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. Blue crabs are seasoned and steamed for ten minutes at the Key West Seafood Company, Gulfport,  Wednesday, October 2, 2019.
    Not sure where to start? Go from market to table with guidance from local sellers.
  2. CJ Hnilica, manager of Key West Seafood Company, Gulfport, sorts through a box of fresh blue crabs, Wednesday, October 2, 2019. The crabs were steamed for customers.
    Here’s what you need to know about Florida’s other crab.
  3. The Vaca Frita Tostones at M.Bird.
    As cooler weather nears, a look at two of Armature Works’ outdoor food and drink spots. | Restaurant review
  4. Baba recently opened at 2701 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg.
    The couple that brought Bodega to Tampa Bay has a new concept. | Restaurant review
  5. 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.
  6. Natural wines at Cru Cellars in Tampa.
    New to the growing trend? Start with these wines.
  7. 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
  8. A chicken tender platter at King of the Coop.
    Fiery chicken and Southern sides highlight the new Florida Avenue restaurant.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.