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. 

CHEAP EATS 2013

Kids' Menus

Your child is a passport to small-plate bargains.

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Kelly Clarke

CHEAP EATS 2013

Hot Diggity Dogs!

Beauty on a bun for under $10

02/22/2013 By Kasey Cordell Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

CHEAP EATS 2013

Old World Eats

A hearty trek through Portland's Central European feasts

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Marty Patail

CHEAP EATS 2013

Best of the Bowls

Fathomless pho, Korean hot pots, and goat curry

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie By Karen Brooks and Benjamin Tepler

CHEAP EATS 2013

Happy Hour Havens

Great deals and steals, early and late

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

CHEAP EATS 2013

Stuffed to the Gills

Delicious things—inside of other things

02/22/2013 By Zach Dundas and Aaron Scott Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

CHEAP EATS 2013

Date Nights

Affordable trysts on the town

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie By Karen Brooks

FEATURE

Cheap Eats 2013

We combed old standbys, secret food spots, and happy hour havens to sniff out the great deals. Behold: 60 meals under $20, from multicourse feasts to herbaceous bowls of pho.

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

EAT THIS NOW

Ultimate PDX Ice Cream Sampler

Salt & Straw transforms five local artisan chocolatiers creations into bold spheres of cold comfort.

02/20/2013 By Karen Brooks

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Alma Chocolate V2: Sweet surrender

Northeast Portland’s artisan chocolate shop now ready for prime time with baked gems, drinking chocolates and nano-batch ice creams.

01/30/2013 By Karen Brooks

JUST OPENED

Just Opened: Ava Gene's

What you need to know about Duane Sorenson's new Italian restaurant

01/23/2013 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Tasty N Alder: The Tasty Details

John Gorham’s new downtown brunch-meets-steakhouse concept will unroll plenty of surprises, including cult Portland chef Morgan Brownlow.

01/16/2013 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Ken Forkish to Open Trifecta Tavern & Bakery

America’s first “bakery tavern” will rise this summer on SE Sixth Avenue.

01/08/2013 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Chef Thomas Boyce Leaves Bluehour

The veteran Los Angeles chef is replaced by Clarklewis chef and Bluehour alum Dolan Lane.

01/08/2013 By Karen Brooks

THE YEAR IN FOOD

Portland’s 2013 Eating Cheat Sheet

In 2012, global boundaries blurred, crazed comforts ruled (again), and seafood made a splash, at last.

12/31/2012 By Karen Brooks

EAT THIS NOW

Fressen Artisan Bakery

Meet a pig-in-the-blanket with artisan street cred.

12/20/2012 By Karen Brooks

FOODIE GIFTS

Holiday Baskets at Little T

Celebrated pastry chef Kristen Murray unveils a treasure chest of treats.

12/18/2012 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Din Din Supper Club Goes Legit

Portland's premier roving feast finds a new home on NE Glisan Street for supper club dinners, Sunday brunch, and morning treats.

12/17/2012 By Karen Brooks

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Animal House

Ox restaurant ignites a new steak experience: brazen, barbecued, and beautiful.

12/14/2012 By Karen Brooks

EAT HERE NOW

People's Pig Flies High

After disappearing last summer, the celebrated downtown food cart quietly resurfaces with fresh ideas and wood-fired meats stacked in artful sandwiches.

12/06/2012 By Karen Brooks