Local Gems: Coolidge Corner, Brookline

Goodness, it's been too long since I've shared a Local Gems feature! Today's Coolidge Corner recommendations come from my friend Sheri Gurock, mom of 3, co-founder of the award-winning toy/gear store Magic Beans, food blogger at Unbageled, and longtime Coolidge Corner dweller. Thanks for sharing these 12 local gems, Sheri! And be sure to check out the Arlington Center, Back BayBeacon Hill, Huron Village (Cambridge), Easton, Jamaica Plain, Lexington, Medford, Watertown, and Wellesley features!

1. Pear Tree. This lovely beading shop offers a huge variety of beads and tons of gorgeous example pieces to inspire you. It's a great place to visit on a rainy day with the kids, because everyone gets to be creative. One of my favorite necklaces is one my 6-year-old made for me here!

2. Eureka! It's impossible not to love this quirky game and puzzle shop, filled with all kinds of interesting products and staffed by people who love their goods and can make spot-on recommendations.

3. Knight Moves. Former Eureka! employee Devon Trevylan opened this board game cafe nearly a year ago. Gather with friends at his cozy space and choose from over 300 different board games. The cafe serves drinks and pastries, including some gluten-free options!

4. Tiny Hanger. Tiny Hanger owner Lucia has such fabulous taste and it shows in her appealing selection of clothing and gifts for babies and kids.

5. The Coolidge Theater. The Coolidge is widely accepted to be a great date-night venue, but did you know they also do a family-friendly show each weekend on either Saturday or Sunday morning? The programs are always low-key and high quality -- a great combination.

6. Brookline Booksmith. This charming locally owned bookstore is everything you'd hope for it to be and more. The selection is extensive, the staff is wonderful, and there is always an amazing schedule of authors coming to speak and sign. In the basement you'll find great deals on used books (you can also sell your used books to them), and they have a wonderful, quirky gift department, too.

7. Regal Beagle. It's always been tough to get a table at this tiny, delightful bistro, but now that executive chef Stacy Cogswell is a contestant on this season's Top Chef, it's a good idea to plan in advance if you want to come for dinner. The lunch menu is also wonderful, and they are kid-friendly.

8. Zaftig's. This iconic Coolidge Corner delicatessen is always swamped on weekends for brunch, but you can eat breakfast all day long at this very family-friendly establishment. The menu is wide-ranging and everything is tasty.

9. Rani Bistro. This Indian restaurant is really something special. The atmosphere is serene, and the menu is full of flavorful dishes with a wide range of choices for vegetarians and carnivores alike. The lunch buffet is a great deal, and before I went Paleo I loved their Dosa.

10. Paris Creperie. This hole-in-the-wall offers a dizzying array of delicious choices, from crepes to soups to smoothies. Need a meal? Grab a hearty savory crepe. Looking for a snack? Don't miss the strawberry Nutella crepe or the Nutella hot chocolate. They are set up to accommodate a range of dietary restrictions, too.

11. Party Favors. Since going GF/Paleo over a year ago, there are few things I miss as much as Party Favors cupcakes. They look as pretty as they taste, and they are always topped with a very generous amount of sweet buttercream. You can also find a wide range of party goods and even cake decorating supplies. They also offer occasional classes and birthday parties.

12. Rami's. This is an authentic Israeli dining experience. Come when it's busy and the line is likely to be disorganized, but that's part of the charm. The falafel is outstanding, crispy and bursting with flavor, served in a soft, warm pita nestled in homemade hummus. It's street food at its absolute best. Another food I miss terribly!

So awesome, right? Thanks again Sheri, for sharing your favorite picks. If you have other favorite Coolidge Corner gems, feel free to share in the comments below. And of course don't forget to pop in to Magic Beans if you're in Coolidge Corner! If you'd like to pen a Local Gems guest post, contact Christine at editor@bostonmamas.com to check on availability.

Image credits: all images via linked websites or associated Facebook pages.