Long before the neighborhood became known for high-end loft conversions and favorable price-per-square-foot ratios, Santarpio's was making superlative pizza in East Boston. Now in its fourth generation in the pie-slinging business, the Santarpio clan continues to draw pilgrims from across the area to its no-frills, out-of-the-way, cash-only restaurant, beloved for its homemade sausage links, fresh-tasting sauce, gooey cheese, and reliably crunchy crusts. 111-113 Chelsea St., East Boston, MA santarpiospizza.com/.
For authentic Japanese cuisine, Ginza quite simply can't be beat— and we looked. We love the wide, flat platters of sushi and sashimi; love the fast service; could do without the bright lights. Nevertheless, whether you're seeking tempura, sushi, seafood, or meat, Ginza's locations in Chinatown and Brookline serve the most delectable Japanese delicacies in Boston. 16 Hudson St., Boston, MA .
When Vinicio Paoli first arrived in Boston in the early '80s, he says it was just like a scene from Big Night: "People would order risotto and then ask why they didn't get a side of spaghetti!" Despite this less-than-fortuitous initiation, he continues to serve the choicest cuts of meat, the freshest pastas, and the most satisfying sauces. 47 Charles St., Boston, MA .
Boston isn't known yet for great Mexican fare—perhaps we're a little too far north of the border for the spicy stuff. But things are looking up now that El Centro has rolled into town. Our go-to order? The deeply flavored ;carne asada and fish tacos, followed by ;al pastor sopes (doughy corn tartlets). Top that off with a couple glasses of jalapeño-spiked sangria, and you'll easily silence any naysayers. 472 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 2118, elcentroboston.com.
After 40 years of Best of Boston, it takes a lot to shock us. But if you told us that we would eat a sandwich that doesn't even have meat—Cutty's eggplant spuckie, a ciabatta roll filled with mozzarella, olive-carrot salad, and, of course, roasted eggplant—and that it'd be one of the best sandwiches we've ever eaten, we'd be shocked. Guess what? We were shocked. Also great: the sandwiches that actually have meat (go Saturday for the special pork). 284 Washington St., Brookline, MA cuttyfoods.com.
It's hard to compete with a sandwich joint that's tapping into the culinary genius of just about every megachef in Boston. Among the delicacies on the roster of almost two dozen sandwiches: Chris Schlesinger's smoked ham and cheese with mango chutney, Lydia Shire's lobster salad sandwich, and Michael Shlow's rare sirloin with caramelized onions and horseradish cream. The only real problem here is figuring out which one to order. 361 Boylston Street, Boston, MA parishcafe.com.
There have been three generations of Mantoses at Boston Bootmakers, 115 Summer St., a firm that itself is fifty years old—suggesting that they must be doing something right. For repairs or actual design and construction, Mantos and his ten-man crew are at your service. "We charge the best," Mantos says, "we give the best, and we do the best. In other words, we're very fair. We give quality." Boston Bootmakers, 115 Summer St., Boston, MA .
The president of WGBH will do anything to solicit a buck for Channel 2; luckily for his audience, he's got a class act. At a Boston Pops fundraising special last spring, Ives took on Gilbert and Sullivan, singing innumerable verses of "I Am the Very Model of a Public TV President" to the tune of "Modern Major General"; it was a high point in the history of panhandling. MA
Celebrity relocates to Boston area. Celebrity purchases multimillion-dollar pad. Celebrity homeowner puts Dennis Duffy on speed dial. You'd be smart to do the same. Duffy's jaw-dropping interiors are marked by flawless furniture, one-of-a-kind home accessories, and seamlessly integrated artwork. And whether he's working on a luxe Back Bay penthouse, an industrial South End studio, or the aforementioned A-list manse, he always delivers original touches. 530 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 2118, duffydesigngroup.com.
People who are stuck on Stickley already know about JMW, a gallery filled with Mission furniture, art pottery, and accessories of the American arts and crafts movement. A century ago, Boston was in the forefront of craftsman design, and JMW celebrates that tradition by searching out some of the finest local art pottery. These are antiques to live with, from mustard-yellow J. & J.G. Low tiles out of Chelsea for the fireplace, to an achingly elegant matte-green Grueby vase for the front hall. And maybe, just maybe, a Stickley table to set it on. 144 Lincoln St., Boston, MA jmwgallery.com/.
Collaborative workspaces—centers where many different businesses work in one area, bouncing ideas off one another—are redefining the way we work in Boston. The best of the bunch? The South End's Make/Shift, which merges creative businesses like Spirited magazine, graphic design firm Golden Arrows, and Web design and development company Quilted. Boston, MA 2118, makeshiftboston.org.
Provincetown is awash in style-savvy men. We're guessing that best dressed of them frequent Market, a small but flashy clothing destination on Commercial Street. Pick up a new pair of swim shorts by a notably chic designer such as D&G, Hugo Boss, Jean-Paul Gaultier, or DSquared2. What's even better? Market has two sister stores in Boston, so you can still shop till you drop when you get home. 173 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA .
In Boston, the "mists of Avalon" refer not to the foggy shores hiding King Arthur's final resting place, but the dry ice curling around the feet of the club's performers. Whether your taste is for Aimee Mann or Franz Ferdinand, the light show and acoustics in this cavernous ballroom are fantastic—as is its size, which is midway between nosebleed big and sell-out small. 15 Lansdowne St., Boston, MA .
With an unadulterated sound and a timeless, gamine look, Aly Spaltro, a.k.a. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, upstages every testosterone-fueled act in Boston. Her voice is light yet certain, as are her banjo and guitar stylings, which will sound even better when properly recorded (until now, her bedroom has served as her studio). Next to Spaltro's spare verses and trancelike repetition, everything else sounds like a whole lotta noise. ladylambthebeekeeper.com.
Breaking a long silence, Flaherty informed the Boston Herald that the mood in the House is just swell. This, notwithstanding the daily leaks from the federal grand jury reportedly investigating him for accepting illegal gratuities from lobbyists, plus the simmering war of succession between majority leader Richie Voke and House Ways and Means chair Tom Finneran. Say good night, Charlie.