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Helen Freund
Monica Herndon

This week on WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, we’re talking to some of Tampa Bay’s favorite food personalities.

Helen Freund
Monica Herndon / Tampa Bay Times

Helen Freund is the new food critic for the Tampa Bay Times, arriving from New Orleans where she was the restaurant writer and food critic for an alternative weekly newspaper. Freund also covered criminal justice and the courts for the Times Picayune newspaper before she began writing about food in a city where food and restaurant reporting is a highly competitive beat.

Three women painting
Margaret McCampbell

A different kind of battle raged in Sarasota recently.

The participants came to the Art Ovation Hotel armed with palette knives, brushes, and tubes of paint.

Walt Disney World entrance.
Wikimedia Commons

Walt Disney World is offering discounted tickets to visitors who want to sleep in.

Starting Friday, the Florida theme resort is offering two-day tickets for as low as $88 a day, as long as purchasers don't show up at the parks until after 12 p.m.

Robert Is Here sign
Scott Keeler

WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, celebrates cuisine and community in the Sunshine State. Here's what's on the menu for this week's episode...

Glassblowing instructor Matthew Piepenbrock helps veterans create a piece in the Morean hot shop.
Beth Reynolds / Morean Arts Center

The Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg runs a program that teaches glassblowing to veterans. Researchers at the University of South Florida recently evaluated the program, known as Operation Art of Valor.

Danielle Rose

Spiny lobster season in Florida lasts from Aug. 6 to March 31, and the state's wildlife commission has rules in place to ensure that it's not a free-for-all. WUSF's food podcast, The Zest, spoke with Tampa blogger Danielle Rose about the "do's and don'ts" of lobster fishing.

The winners of this year's iPhone Photography Awards call to mind the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You'll Go. With a compact device in hand, world travelers are sharing intimate images from the far corners of the globe.

Tom Petty
Flikr - Musicentropy

In a great big world with lots of places to run to, the Florida Historical Marker Council agreed Friday that one of those spots should be in the hometown of the late Gainesville rocker Tom Petty.

Scott Keeler

Only in South Florida would someone ask, “What’s your favorite mango?” and get a response. Recently, thousands of visitors attended the International Mango Festival in Coral Gables to sample mangoes, listen to lectures and buy trees.

Sam Piazza working at PDQ.
Renee Warmack

Ten years ago, a student made the front page of the Tampa Tribune for winning Homecoming King at Gaither High school.

Sam Piazza's since inspired a movie, coming out next week, showing how the 29-year-old Tampa native excels at life with Down syndrome. 

Journalists from WUSF Public Media received three honors Saturday night at the annual Sunshine State Awards hosted by the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

mangoes
Scott Keeler

A tropical fruit expert said it's been a bad year for mangoes in South Florida.

Speaking at this year’s International Mango Festival in Coral Gables, Dr. Noris Ledesma blamed the situation on the weather. She's the tropical fruit curator at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.

"It rained almost every week, when we had the blooming,” Ledesma said. “We lost the majority of the crop because of the rainy season."

As a college sophomore, I knew exactly what the Apollo astronauts would find when they arrived on the moon: a desolate rockscape, craters shining white in reflected earthglow — and a big, black monolith.

Stanley Kubrick showed us all of that in the top-grossing movie of 1968 — 2001: A Space Odyssey — a full 15 months before Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind. And even Kubrick was late to the party: Moviegoers had been heading moonward from pretty much the moment there were filmmakers to lead the way.

Across South Florida, 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the big lizard.

At their yearly gathering to talk about invasive species this week, more than 200 scientists from universities, state and federal agencies and national parks said the spike in big lizard sightings has caught them by surprise. In addition to green iguanas and tegus, nile monitor lizards, water monitors, spiny-tailed iguanas and rhinoceros iguana appear to be spreading.

Mario Sánchez Prada/Flickr Creative Commons

Whether coffee runs through your veins or you can't stand the stuff, you'll be fascinated by the role a simple cup o' joe played during the heyday of Tampa's cigar industry.

