Helen Freund, Food Critic

Helen Freund

Food Critic

I write about food and restaurants in the Tampa Bay area. 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. When I’m not eating, I’m probably scuba diving and tagging along with spearfishers, hoping they’ll spear some dinner for me.

Claws for optimism: Florida stone crab season looks promising

Fresh stone crab claws are for sale at Frenchy's Stone Crab Company, Palm Harbor, Monday, December 17, 2018. Prices were higher for the claws last year because of red tide and demand according to General Manager Tommy Shook. Scott Keeler  |  Tampa Bay Times
The annual haul opens Tuesday following last year’s up-and-down season. Crabbing insiders have their fingers crossed.

Tropez in St. Petersburg is a globetrotting attempt to be everything to everyone

The French onion soup dumplings at Tropez. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
The approach at this restaurant/bar/lounge might be a little too eclectic. | Restaurant review

Stone crab season is near. But Florida blue crab has a following, too.

Here’s what you need to know about Florida’s other crab.

How to buy, cook and eat Florida blue crab

Blue crabs are seasoned and steamed for ten minutes at the Key West Seafood Company, Gulfport,  Wednesday, October 2, 2019.  SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
Not sure where to start? Go from market to table with guidance from local sellers.

M.Bird and Stones Throw provide a good excuse to embrace al fresco dining

The Vaca Frita Tostones at M.Bird. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
As cooler weather nears, a look at two of Armature Works’ outdoor food and drink spots. | Restaurant review