What Price Luxury?

By The Improper Staff

Money is always an object. You can spend a lot or very little for these luxe experiences, ranging from $10 to $1 million.

$10, Foie Gras con Hijos

by Linh Tran Brincat

Banned in California, where you can get medical marijuana with a doctor’s note, foie gras is decadence epitomized. Splurge on Toro’s foie gras pincho, and you’ll get a meaty slab of plancha-seared duck liver atop toast spread with house-made fig jam comprising both fresh and dried Black Mission varieties. The entire ode to excess is sprinkled with crunchy candied walnuts, chives, fried garlic and sea salt for a savory kick.

Toro | 1704 Washington St., Boston | 617-536-4300 | toro-restaurant.com

$20, Mass. Lotto ticket

by Nick Altschuller

On the surface, springing for a top-row ticket is the proletarian version of lighting a cigar with a $100 bill. And the surface of the scratch card is the critical element of the ritual, as there’s a world of possibility beneath the latex finish. Between the purchase and the reveal, you’re not throwing money away: You’re challenging fate, super-charging a daydream. Coin in hand, it’s a test of faith that leads even a staunch atheist to consider the possibility of a higher power. When the veneer is finally shed and hope is gone (and it will be), don’t despair for the cash you wasted. Appreciate the value in having undergone a cheap reality check.

$25, Manicure

by Hannah Lott-Schwartz

The manicure at G2O Spa + Salon is your typical scrub, lotion, massage and polish affair. But the treatment comes with full use of the deluxe spa amenities, including the roof deck, fireside lounge, steam rooms, skylight hot tub and “brine inhalation room,” complete with three cascading tiers of saltwater (or the real-life version of those nature noises that lull you to sleep every night). It’s a very small price to pay for a mani, along with so much more.

G2O Spa + Salon | 278 Newbury St., Boston | 617-262-2220 | g2ospasalon.com

$46, Mozzarella with king crab paired with two glasses of Chateau Bargemone, 2011

by Andrew Rimas

Pull up a seat at chef Lydia Shire’s mozzarella bar at Scampo, and you can indulge in her famously unctuous, house-made offerings, or burrata and low-cholesterol quark. But to experience the full culinary vim of the kitchen, share a plate of the bufala mozzarella topped with sliced avocados, buttered king crab meat, wasabi aioli and herbed olive-and-tomato oil. Blending the creaminess of the bufala and avocado is inspired; marrying them to the rich snap of the crab claw is art. Match it with the dry, berry aromas of the rosé for an array of textures and flavors worth a much higher price tag.

Scampo | The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St., Boston | 617-536-2100 | scampoboston.com

$115, Boxing class

by Hannah Sheinberg

When it comes to boxing, Boston comes out swinging. We’ve got fighting Irish tattoos that peek out under our sleeves, Lowell native Micky Ward (plus his Golden Globe–nominated counterpart, Mark Wahlberg) and self-proclaimed townies who give a whole other definition to the phrase “lights out.” For those looking to hone their uppercut, or even to learn what one is, check out the private classes at the Ring Boxing Club, where students can learn the ropes to a different type of all-body workout (it burns an average of 900 calories per class, even without a crazed Christian Bale running around). Tommy McInerney, who trains athletes like the Bruins’ Shawn Thornton, is one of six coaches available for a one-on-one lesson. A disclaimer: He starts you off with three straight minutes of rope jumping. As a reward, he patiently teaches you punching techniques, including hand and leg placement. Then, after donning gloves, you head to the ring for some pad work, where, even though you may look ridiculous, you’ll feel like you deserve a championship belt. The lesson ends with a brief and exhausting match with a punching bag. Now you won’t just roll with the punches anymore. You’ll strike back.

The Ring Boxing Club | 971 Comm. Ave., Boston | 617-782-6946 | ringboxingclub.com

$200, Whole USDA prime tenderloin

by Andrew Rimas

Nothing connotes luxury like a filet mignon big enough to feed a discerning puma. Weighing in at four to five pounds, the grandest and tenderest piece of a cow is usually described as “buttery,” but considering its cost at $40 per pound, a more apt adjective is exclusive. Ideally marbled and ready for the grill, serve it as chateaubriand with a demi-glace and reduction of white wine, shallots, butter, tarragon and lemon. Then die happy.

