1. Food

Life of the Party podcast: 20 questions for a food critic

MONICA HERNDON   |   TimesHelen Freund, Tampa Bay Times food critic, posed for a portrait on July 3, 2019 at The Library in St. Petersburg, Florida.
MONICA HERNDON | TimesHelen Freund, Tampa Bay Times food critic, posed for a portrait on July 3, 2019 at The Library in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Published Jul. 10, 2019

Thin crust or thick? Is truffle oil an indulgence or a disaster? And once and for all — is a hot dog a sandwich?

We lovingly extract these vital bits of culinary information out of Helen Freund, the new food critic at the Tampa Bay Times. Play 20 questions with us on this week's Life of the Party podcast, as Helen recounts her most memorable meals, offers advice for first date food and confesses her shame-iest shame foods for midnight TV.

RELATED: Our new food critic dishes on why food matters to her

Plus, we unpack the perils of the music industry in the wake of the Scooter Braun/Taylor Swift battle, explore Aziz Ansari's return to comedy and offer some very fun facts about The Little Mermaid. You won't want to miss the singing on this episode, folks.

Listen with the players on this page or subscribe for free on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.


  1. New Orleans-based Dat Dog offers exotic sausages like alligator, duck and crawfish, along with multiple vegan options and more than 30 toppings. The chain is seeking franchisees to bring a location to Tampa Bay.
  2. The Cheesecake Factory will bring an iconic selection of more than 50 cheesecakes and desserts to Clearwater mall Westfield Countryside this year.
  3. The Shamrock Shake returns to stores nationwide today for the first time since 2017 as McDonald’s celebrates the 50th anniversary of the mint-flavored treat.
  4. Expect to see lots of traditional Mardi Gras masks like this during the annual Mardi Gras parade in downtown Dunedin on Feb. 22.
  5. After nearly four decades of operating a restaurant on Fourth Avenue in Ybor City, Cephas Gilbert has a new location. He now runs a juice hut inside Tequilas Ybor in Tampa.
  6. The Tampa Bay Jewish Food Festival, which will return to Temple B'nai Israel in Clearwater on Sunday, has featured desserts like mini linzer tarts in the past.
  7. Yesterday• Arts & Entertainment
    Plant City's Fancy Farms off County Line Road will host its annual U-pick event on Feb. 22.
  8. Blue crab chilau at West Ybor Barterhouse.
  9. Johnson Barbeque's brisket berry tacos, served as part of Florida Strawberry Restaurant Month this year.
  10. Meatballs with fennel and lentils
  11. Strawberry chocolate tea cakes
  12. Mary Margaret's Olde Irish Tavern co-owner Pete Boland poses with photos of his family that will hang in the new St. Petersburg pub. He's holding a portrait of his late grandmother Mary Margaret Prescott, whom the bar is named after.