A visit to Bananas Records in St. Pete is how I love escape the world for a few hours. Go back to a simpler time when that sound of the needle hitting a record was everything!

In the fast-paced, always busy world of 2023, it’s so easy to just grab your phone. With a few taps, you can get a few gadgets shipped to your doorstep. Poof! Your Christmas shopping is finished.

Especially this time of year, shopping local and supporting your neighbor is so important. It’s not always as easy and convenient as opening your Amazon app. However the money spent locally goes so much further when it stays right here in Florida.

Now being the station’s “fat guy food” lover, my list is going to be heavily (pun intended) focused on my favorite locally-owned restaurants. But I’ll throw a few things in there that won’t pack on the holiday pounds too. But let’s be honest. It’s mostly gonna be food.

  • Wine and Cheese from Mazzaro's Italian Market in St. Pete

    Mazzaro's Need a gift for the wine lover? When I first moved to the Tampa area, it was when I first walked into Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete that I found my forever home. I hate snow and cold, but back home in New England, great Italian markets, pizza and pasta are easy to find. Here in Florida… not so much. So I love wandering around Mazzaro’s. Sure it’s always overcrowded with fellow former northerners like me. The wait for your sub can take forever. But it’s always worth the wait and stress when you get home and unpack all those amazing finds. The #20 Hot Italian sub is my usual go to. Then there’s always a stop at the bakery for some fresh bread and a dessert. But for gift giving, you have a world of choices… literally… in the wine and cheese section.

    Link to buy a gift card, from $25 to $200: https://mazzarosmarket.com/product/mazzaros-italian-market-gift-card/

  • Classic Vinyl From Bananas Records


    Ever been to Bananas Records in St. Pete across from Mazzaro’s? They have tens of thousands of albums … and record players if you ditched yours years ago.

    Need a gift for someone who misses music videos on MTV? You don’t to drive far to get to my next pick.  In fact you don’t have to drive at all.  Right across the street from Mazzaro’s Italian Market is Bananas Records.  They’ve been around almost as long as me.  They opened in St. Pete in 1977 and still have that ENORMOUS selection of vinyl.  You may have moved on to CDs and MP3s, but Bananas is still the spot for lovers of that classic sound of a needle hitting the record.  Bananas boats having the largest collection of vinyl in the world.

    Take a look around: https://myq105.com/galleries/looking-around-at-banana-records-in-st-pete/
    Buy a gift card from $25 to $100: https://bananasrecords.com/shop/gift-cards/

  • A Concert or Classic Movie at Tampa Theatre

    Tampa Theatre


    Need a gift for the movie buff? Every Halloween, Tampa Theatre busts out a fun lineup of classic horror films.  Then in December, they do it again with fun Christmas movies.  Being in that classic setting really hits though at Halloween.  The organ plays as the lights are dimmed.  And of course the theatre is well known to be haunted.  But Tampa Theatre has live performances too, from comedians to bands.  So your gift card recipient can decide what they’d like to see.

    Gift cards: https://tampatheatre.org/gift-guide/gift-card/

  • The Best Pizza in Florida at Cristino's Coal Oven Pizza


    Hands down the best pizza in Florida. It’s been nationally-ranked and for good reason. I’m sure all the pies are good but I stick with the same one every time. That’s the Margarita with extra sauce – the only way to do it. Simple but the kind of pizza that’ll make your eyes roll to the back of your head after the first bite. And second. And third.

    Need a gift for the pizza lover? As much as I hate doing the drive all the way over to Clearwater… fighting that traffic on Highway 19, dodging all the tourists visiting Clearwater Beach… it’s always worth it when I take that first bite of one of Cristino’s Margarita pizzas (with extra sauce… that’s key).  The first time I tried Cristino’s pizza I had already booked a visit to New York City the following week.  And when you go to NYC, you eat pizza.  It’s just what you do.  The pizza at Cristino’s was so good that I didn’t even seek out any when I was in Manhattan.

    I’m kind of breaking my rule in this post because unfortunately Cristino’s doesn’t sell gift cards online.  You’ll have to stop by the restaurant itself.  But reward yourself for that effort with one of those Margarita pizzas.  With extra sauce.  Don’t forget that part.

    More great pizza picks: https://myq105.com/2022/02/09/genos-10-favorite-tampa-area-pizzas/

  • The Best Bacon in Tampa at Council Oak

    Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

    Need a gift that’ll impress? Sending someone for a meal at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will definitely be appreciated. Sure the steaks are what make the place famous. But have you ever had their bacon? It’s not that stuff from Oscar Mayer you find at a Publix BOGO. It’s massive. It’s juicy. It’s heavenly. It will seduce the most vegetarian of vegetarians.

    Link to the Hard Rock gift cards: https://www.seminolehardrocktampa.com/gift-cards

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