Savenor’s Market | 160 Charles St., Boston | 617-723-6328 | savenorsmarket.com

$240, EH Chocolatier Community Supported Chocolate (CSC), biweekly full season

by Hannah Lott-Schwartz

Fresh veggies from local farms are a great staple, but for true luxury, invest in a consistent supply of equally fresh, gourmet chocolates. Supplied every two weeks by local artisans EHChocolatier, pick up your box of surprise confections and wait for that extra-dark (or milk, we don’t judge) serotonin-booster to kick in.

EHChocolatier | multiple pickup locations | 617-284-6096 | ehchocolatier.com

$290, Glassblowing 101: Make Your Own Drinking Glass

by Nick Altschuller

You may not enjoy the wealth of Andrew Carnegie, but you can apply his tenets of vertical integration to your drinking habits. Sheath yourself in Kevlar sleeves and fabricate your own chalice during a two-day seminar at Diablo Glass. Like Vulcan meets Dean Martin, you can stand before the 2300°F glory hole and shape a tumbler worthy of your standing.

Diablo Glass School | 123 Terrace St., Boston | 617-442-7444 | diabloglassschool.com

$495, “Road to Romance” package at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston

by Hannah Sheinberg

For a vacation in the fast lane, couples can take the Four Seasons’ new weekend package for a spin. The upgrade (which doesn’t include the cost of accommodations) lets lovebirds test-drive a Porsche Panamera, followed by in-room martinis customized by a mixologist, a wine tasting in the Bristol Lounge and breakfast in bed. Buckle up.

Four Seasons Hotel Boston | 200 Boylston St., Boston | 617-338-4400 | fourseasons.com

$1,170, (weekdays) “Mandarin Suite Experience” at the Mandarin Oriental Boston, four hours

by Hannah Sheinberg

Fast cars and cocktails are fun, but a romance doesn’t thrive on mere flash. For an investment in quality time, book the 700-foot Mandarin Suite at the spa at the Mandarin Oriental. Orchids, splashing water, wood and marble polished to a mirror sheen—the atmosphere in this idyllic den is more seductive than a year’s worth of sunsets on the beach. The package includes nearly three hours of side-by-side signature spa treatments or “Time Rituals,” plus an hour’s loafing in inviolable, pampered privacy. There’s even a fruit platter to reinvigorate you and your partner after your massage has smoothed your tensions into oblivion.

Mandarin Oriental Boston | 776 Boylston St., Boston | 617-535-8888 | mandarinoriental.com/boston

$4,500, Bottle service with Louis XIII

by Nick Altschuller

Why repeatedly ask for three fingers of a spirit when you can have the whole bottle? But why fill your own snifter? That dancing bartender hasn’t dolled herself up for nothing, after all. Many play with the façade of status, but few spend four figures on 750 ml. Flaunt how the One Percent go 80 proof by ordering your personal “King of Cognacs,” Louis XIII de Rémy Martin. Even empty, the bottle is worth more than an unopened case of Grey Goose. And, since you’re legally not allowed to pour it yourself, a personal server is provided, along with cocktail napkins.

Gem Restaurant and Lounge | 42 Province St., Boston | 617-482-1213 | gemboston.com

$15,000, Rent the Franklin Park Zoo for a night

by Hannah Lott-Schwartz

Tired of the same Friday bar scene? What would Ace Ventura do? Prove yourself a true party animal by renting out the entire Franklin Park Zoo. The price includes up-close encounters with your choice of anything from a chinchilla to a skunk. Plus, zoo staff will help you plan any sort of soiree you can imagine, from disco to carnival to Lion King–themed.

Franklin Park Zoo | 1 Franklin Park Road, Boston | 617-541-5466 | zoonewengland.org

$1,000,000, Super-crazy private party at Bond

by Hannah Lott-Schwartz

For a seven-figure handshake, guest services will bar-block the crowd at Bond for an extravaganza for you and 200 of your besties, complete with a big-name DJ (David Guetta or Tiësto, anyone?), trapeze artists and all three Kardashian sisters—because one Kardashian, even Kim, simply won’t do. Whet your appetites with 200 ounces of Petrossian caviar and 500 sliders before swilling down 300 bottles of Krug Clos du Mesnil 1990 Champagne, Last Drop Scotch and 1800 Colección Añejo tequila. Since partying like rock stars leaves your guests in no shape to drive, you also get 100 luxe hotel rooms. But keep the Langham presidential suite for yourself.

Bond | The Langham Hotel, 250 Franklin St., Boston | 617-956-8765 | boston.langhamhotels.com

This article originally appeared in the October 31, 2012, issue of The Improper Bostonian.