Urban Explorer 4.0: The top local food sites 

Culinary Sherpas
Who's cooking?
Husband and wife team Greg and Michelle Baker started Sherpas in 2007 as an adjunct to their Cooks & Company personal chef service. He's a chef, she's a food stylist and writer. Besides a ton of loyal viewers, the blog spawned a regular column in the Trib and an upcoming cooking show that they plan to shop around.
What's cooking?
Culinary Sherpas is largely a cooking blog, updated weekly (or a bit more) with recipes that are a bit more reliable than your average home cook's, thanks to Greg's experience in the kitchen. Expect a love for meat and drawn-out personal anecdotes that usually fit the culinary theme of the day.

Chowhound: Florida
Who's cooking?
Chow is a massive food presence on the internet. Chowhound is its forum site, where the inmates run the asylum. Posters and commenters include everyone from local foodies in the know -- like the Rib Dog -- to anonymous idiots.
What's cooking?
Restaurant news, and lots of it. Although you'll have to skim past posts about other Florida cities, it's worth it to find out about new restaurant openings, which places have gone downhill, or where to find the best devil crab, according to people who are eating out every day.

Hungry Housewife
Who's cooking?
Leslie Greene is a local girl who grew up in Florida watching her mother peruse cookbooks and experiment with recipes. "I thought she was a total dork," she says. "Now I'm her." A few years ago, she began a passionate affair with baking that inevitably led to taking pictures of her creations, which inevitably led to starting a blog last year to justify her time, effort and photo-culinary fetish.
What's cooking?
Leslie writes with a down-to-earth style that's more like friendly dishing than dry recipe talk. That fits her food, which tends to be comforting and hearty, like Cuban sandwich pizza or her mom's poundcake.

Steamy Kitchen
Who's cooking?
Jaden Hair's story is a rags-to-riches blogger fairy tale, minus the rags. A few years ago, she was a home cook with a dream. Now, she flies around pimping Club Med, has a cookbook on the way (Steamy Kitchen Cookbook), regularly appears on local and syndicated television, and her blog, Steamy Kitchen, made the Times of London's list of Best 50 Food Blogs. In the world.
What's cooking?
Jaden focuses on Asian cuisine, although it can be problematic to find actual recipes amidst the flurry of beautiful photography and extended personal anecdotes about her husband/kids/vacation/sexual frustration. Just go with the chaos; you'll find the spring rolls or chile-crusted steak in there somewhere.

Louis Loves Food
Who's cooking?
After developing a taste for culinary oddities while traveling around the globe for work, Louis Thornton settled down in the Bay area and decided to write about experiences in his own kitchen. He brings a male perspective to a cooking blogosphere dominated by women, and recently filmed an episode for a new series on the Food Network.
What's cooking?
Louis likes to cook, from grilling slabs of pork to frying empanadas with his daughter, and his recipes show in-depth knowledge of the process rare for an amateur. He also opines about restaurants located in and outside the Bay area.

St. Petersburg Times
(Food Section, Mouth of Tampa Bay, Stir Crazy)
Who's cooking?
Laura Reiley took over the Times reviewer gig from Chris Sherman a couple of years ago and has been going strong ever since. For cooking features and some food news, longtime Times food editor Janet Keeeler pitches in.
What's cooking?
On the main Times food section, you'll find the usual weekly newspaper content, from reviews to events listings and features. Reiley's blog -- Mouth of Tampa Bay -- covers national and local food news, including restaurant openings and closings, while Keeler's Stir Crazy blog has daily recipes.

My Tampa Life
Who's cooking?
After losing two of his three jobs, Denis Baldwin decided to devote more time to his blogging pet project. He covers events and news from around the Bay area, but restaurants get the brunt of the coverage right now since "I eat three times a day so I can fit that in with my day job."
What's cooking?
While serious restaurant bloggers are a dime a dozen in cities like LA and New York, they are rare in Tampa. But MTL has stepped up its game over the past couple of months. Baldwin's reviews are informative, occasionally critical and he's not shy with the camera. Each restaurant is fully documented, from the front door to the food on the plate, soup to nuts.

Metromix
Who's cooking?
Metromix is a national web-media group that has outposts in dozens of cities. It covers many of the same topics we cover here in CL -- restaurants, movies, music, events -- utilizing national resources and some local correspondents.
What's cooking?
In the restaurant and bar section, Metromix does a very good job of featuring new restaurants with summary reviews and information. The best feature of the site, however, are the extensive photo galleries they post of many restaurants. You can read a blurb anywhere; it's nice to have a look at where you might be noshing this weekend.

Urbanspoon
Who's cooking?
Another national site, Urbanspoon is a Yelp wannabe that's managed to expand rapidly into many second-tier cities, Tampa included.
What's cooking?
Urbanspoon has the most comprehensive restaurant listings for the Bay area, along with links to reviews from the local papers, ratings by readers, and reviews by readers. There are a few caveats, though. They troll other restaurant listing sites (including CL's Good Eats), which often results in duplicate entries and outdated information. Make sure to call before heading across town for a dinner date.

Return to the Urban Explorer's Handbook 4.0

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Restaurant Reviews

More by Brian Ries

Search Events

Recent Comments

© 2015 SouthComm, Inc.
Powered by Foundation

Web Analytics