Owner Kitty Huang draws on more than 30 years of restaurant experience to run Jin's Fine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, which opened in Wellesley this year. Zagat recommends sushi combos for lunch and cocktails and Hunan spicy salmon at night at this "family-run outpost" that "attracts families as well as nearby suits." While dodging the floating double-breasted jackets wandering the dining room, families can pick up crabstick nigiri or Red Sox maki, a spicy king crab roll with mango and tuna toppings.:m]]
Fresh out of college, Vince Petryk took a job as a dishwasher at an ice cream shop. It was just a temporary gig…or, so he thought. As Petryk climbed through the shop’s ranks—he rose from dishwasher, to scooper, to ice-cream maker, to manager—he was awe-struck by the way ice cream seemed to make people feel happy. From that point on, he knew that he wanted to continue to share that joy with others and that the best way to do it, was to own his own ice cream shop. He perfected his from-scratch ice cream recipe before opening J.P. Licks, named for Jamaica Plain, the neighborhood where he opened his first location. The flavors were immediately a hit and continue to win loyal fans for their intensity and ingenuity––at any given time, guests might find cake batter and chocolate peanut butter ripple on the menu, alongside unusual flavors like tomato basil or beer and pretzels. Since those early days, Vince has also added from-scratch hard and soft frozen yogurts, sherberts, and sorbets. He has even been known to develop flavors to suit the tastes of the area's different ethnic groups, and dairy-free ice creams to provide relief to the area's overworked cows. Beyond serving traditional cones, Petryk and his staff also pack chilly scoops into house-made cakes and pies, blend them into shakes, and transform them into decadent sundaes topped with homemade hot fudge or butterscotch. The icy treats have proved so popular, J.P. Licks now has 10 area stores, leaving them ample wall space for awards: readers of The Phoenix voted it the city’s best ice cream parlor in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
After emigrating from Hong Kong to Cambridge in 1978, Hon Pui and Carol Chan began waiting and bussing tables at two local Chinese restaurants, hoping to save enough money to pay for Pui’s college education. Within five years, the couple—thanks to Pui’s unofficial apprenticeship with chef Joyce Chen—managed to open their very own Chinese restaurant, The Wok. Fast-forward more than three decades, and The Wok continues to thrive in Wellesley, sating tastes for Szechuan, Hunan, and Hong Kong cuisine. The Chans make everything to order, from the ginger chicken to the lobster moo shi, and never use MSG or trans fat. Even better, they seal in flavors and retain the crispness of fresh produce by tossing meals in a traditional (and extra-hot) wok. Though The Wok offers both a comfortable and casual dining room and bar, customers can arrange to pick up their food or have it delivered.
You can grab a slice of quiche and a glass of wine at Susu Bakery Boutique, but the real specialty here is dessert. Coffee complements flaky croissants, frosting-heaped cupcakes, and decorated butter cookies cut into fun shapes. Lemon tea cakes pair well with the bakery's tea list, and brownies make for delicious follow ups to sandwiches. Bakers will even aim their talents toward custom cakes for parties, And customers wanting to learn how to decorate desserts themselves need only enroll in one of the bakery's cupcake classes.
Over at the boutique, colorful candy buttons and penny candy share shelf space with rock candy. Sea salt glitters atop caramels, and truffles blend chocolate and raspberry flavors. You can even pick up a bag of granola.
Local artists and spouses Denise Girardin and Steve Levinsky are the brains behind Palettes, a studio that aims to awaken the creative side of the community with painting's jubilant anthem. The couple's artistic endeavors stretch far beyond Palettes, though—Steve plumbs the depths of fire to find glass art, and Denise designs unique pottery inspired by the ocean and the seahorses that ride off into the sunset every evening. In addition, they are so involved in local affairs that Natick Center Associates selected them as the recipients of the 2012 Heart of the Community Award.
A row of easels dominates Palettes' roomy space during classes and open sessions, in which students re-create works of art while snacking on menu items such as asian-noodle salad and sweet-potato chips. Herb-, spice-, and fruit-infused potions flood the Water Bar, whose imported and house-made waters are perfect for making toasts to the art instructors for offering such helpfully Latin-free guidance. Palettes' people also teach students how to develop their taste buds during Waters of the World Club educational lectures, which lead to the studio's signature H2Ommelier certification.
Feng Shui embraces the culinary traditions of both China and Japan while updating its menu seasonally, garnering praise from the Boston Business Journal and New England Cable News for its extensive selection. Stir-fried orders of chicken, beef, and seafood arrive laden with ginger or signature sauces, and sushi chefs roll maki with traditional tuna and salmon or such innovative combinations as strawberry and wasabi aioli. Other menu items includes creamy crispy deep-fried jumbo shrimp with coconut sauce and spicy orders of Mala chicken, as well as signature sushi rolls like red sox maki and tempura lobster.