Standard Education returns
Eastern Standard’s second installment of Standard Education, a day of interactive classes, tastings, and demos, lets fans of the popular Kenmore Square restaurant and bar learn what makes the place tick, from how the music is chosen to set the mood to how bartenders create an original cocktail. On Jan. 17, a full day of hourlong sessions kicks off at 11 a.m. with the pastry chef teaching techniques for making “Flawless French Macaroons” in the restaurant’s private-events kitchen in a hands-on, start-to-finish class. Other sessions include a wine class focused on scents alone (with a tasting, too!) and how to make custom punch bowls and batched cocktails to try at your next house party. Each class is $40. 617-532-9100, standardeducation2.eventbrite.com.
‘Top Chef’ honors top chef
Julia Child is one of the most renowned chefs ever to call the Boston area home. Bravo-TV’s “Top Chef,” which was filmed in Boston this season, spent one episode paying tribute to the famous chef. It was filmed at the Herb Lyceum at Gilson’s Farm in Groton, where the cheftestants, along with notable female chefs from Boston, Jacques Pepin, and the judges met for that week’s challenge. To coincide with the episode, which airs Jan. 7, the Lyceum is hosting a viewing party dinner, with Puritan & Co. chef/owner Will Gilson (he’s the son of Herb Lyceum owner David Gilson) cooking some of Child’s favorite dishes. Guests can look forward to chicken liver mousse, vichyssoise with black truffle and chives, and roasted chicken and coq au vin. After dinner, it will be time for the show. Tickets are $75. BYOB. 978-448-6499, www.gilsonslyceum.com
Calling all Patriots fans
In a rare opportunity to spend time with Patriots Super Bowl champions, Hall of Famers and other favorites, Celebrity Cruises is hosting a 2015 New England Patriots Fan Cruise, which sets sail on March 15 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on a seven-day cruise. Among the big names: Troy Brown, Patriots Hall of Fame wide receiver/returner and three-time Super Bowl champion; Steve Nelson, Patriots Hall of Fame linebacker; Kevin Faulk, three-time Super Bowl champion running back/returner; and Joe Andruzzi, three-time Super Bowl guard. Patriots fans will get the chance to meet and greet each of the Patriots greats as they sail through the Caribbean. Special events planned include a “Best Dressed Fan Contest,” karaoke nights, a pool party, and volleyball games. Only fans booked through the Patriots group will be able to take part in the exclusive events. www.celebritycruises.com/BOS
The Grand Amore Hotel and Spa in Florence, which officially opened on Jan. 1, takes guest services to a whole new level. Before even checking in, guests are asked to fill out a questionnaire about their preferences, from their favorite flowers to their nightcap of choice and even how firm or soft they like their mattresses. Upon arrival at the 11-room boutique hotel, they’re then greeted with their own personalized mix of luxury and comforts, with preferences noted for future stays. The modern hotel features Italian-designed and -made furniture, bold colors, black-and-white vintage photographs, and a spa with a hammam. 39 005 219535. www.grandamorehotel.com
X marks the SPOT
It almost boggles the mind to think about what we did before apps. One of the latest to come online aims to connect owners of empty parking spaces with drivers looking for a space. Boston, with its notorious lack of parking options, was the natural place for SPOT, a Boston-based company, to launch its mobile application. Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco are slated to follow in 2015. It’s a pretty simple concept: SPOT matches owners of privately-owned parking spots with those looking for parking in a simple short-term, cashless-based partnership. Owners can list spots on their terms, from a few hours or a few weeks. Renters enter their credit card information one time for all future transactions, while owners receive payments through PayPal, Venmo, or direct deposit. www.parkeasier.com
There are a lot of options for tracking your fitness on the go, but the Intellitracker from retailer Title Nine is a cool little number that can track steps, calories, heart rate, and sleep, but that’s just the beginning. An almost invisible touch screen tells time and can notify you of texts, e-mails. and calls on a Bluetooth-compatible device. Ostensibly Title Nine is a women’s shop, but this smart-band device, black on the outside and red on the inside, works for anyone. There’s a “Judgment Bar,” which vibrates if you haven’t moved in an hour, as a reminder to get up and do something active. It’s even waterproof. $170. 800-609-0092, www.titlenine.comKim Foley MacKinnon can be reached at email@example.com.