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Boston's Best Local Secrets 2012

Boston’s Best Local Secrets 2012
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BEST RISING STARS
Berklee Performance Center, Boston
Berklee College of Music student shows run the gamut from recitals to musical revues. Pay a pittance now to see the up-and-coming talent, or pay a small fortune to see them later at a stadium near you. Tickets: from $8. 136 Massachusetts Ave. 617-747-2261 (box office); berkleebpc.com

BEST LOCAL DESIGN
Massart Made, Boston
Massachusetts College of Art & Design is a beehive of creativity, and this small shop serves as a showcase for alumni and faculty: jewelry, accessories, household design and decor, children’s books, T-shirts, and much more. 625 Huntington Ave. 617-879-7407; massartmade.com

BEST INDULGENCE
Taza Chocolate Factory Store, Somerville
This small shop carries the full line of Taza’s stone-ground organic chocolate, complete with generous samples. Reserve ahead for an hour-long tour that explains the entire process, from roasting to grinding to the final bar. Trial flavors sometimes offered. Tour: $5. 561 Windsor St. 617-623-0804; tazachocolate.com

BEST BLEU-PLATE SPECIAL
Technique, Cambridge
The laboratory restaurant for the Cambridge branch of the French cooking school Le Cordon Bleu offers three-course dinners for $10, four-course dinners for $15. Service can be slightly halting, but the food is terrific. Wine is extra, but reasonable. 215 First St. 617-218-8088; techniquerestaurant.com

BEST TOUR & DUMPLINGS
Boston Chinatown Market Tour, Boston
Tour guide Jim Becker speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese and has a long history as a chef and restaurateur. His enthusiasm for Chinese food is infectious. Learn to differentiate galangal root from ginger; figure out how to use dried shrimp; discern the differences among several Chinese greens. The 150-minute tour is followed by a dim-sum lunch. Cost: $65. 617-523-6032; bostonfoodtours.com/chinatown

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