Laura Reiley, Food Critic

Laura Reiley

Food Critic

I’ve been the Tampa Bay Times food critic since 2007 and I wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle and Baltimore Sun before that. I’ve always thought food is a compelling lens because it elicits passion in just about everyone, a central part of nearly every human endeavor (try celebrating a holiday, grieving or dating without it). There is nothing I don’t eat. I dine out nearly 200 times each year (and get food poisoning at least a few times). As more people become interested in the provenance of their food and as our food system becomes more byzantine and opaque, I think there are very few more vital journalism beats. In 2017, I was a James Beard and Pulitzer finalist.

What’s happening in food: Jose Andres gets ready to open in Disney Springs, Corks & Forks gears up in Sarasota, amateur Spam-Off

Disney Springs
The idea of Jaleo, the Spanish word for ?revelry,? informs what will be a large, family-style gathering space. Think tapas, sangria and foosball tables, then elegant central seating for paellas and grilled meats from an open kitchen with a wood fire grill, and near the front corner a quick-serve section for street-food-inspired sandwiches and salads. Andr?s?s first Jaleo debuted in Washington, D.C. in 1993. This will be his first restaurant in Central Florida. 
Photos: Courtesy Disney Springs
Want to competitively carve Spam? Wonder why Jose Andres's Disney Springs restaurant is modeled on an artichoke? This week's Dining Planner tells all.

Trump gave Big Macs to Clemson, but do college athletes actually eat that stuff?

President Donald Trump talks to the media about the table full of fast food in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, for the reception for the Clemson Tigers. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Some say the government shutdown drove him to it. Others that it's just what President Trump likes. How wrong-headed was it to feed the Clemson Tigers a banquet of takeout fast food?

Review: In a town overrun by tacos, Amigos Tortilla Bar needs to up its game

Amigos Tortilla Bar opened in the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg in November.
A taco bar from Key West sets up shop in St. Petersburg. Its calling card? Square tortillas. Meh.

Restaurant delivery services are here to stay. Bite Squad tells us precisely what our fetish foods were in 2018.

EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
Two lunch specials from 9 Bangkok Restaurant, Sept. 13, 2016.
Tampa Bay ordered a whole lot of Chick-fil-A nuggets in 2018. Bite Squad crunches the numbers on our delivery habits.

Chick-fil-A, Thai food top Tampa Bay’s top 10 most ordered delivery dishes

Two lunch specials from 9 Bangkok Restaurant, Sept. 13, 2016. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
What delivery foods took a nosedive in 2018? Salads.