Food Editor & Critic

Karen Brooks eats, drinks and thinks about food for Portland Monthly, where she continues her journey as Portland’s opinionated, trend-spotting food critic. She pens monthly restaurant reviews, writes and photographs the print magazine’s Word of Mouth column (aka: what I’m obsessing over now), drives the annual Best Restaurants issue, contributes to various food-cover packages, and breaks news for the magazine’s food blog, Eat Beat.

Karen began her journalism career at alt-weekly Willamette Week, doubling as food critic and Arts & Culture editor. Then she jumped ship to the Oregonian, doing double-duty again as Arts czarina and Food Critic while creating two of the daily’s most enduring sections: the weekly A&E and the annual Diner guide. At Portland Monthly since 2010, she’s continued her mission of ferreting out new restaurant models and maverick thinkers defining Portland’s food voice.

In her spare time, Karen is rabid NBA baller, film/TV junkie, and food author. She’s written nine books to date, most recently a book on Portland’s punk-rock food scene, The Mighty Gastropolis: A Journey Through America’s New Food Culture. 

Displaying articles 1 - 20 of 454 in total

FOOD CARTS

How the (Food Cart) Pod People Took Over

In 2009, a half-empty lot called Cartopia became Portland's new living room.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/17/2016

'Tude with Our China

Wine Snobs, Moody Bastards, and Game Hens: Inside the Vat and Tonsure

From 1978 to 1997, this idiosyncratic downtown boîte was the epicenter of Portland culture.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

WHAT WE ATE

Portland’s Restaurant History: The People, Places, and Plates That Set Our City’s Epic Table

How did we conquer the food world? We chronicle more than a century of Portland dining.

  • By Molly Woodstock, Michael Zusman, Kelly Clarke, Benjamin Tepler, and Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

WORD OF MOUTH

Portland Monthly Food Critic Karen Brooks Looks Back on Three Decades of Restaurant Reviews

From ‘80s bagel punks to gazillion-dollar flops.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

RECIPES

Eight Classic Portland Recipes, 1932 to Now

From Henry Thiele’s German pancakes to Lucy Brennan’s avocado daiquiri, here’s how to eat (and drink) your way through Portland history.

  • By Kelly Clarke, Benjamin Tepler, and Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

TOP CHEF

The (James) Beard Supremacy: Five Portland Chefs Who Slay

Cory Schreiber, Philippe Boulot, Cathy Whims, Greg Higgins, and Vitaly Paley embody the mission of Oregon’s original locavore.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

THE TABLE SETTER

In the ‘70s and ‘80s, This Prolific Portland Restaurateur Redefined “Fine Dining”

Michael Vidor—the man behind L’Auberge, Genoa, and Tanuki—replaced stodge with bohemian, come-as-you-are excellence.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

HAIL CAESAR

How Zefiro Changed Everything for Portland’s Food Scene

In the ‘90s, the most mythical of Portland restaurants ruled over NW 21st and Glisan.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

NEW WORLD ORDER

In 2002, Two Crazy Kids Basically Invented the Modern Portland Restaurant

Michael Hebb and Naomi Pomeroy redefined the city’s old-world restaurant order.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

FOOD HISTORY

Pioneer Salt, Giant Pancakes, and Sexy Salads: The Two-Century-Long Story of How Portland Conquered the Food World

Here are the wild spots, rule breakers, lost treasures, and unforgettable dishes that forged our food culture through the past century.

  • By Ashley Marti/Local Haven, Molly Woodstock, Michael Zusman, Kelly Clarke, Nicolle Clemetson, and Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

Breaking News

The Inside Scoop on Tusk, Portland’s Most Anticipated Restaurant of 2016

Eat Beat has the first look at the vegetable-forward Middle Eastern spot, courtesy of Ava Gene’s owner Joshua McFadden and his A-list crew.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/15/2016

Breaking News

Pine Street Market’s Common Law Closes; Kim Jong Grillin’/Smokehouse Tavern Collaboration Will Fill Space

Chef Patrick McKee’s fine dining French-Asian spot calls it quits. Up next: KJS, a Korean barbecue-meets-smoked meats project from two of Portland’s favorite meat men.

  • By Kelly Clarke
  • Published 08/11/2016

EAT THIS NOW

Where to Eat This Week: August 10–17

Dirty dirty fries at OP Wurst and soft-serve at Lovely’s Fifty Fifty are your required eating for the week.

  • By Eat Beat Team
  • Published 08/10/2016

BREAKING NEWS

The Inside Scoop on Upcoming Korean Spot Revelry

Eat Beat has the first look and menu details at Revelry, a new restaurant from Seattle superstars Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/08/2016

Breaking News

Food Cart Standout Tiffin Asha to Open Brick-and-Mortar on NE Killingsworth

The cart gets a permanent home for its playful dosas and Southern Indian snacks across the street from Hat Yai and Podnah’s Pit.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 08/02/2016

Breaking News

Appalachian Hot Spot Mae to Launch Southern Brunch

Beginning September 4, rising chef Maya Lovelace will enter her vaunted fried chicken, serious baking, and farmers market finds into Portland’s Sunday brunch ring.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 07/26/2016

EAT THIS NOW

Where to Eat This Week: July 20-27

Al pastor tacos at Tight Tacos, boozy Sloshy Pops at New Deal, and playful cocktails at Tastebud are your required eating and drinking for the week.

  • By Eat Beat Team
  • Published 07/20/2016

WORD OF MOUTH

What to Eat at Hat Yai, Langbaan’s Spin-Off Southern Thai Joint

Critic Karen Brooks gives (at least) one good reason southern Thai fried chicken is better than southern American fried chicken.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 07/12/2016

REVIEW

A Chef from Lima Unites Peru and Portland, Electric-Yellow Chile Swoops to Top-Notch Cebiche

At Paiche, Jose Luis de Cossio’s dishes are never boring.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 07/12/2016

BEST OF THE CITY 2016

Best of the City 2016: Celebrating Portland’s Greatest People, Places, and Things

Essential outdoor escapes. Favorite eats. Killer skyline views. Top cultural picks. Here are some of the things that make Portland awesome.

  • By Rebecca Jacobson, Fiona McCann, Molly Woodstock, Marty Patail, Ramona DeNies, Benjamin Tepler, Eden Dawn, Karen Brooks, and Zach Dundas
  • Published 06/13/2016
Displaying articles 1 - 20 of 454 in total