Just before self-isolation drove all of us into home-baker mode, the sugar-speckled sage behind Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café empire released her latest tome (and with it, scored her most recent James Beard Award nomination). Its 125 recipes, accompanied by brief journal-like backstories, cover everything from caramel popcorn cookies to s’mores pie to orange-almond pudding cake. Each helped us experiment beyond simple sourdough and, during socially distant times, felt like a loving hug from a local dining legend. flourbakery.com/books.
As long as Boston’s stylish men never lose their taste for leather-scented candles and pants held up with twists of nautical rope, Sault will continue to be indispensable. A new women’s section appears not to have affected the store’s emphasis on laid-back yet fashionable accents for the fellas, from killer railroad-spike-inspired bracelets from metal jeweler Giles & Brother to leather bi-folds from Todder. And lest men be excluded from the self-care trend, the shop also offers an assortment of high-end grooming products, including beard oils and one very preppy whale-shaped nail brush. 577 Tremont St., Boston, MA saultne.com.
When Idris Goodwin’s play premiered at Boston’s Company One in 2018, its intimate portrait of an interracial hip-hop trio rocked by the needless police killing of a Black teenager had its finger directly on the national pulse. Hype Man’s pivot to video with the original cast — presented with great sound, ample drama-heightening close-ups, and interstitial animations — added renewed vigor to a production whose timeliness has only increased exponentially in the intervening years. americanrepertorytheater.org; companyone.org
Boston’s not short on spots offering humdrum takes on tandoori chicken, but for a truly superlative representation of the Indian subcontinent—and then some—make the jaunt to Medford Square. Zam Zam stands apart by spotlighting standards such as tikka masala alongside hard-to-find Pakistani specials—particularly lush, long-cooked stews like haleem (a spicy, savory meat-and-lentil porridge) and nehari brimming with spoon-tender lamb shank. 42 Riverside Ave., Medford, MA zamzammedford.com.
If you’re a budding small brand, how do you get your products into the public’s hands when you can’t afford Boston’s high rents? Connect with For Now, a shop that acts as a revolving showcase for indie labels, with about a dozen lines—from soaps to shoes—displayed at any given time. 68 Seaport Blvd., Boston, MA itsfornow.com.
Sorry, Kelly’s: We’ll gladly bypass Route 1 road rage in favor of this street-side walkup window in Boston’s Back Bay (with an outpost at a nearby food hall), which perfects a beefy North Shore–style “Three-way” sloppy with barbecue sauce and mayo. More than that, though, it also dresses up its plump, brioche-like buns for the city: see the “80T,” a mile-high pile of herb-rubbed Wagyu sliced thin, juicy, and pink, with sharply pickled onions that cut through spicy aioli and cheddar. Multiple locations, cussersboston.com.
"Farm to table" is much more than a catch phrase at this spot from natural-food activist Kristin Canty. Her own 265-acre New Hampshire farm supplies meat for chef Charlie Foster’s refined-rustic fare, from pasture-raised chicken with sauce Périgord to beef tartare with a fresh quail egg. And the farm is growing (newly debuted: ducks) to keep up with Canty’s additional projects, including the just-opened Mexican joint Adelita and a forthcoming restaurant on Boston’s Pier 4 site. 24 Commonwealth Ave., Concord, MA 01742, woodshilltable.com.
Some bike shops take themselves too seriously—What, you don’t know how to change a chain? At this unassuming yet hip workshop, however, even complete novices are welcome. Staffers will patiently answer any questions about the trials and tribulations of urban cycling before steering you toward a superb selection of sleek new city cruisers from brands like Bianchi and Linus, as well as refurbished wheels. And that kindness extends to all aspects of the nonprofit: Bikes Not Bombs ships thousands of refurbished two-wheelers to partners across the world, and supports the community closer to home with a youth-employment program for Boston’s aspiring mechanics. 18 Bartlett Sq., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, bikesnotbombs.org.
Discussions of Boston’s Irish pubs typically involve squirrely notions of authenticity. The problem is, no such thing exists, and most attempts ring about as true as some "Ireland-land" simulacrum at Epcot. So this year we decided to give the nod instead to the best pub, period, which just so happens to be Irish (a subtle but important distinction). The Phoenix Landing is like four bars in one: You can go for a quiet afternoon pint alone, brunch with the family, crack-of-dawn soccer broadcasts, or nighttime dancing to some of the best DJ talent around. 512 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2139, phoenixlandingbar.com.
UX designer, Maggie fashion model, and influencer extraordinaire, Claudiane Philippe is one busy gal:The 30-year-old Waltham native creates content for not one but three Instagram accounts: @cphilipp, a lifestyle blog; @itsclaudiane, focusing on all things beauty; and @nailthecocktail, highlighting Boston’s best cocktails. She’s also bringing awareness to social justice. To wit: To celebrate Black beauty, she posted a different look each day in honor of Black History Month, and throughout the pandemic, she named each of the DIY drinks on her cocktail blog after a person of color who died at the hands of police. Call it style with a whole lot of substance.
Boston’s best high-end women’s clothing store is in—the ’burbs? Hear us out for a minute. Like the most coveted of closets, this jaw-droppingly pretty new boutique in Chestnut Hill is home to a tightly curated selection from fashion’s biggest stars—Balenciaga, Dior, Fendi—alongside up-and-coming darlings like Adam Lippes, Brock Collection, and Khaite. The smart selection of high-end shoes and jewelry, meanwhile, feels polished, but not too precious to wear on a Friday-night dinner date with pals, whether you’re headed to the city or just outside of it. 33 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA copiousrow.com.
For years, Grill 23 has served Boston’s ultimate power-crowd fare. Sure, you have your waiters in white jackets, towers of fresh seafood, and a top-notch wine list, but the reason we keep coming back to this local institution is because no one in town cooks a better steak. It’s salty, crusty, buttery—an unmistakable carnivore’s delight. And remember, if the 10-ounce American Kobe cap seems a bit too small, the 18-ounce 100-day-aged prime rib-eye will be more than happy to oblige. 161 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116, grill23.com.
Choosing Boston’s best "overall" Korean restaurant is a tricky proposition. The city’s long on specialists, but short on generalists able to muster worthy renditions of the hit parade. For example, is it unfair to dock a bibimbap shop for its subpar bulgogi? Our philosophical struggle ended, however, when we discovered that our favorite spot for spicy tofu stews also puts out a rock-solid plate of kalbi. In sum: Kaju’s focus may be its glorious bubbling sundubu bowls, but it’ll keep even the most hard-core Korean-barbecue fans happy, too. 58 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA 2134, kajutofuhouse.com.
Boston’s style mavens count on Leslee Shupe to bring them the cr&_egrave;me de la cr&_egrave;me in high-end fashion — and 18 years after taking over Serenella, she continues to deliver, with a gorgeous selection of Bottega Veneta clutches, Missoni zigzag frocks, and whimsical portrait-collar blouses from Patou. In fact, even during a difficult time for the retail industry, Shupe managed to expand, launching a second Nantucket boutique devoted solely to La DoubleJ, a wildly popular Italian clothing and home-goods line, and apothecary products by Acqua Di Parma. It’s a testament to her impeccable eye for beautiful things — and to her devoted customers. 134 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, serenellausa.com.
Named Concierge of the Year by her peers, Ingalls won the award after working her way up the ranks at the Four Seasons: she started as a desk clerk when the hotel opened, in 1985. Ingalls is one of only 220 American concierges who made the cut for membership in Les Clefs d'Or, the society of professional concierges.