After college, Laura Reiley entered the world of work on the heels of a two-year culinary school program. A professionally trained chef, she was now qualified to draw discriminating and effete conclusions about meals eaten, wines consumed. She did so with gusto, reviewing restaurants and writing about food for magazines and newspapers in Baltimore, Maryland; San Francisco, California; and most recently St. Petersburg, Florida.
A food writer must keep one eye on food, but it is somewhat inevitable that the other eye drifts to the anthropology of food: the folkways of the eaters and drinkers. After moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast in 2003, Reiley began to admire how Harriet Beecher Stowe once described her home state—“a tumble-down, wild…general happy-go-luckiness which (is) Florida.” What better way to explore her wild new home than with a first edition of Moon Florida Gulf Coast, for which she won first prize in the 2005 North American Travel Journalists Association awards? From there, she set her sights on all the allures of Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, and Central Florida.
While some people swear by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and psychologists often use the Neo Personality Inventory to determine personality type, Reiley is convinced that it all comes down to this: There are two personality types—those who ride the rides, and those who stay on the ground and hold the cotton candy for those who ride the rides. Reiley rides the rides. She lives in Tampa with her husband, a psychologist; her daughter, an eleven-year-old; and her dog, a schnoodle.
Tampa resident Laura Reiley and St. Petersburg resident Bob Jenkins offer up the best of Tampa and St. Petersburg, from the Cuban restaurants and nightclubs of Ybor City to Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium. More