copper hue, now on draft year round in the best Boston-area bars and available in bottles in and around town. MA
Before setting up shop in Gloucester, star chef Ken Duckworth gained invaluable training turning out classics like creamy wild mushroom soup and succulent Dover sole in Paris and at Boston's famed Maison Robert. The American desserts, such as peanut butter pie and cheesecake, are the vision of Duckworth's wife, Nicole, a self-trained pastry chef. Each dish, expertly executed and oozing with flavor, is testimony to the couple's passion for perfection. 197 E. Main St., Gloucester, MA 1930, duckworthsbistrot.com.
Boston's answer to the Strokes was spawned at Northeastern when undergrad Jason Bergman joined up with three classmates (Timmy Miles, Jason Sibilia, and Jim Williamson) to form Camden in 2010. This rocking, Stones-influenced quartet has an impressive following at Great Scott, and a few self-pressed vinyl releases to its name. See them now, before they explode: They're in the studio working on a jazzier full-length album, expected to be released by spring 2013.