Anne Kearney
Oak & Ola

 

Chef Anne Kearney is a James Beard Award winner, protégé of Emeril Lagasse and the culinary innovator behind one of Tampa’s most talked-about new restaurants, Oak & Ola.  

 LISTEN TO THE ZEST AND SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE!

  

Fireworks.
Wikimedia Commons

By Carrie Pinkard

The United States of America is turning 243 years old this year, which means it’s time to celebrate.

All around the Tampa Bay area there are events where people can show off their patriotism. Below is a a list of things to do in the area, and what to listen to on WUSF/WSMR on your way there.

Cuban sandwich
Columbia Restaurant Group

  

How can a simple sandwich ignite such controversy? Well, when it's the Cuban sandwich, and we're in Florida, there is a bitter battle for the title of who had it first and who makes it the best.

Corgis run on a track.
Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media

On Sunday afternoon, dozens of corgis and their owners gathered under a tent trying to stay cool in the summer heat.

While owners enjoyed frozen treats from a nearby food truck, the dogs splashed in a kiddie pool and barked at each other, expressing dominance before the competition even began.

They were all there for the 3rd annual Tampa Bay Corgi races.


Paul Guzzo in Tampa's Memorial Cemetery
James Borchuck/Tampa Bay Times

Last fall, a cemetery historian came upon a few death certificates from a little-known Tampa burial ground called Zion and he wanted help to learn more about it.

Tampa Bay Times journalist Paul Guzzo took the story on, and after nine months of research, he discovered that no one really knows what happened to hundreds of bodies that were buried in Tampa's first African American cemetery.

 Food writer Laura Reiley, right, with Robin Sussingham.
Dalia Colón

By Robin Sussingham

Customized burgers based on facial recognition and robots behind the counter at your favorite doughnut shop? It sounds like the premise of a sci-fi movie, but the future of food is stranger than fiction.

peanut pie
Andrew Thomas Lee

Subscribe to The Zest podcast! This week, we’re living the sweet life. We visit with the Junior League of Tampa to test out a peach cobbler recipe from The Gasparilla Cookbook. We chat with the authors of The New Pie about ideas for updating the classic dessert. And edible cookie dough arrives in Tampa!


Tampa Bay Lightning Right Wing Nikita Kucherov
National Hockey League

If you saw the hardware that Nikita Kucherov alone walked away with, you would want to shield your eyes from the glare. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning right wing won the Hart Memorial Trophy as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association for league MVP and the Ted Lindsay award as the league's most outstanding player.

Dough Nation
courtesy Dough Nation

Dough Nation is a cafe in downtown Tampa that specializes in edible cookie dough. It's owned and operated by Metropolitan Ministries, a nonprofit organization that helps poor and homeless families in Tampa Bay, and the proceeds from cookie dough sales help fund its mission. Dough Nation is also a culinary job training program for some of the people that are served by Metropolitan Ministries. For WUSF's The Zest podcast, producer Dalia Colón spoke with Dough Nation Chef Cliff Barsi about the popularity of social enterprise restaurants, and the safe consumption of cookie dough.

Courtesy Florida Humanities Council

Since 1973, the Florida Humanities Council has brought history programs, authors, and Smithsonian exhibits to communities across the state.  

Three years after the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the country, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, activists across the state are encouraged by what they say are positive steps forward for Florida’s LGBTQ community. 

Nancy Roucher holding Dr. Mary Palmer Trailblazer Award  presented by Leiland Theriot
Cathy Carter

Sarasota arts education advocate Nancy Roucher has been honored by the state for her longtime contributions to promoting arts education. On Friday, Roucher will be awarded with the Dr. Mary Palmer Trailblazer Award from the Florida Alliance for Arts Education at the organization’s annual summit in Fort Lauderdale.

Orange You Glad It's Summer cocktail
Kelly Prieto

Bourbon is having a moment. Not only does the spirit pair well with summer barbecue, but a bottle of the good stuff makes a great gift idea. 


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