BEST INTEGRATED ENTERTAINMENT SPOT
As far as I know, it's the only one. It's 50-50, maybe 40-60 on the weekends. It's the only place in my adult life that I've experienced hanging out with people who have the opposite of the see-through skin that I have. Everybody gets along; everybody's respectful. I can actually sit in a movie theater next to a black person.
BayWalk, 151 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg.
Nicholette Stephens at JCon
She's like 15 years old and Bahamian and has this beautiful, lyrical accent. She doesn't give me TV haircuts at all. There's no chinstrap. There's no tag hanging out. She doesn't watch me on TV or hear me on the radio. I just say to her, "What do you wanna do?" This is the shortest my hair's been since junior high school. According to Nic, it has a lotta layers. It's messy-fun-sexy. The JBF look.
JCon Salon & Spa, 5811 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-525-9119.
BEST COFFEE PLACE
I just love it. We take our Scrabble and Boggle games. Boggle rocks. It's got a dumb name, but it rocks. After we go to see a movie, it's fun to go to the Globe, get jacked up [on caffeine] and then I'm awake enough to watch Saturday Night Live. They've got vinyl there; tattooed kids come in on roller blades. It's just great.
The Globe, 532 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-898-5282.
BEST PLACE TO GET MEAT
George's Meat Market
George's Meat Market is the shit. If there's such a thing as pretty raw meat, they've got it. I could never be a vegetarian because of George's. I walk in the place and my fangs grow. Gimme a slab of that red, lean, pretty stuff so I can throw it on the grill.
George's Meat Market, 4611 Haines Road N., St. Petersburg, 727-525-4600.
BEST SERVICE IN A RESTAURANT
The Palm Restaurant
It's a steak and lobster place. There's no music; the ambience is people talking. It's a fairly high-ticket menu, but the approach to service is real personal and not stuffy at all. You don't have to get dressed up to go there. They know your name and they know how you take your coffee. They're all over you — just making people happy. I love people who love doing excellent work.
The Palm Restaurant, 205 Westshore Plaza, Tampa, 813-849-7256.
BEST DISH IN A RESTAURANT
Larb Gai at Thai Am
It's hot and spicy. There's ground chicken with cilantro, onions, Thai pepper and lime juice, served with fresh cabbage. You roll it up and stuff it in your face. It'll make your tongue feel like beef jerky. Medium hot is for sissies.
Thai Am, 6040 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-522-7813.
BEST GARDEN SHOP
Gulf Coast Garden Center
When you get to know them, you'll feel as though your feet are growing roots in the place. They get to know your house and your personality and the stuff that you can easily kill. They won't sell me things I can kill.
Gulf Coast Garden Center, 4355 Haines Road N., St. Petersburg, 727-522-3074.
Lifestyles Family Fitness
I'm doing their commercials, but I'm doing the commercials 'cause I like the place. I've got a trainer now. I think it's working. I don't look icky or anything, do I?
Lifestyles Family Fitness, 5900 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-521-1500.
BEST NAIL TECH
Cheryl at Janet Mittendorf's
That girl can put on a full set in 40 minutes and leave me time to scratch them on something.
Janet Mittendorf's, 8850 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-577-0980.
BEST RADIO PERSONALITY
Chris Thomas, WDAE-620 AM, "The Sports Animal"
He's just naturally good at the medium. He fills up every corner of the radio room. He's smart and funny. And he does a ton of fart jokes. You know why? Farts are funny.
BEST NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST
Gina Vivinetto, St. Petersburg Times pop music critic
She loves music. She is a Rolling Stone-quality writer, whose personal music collection is weirder than mine. She's one of my first stops in the paper.
BEST LOCAL BAND
Bogus Pomp [a Frank Zappa tribute band]
I really didn't know about Zappa before, but now I listen to him all the time. [Nancy's husband, Ward Smith, is a fanatic.] The music really is complex and amazing and original and irreverent and scoffs at every convention. And Bogus Pomp lives up to it in every way. That means my favorite local axe man has to be [Bogus Pomp guitarist] Jerry Outlaw. He's a virtuoso.
Did you know that if Jose Gaspar had invaded Pass-a-grille, every year we'd be celebrating Pass-a-Gasparilla?
BEST BUCS PLAYER
He is very gracious to me. Even when he's being pounded by all the sports [reporters] in a cluster situation, he has always made himself available to do an "Out There" appearance. I think John Lynch is a Hall-of-Famer. I think Sapp's got game, but he's so different to local media than on national stuff. One time, I was doing a [Ch. 13] piece on the person who does the team's laundry. Sapp walked into the laundry room and I didn't quite know what to do. On the one hand, I didn't want to play down that he was there, but on the other hand I didn't want to be intrusive, 'cause I wasn't there to do something on him. The last thing he said before he walked out of the room was some inside joke where he said the words "cock" and "balls." What was that? God, I guess he was pissed that I wasn't talking about him.
I'm a feminist, but not in the traditional sense. I'm a bitter broad. N.O.W., I don't think they represent any real women. I want the same kind of wonderful things from my life that men want from theirs. If men don't get that, it makes my head pop off. Sex in the City pisses me off. I love the fact that they're sexually aggressive. I think about sex all the time. I scoot my butt around on the carpet. But last season when Miranda had the baby, the other cast members were treating it like it was some kind of alien creature. And I was offended by that because what they're saying is you can't be aggressive and successful and do what your body's made for, and that is to be a nurturer and to create life. That's offensive to me.
BEST "HEY I KNOW YOU" LINE
"Girl, you crazy!"
People come up and say that to me often — and it usually comes with a hug — to which I reply "It's a living."
BEST PLACE TO CONCEIVE
St. Pete Beach
Tan lines and an SUV. 'Nuff said.