Last meal with Tampa Bay Times food critic Helen Freund
After six months off the beat, Tampa Bay Times food critic Helen Freund is back with some great ideas on how to cover our restaurant scene.
- "The question of what it costs to dine out right now in Tampa Bay and who can afford to do so is top of mind," Freund wrote in a recent column announcing her return to the beat.
We wanted to know: What would she eat if she only had one meal left? Here's her response, in her own words:
There's no question that my perfect meal would start with oysters.
- I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and cold-water bivalves from anywhere on the West Coast would always be my first choice.
Yes, but: I can't deny the allure of a dozen raw Gulf Coast oysters, served at a beachside shack alongside a cold beer, cocktail sauce, saltines and hot sauce (Crystal, of course).
Next up, if the season is right, I'm getting stone crab claws, served cold with mustard sauce.
- My favorite spot to go locally is Star Fish Company in Cortez, where you can grab a seat right on the deck next to a pod of curious pelicans.
For an entree, I'm torn: It's either a plate of carnitas tacos (I'm partial to the ones from the Te Invito food truck) or a really good roast chicken. Bonus points for extra-crispy skin, potatoes and croutons that cook and crisp in the chicken fat.
- All you really need to round out that meal is a fresh, simple green salad and a good bottle of red wine.
- My favorite version of this is hands down the roast chicken and bread salad at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco — a legendary dish that's every bit worth the hype.
For dessert, well, I'd probably skip dessert. I'm not a dessert person, sorry!
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