Helen Freund - Times Food Critic

Times Food 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. A natural wine (Bianco di Ampeleia, 2017, from Italy) is poured at Cru Cellars in Tampa.
    From pét-nats to skin-contact whites, natural wines are popping up at restaurants, coffee shops and wine bars across the bay.
  2. Natural wines at Cru Cellars in Tampa.
    New to the growing trend? Start with these wines.
  3. Chicken cacciatore with a side of rainbow cauliflower at FarmTable Cucina.
    Chef James Kirby’s refined Italian dishes lean heavily on vegetables and seafood. | Restaurant review
  4. A chicken tender platter at King of the Coop.
    Fiery chicken and Southern sides highlight the new Florida Avenue restaurant.
  5. The Land and Sea Burger, the Rope Vieja Grilled Cheese and the Pizza Box Nachos are some of the new food items debuting for the 2019 football season at Raymond James Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 in Tampa.
    Ropa vieja tacos, prime rib-topped nachos and cannoli cupcakes are all on the menu at Raymond James Stadium this season.
  6. At the Dewey in Pass-a-Grille, menu items include oysters, a guava mascarpone semifreddo Parfait, jumbo shrimp and grits, and cocktails.
    The Mise en Place team brings modern seaside cuisine to this part of St. Pete Beach.
  7. Fresh baked pastries are served at Pane Rustica Due, at Heights Public Market.
    A fast-casual salad bar concept and a Pane Rustica offshoot join the Tampa Heights food hall.
  8. A charcuterie and cheese palette is served at the new Appleseed Orchard Marketplace at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
    Here are some hit dishes - and a few to skip - at this year’s foodie fest.
  9. Cup & Char pizza at Forbici.
    Health-focused Italian fare anchors the new Hyde Park Village restaurant.
  10. Chefs Jason Ruhe of Brick & Mortar, left, and Rob Reinsmith of Noble Crust gather their ingredients as the clock strikes 12 during Il Ritorno's Midnight Chef Fight.
    A new event in St. Petersburg is part culinary competition, part late-night party.