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Helen Freund - Food and Dining Critic

Food and Dining Critic

I write about food and restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. When I’m not writing about food or restaurants I’m probably talking about food or restaurants, or, you know, actually eating food at restaurants. I was never a picky eater, and never had a chance to be: Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, saying ‘no’ to things like geoduck sashimi or fiddlehead fern pesto just wasn’t cool. Instead, I tried everything, and have ever since. I studied journalism at the University of Washington and cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I most recently was the restaurant critic and dining editor of Gambit Weekly in New Orleans - another place where people love to eat and drink. When I’m not eating, I’m probably scuba diving and tagging along with spearfishers, hoping they’ll spear some dinner for me.

  1. Ponte Modern American, from chef Chris Ponte, opened Nov. 30 at Midtown Tampa.
  2. Hales Blackbrick, a new modern Chinese restaurant from chef Richard Hales, is now open in Tampa.
  3. Wrapping paper from local maker Fox and Crow is $6 per roll at the new Daydream Shop and Makerspace in St. Petersburg.
  4. Los dueños Ryan Fouche, Aaron Schaub, y Coral Carrasquillo en su nuevo bar en Ybor City:  La Setima.
  5. "Good Morning America" kicked off its United States of Pie tour on Monday morning at Wish Farms in Plant City.
  6. Ryan Fouche, Aaron Schaub and Coral Carrasquillo will soon open La Setima, a new natural wine bar on the corner of E Seventh and Nebraska avenues in Ybor City.
  7. This weekend is the last day for Tampa Bay voters to cast their early ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
  8. A system off the east coast of Florida  could develop into a tropical storm by the middle of next week, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
  9. Reservations at several restaurants in Tampa Bay, including Bern's Steak House, have become increasingly hard to get. Some blame informal swapping sites and online bidding services, but insiders say the answer is more complicated.
  10. Employees of Tampa Bay Brewing Co. walked out over the weekend after the business's co-owner allegedly made disparaging comments about some of the staff.
  11. The bar Good Intentions, a new vegan restaurant in St. Petersburg, features a horseshoe-shaped bar with towering shelves stacked with lush plants, ceramics, glassware and books.
  12. Staff and volunteers working with the relief organization World Central Kitchen have delivered tens of thousands of meals to communities impacted by Hurricane Ian in the days following the storm.
  13. Chefs working with World Central Kitchen prepared 5,000 ham and cheese sandwiches to deliver Thursday to the Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Ian.
  14. Mapo tofu is served at Flaming Mountain, a new Chinese restaurant and skewer bar in Tampa.
  15. Red Mesa Mercado, en 1100 First Ave. N, está abriendo una segunda ubicación en el oeste de St. Petersburg, dentro del antiguo lugar Two Graces.
  16. Red Mesa Mercado, at 1100 First Ave. N, is opening a second location in west St. Petersburg, inside the old Two Graces spot.
  17. Kosen, a new high-end Japanese omakase restaurant, will open in Tampa Heights this winter.
  18. Allelo, a new restaurant from the team behind 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, will open next month in the building formerly home to Annata and Alto Mare.
  19. Dunedin's Bon Appetit is in the process of being sold to the group that runs Crabby Bill's restaurants. [Courtesy of Bon Appetit Restaurant]
  20. Two Graces in St. Petersburg is being sold to new owners and has closed.
  21. A Connecticut-style lobster roll, dressed in warm butter, is served at Lucky Lobster Co. in Dunedin.
  22. St. Petersburg's Baum Ave Market has closed and a boutique hotel is now planed for the space at 1113 Central Ave.
  23. The Salty Donut is opening two locations in Tampa in early 2023 — one in Hyde Park Village and one in Seminole Heights.
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