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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. 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.
  2. Chefs working with World Central Kitchen prepared 5,000 ham and cheese sandwiches to deliver Thursday to the Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Ian.
  3. Mapo tofu is served at Flaming Mountain, a new Chinese restaurant and skewer bar in Tampa.
  4. 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.
  5. Red Mesa Mercado, at 1100 First Ave. N, is opening a second location in west St. Petersburg, inside the old Two Graces spot.
  6. Kosen, a new high-end Japanese omakase restaurant, will open in Tampa Heights this winter.
  7. 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.
  8. 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]
  9. Two Graces in St. Petersburg is being sold to new owners and has closed.
  10. A Connecticut-style lobster roll, dressed in warm butter, is served at Lucky Lobster Co. in Dunedin.
  11. St. Petersburg's Baum Ave Market has closed and a boutique hotel is now planed for the space at 1113 Central Ave.
  12. The Salty Donut is opening two locations in Tampa in early 2023 — one in Hyde Park Village and one in Seminole Heights.
  13. A tuna steak is served at Sol St. Pete Bistro, a new farm-to-table restaurant in St. Petersburg's Warehouse Arts District.
  14. Backfin Blue Cafe in Gulfport has closed.
  15. Ash, a new Italian-inspired restaurant from chef Ferrell Alvarez and Proper House Group, will open in spring 2023 at Water Street Tampa.
  16. Afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms are expected Monday. The chance of rain dips to 40% by the time most of the area's Fourth of July fireworks shows begin around 9 p.m.
  17. The main entrance to The Michelin Guide restaurant star ratings reveal seen at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, in Orlando on Thursday, June 9, 2022.
  18. Ferrell Alvarez, right, awaits the Michelin announcements Thursday in Orlando.
  19. A Gorgonzola salad is served at Bonu' Taverna, a new Italian restaurant in St. Petersburg.
  20. Good Fortune, a new Asian fusion restaurant, will open on the ground floor of the Station House in downtown St. Petersburg this summer.
  21. Where's Jubes, a new Australian brewpub and restaurant, opens Thursday in downtown St. Petersburg.
  22. Krate at the Grove, a Wesley Chapel shopping park made of shipping containers, will celebrate a grand opening June 4.
  23. A surf and turf burger is served at The Helm, a new seafood market and restaurant in St. Pete Beach.
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