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A Wine and Yoga Retreat in Umbria…

In this issue: New York, Umbria, Boston, the Dominican Republic….

Drink: A New York pastry chef turns to mixology
Pastry genius Sam Mason got a lot of attention for his avant-garde creations when he was at New York City’s WD-50, and now he’s in the spotlight again with the July arrival of Tailor, his Soho dessert and cocktail emporium. While the emphasis might be on his sweet and salty small plates, the equally inventive spirits shouldn’t be overlooked. Mason enlisted mixologist Eben Freeman to whip up $8 glasses of hand-crafted root beer rye, lemon-balm rum, and pumpernickel raisin scotch. Savor yours straight up, sans mixers, in one of the comfy tobacco-brown leather chairs.

Eat: Boston’s post-shopping porterhouse
Those poor shoppers. When Restaurant L closed its doors in high-end clothing store Louis Boston three months ago, they had to make do without beloved chef Pino Maffeo’s food. Now their patience is being rewarded with Boston Public Meat (234 Berkeley Street), a sensuous dining room with arched windows and chocolate brown walls. Although the menu celebrates Boston’s affinity for fresh seafood, the emphasis is on meat, like a Kobe beef burger with cinnamon pickles, and a broiled Prime Angus filet with “Colossal Fries.” As if you needed another excuse to go shopping.

Stay: Luxe seclusion in D.R.
If the thought of whiling away a few nights in the Dominican Republic shacked up in a soulless all-inclusive property is too much to bear, the just-opened Agua Resort & Spa, in Punta Cana, comes to the rescue. Tucked away on a private white sand beach, the 18 villas with quaint thatched-reef roofs feature 53 posh suites decked out in warm local woods. The bathrooms are huge and there’s a 24-hour butler. Bathtub daiquiris, anyone? Room rates start at $350.

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Shop: A shoe addict’s refuge in LA
Beth Whiffen was surrounded by fashionistas when she was features editor at Cosmopolitan. Now, to cater to their stylish footwear habits, she’s opened Il Primo Passo, an airy upscale shoe boutique in Santa Monica. The 80 different pairs on display include Barbara Bui’s disco-esque Lucite wedges with black half d’Orsay suede, and sexy, wraparound high-heeled sandals from Pucci. Whiffen doesn’t mind if you stay a while to play dress up; she’ll even make you an organic Italian espresso while you strut across the eco-friendly maple floor. Prices start at $150.

Play: Stretch and sip in Umbria
While some yogis wag their fingers at tippling, yoga instructors Angela Gargano and David Romanelli like to unwind with a glass or two after getting off the mat. Under the aegis of Bliss, Flow Yoga, the agile twosome has put together a series of yoga and wine retreats that includes a 7-day, 6-night sojourn in Umbria, in the village of San Martino del Campo. Mornings are devoted to yoga, but the rest of the day is packed with vineyards, cheese, and chocolate. The retreat, starting October 15, is $2,999 and includes lodging, meals, classes, tours, and airport transfers.

Made-to-Order: Gourmet sugar fix in San Francisco
Tasted one cupcake you’ve tasted ’em all, right? How about a chocolate one filled with caramel and sprinkled with fleur de sel? Now that’s something worth sinking your teeth into. Kara’s Cupcakes, a favorite in San Francisco’s Marina district, has just opened a second outpost in busy Ghirardelli Square. Kara Lind uses plenty of organic fruits and farm-fresh eggs to make her high-end confections. The result is $3 exotic cupcakes stuffed with passion-fruit curd or topped with Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and laid out in the glass case as seductively as pearls.

Alia Akkam

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