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. 

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

What You Need to Know About Ava Gene's

Stumptown lord Duane Sorenson cooks up a personal take on Italian food, crafted for Portland, and opening soon on SE Division.

11/28/2012 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Alma Chocolate Expands

With an expansion plan, a new event space, and creative chocolate dinners on the horizon, Northeast Portland’s quirky little chocolate shop gets ready for prime time.

11/08/2012 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Market: RIP

After mixed reviews and financial losses, ChefStable’s Kurt Huffman drops the curtain on his three-month-old downtown gamble.

11/05/2012 By Karen Brooks

EAT THIS NOW

The Soup Annex: A New Pop-Up Sensation

How an unknown artisan soup vendor moonlighting as a pop-up hogged the limelight in GQ magazine’s blowout assessment of Portland’s food scene.

10/31/2012 By Karen Brooks

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

New Fressen Bakery Rises

Deep under the radar in NE Portland, the cult farmers market bakery adds a brick-and-mortar home for its esteemed German breads, Bavarian croissants and Danish pastries, plus the intrigue of sandwiches and bread-focused specials.

10/24/2012 By Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2012

Meat-Free Zones

Relax, vegetarians! It's not all about prime cuts in this town.

10/19/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Allison Jones

Best Restaurants 2012

The Next Wave

Five brand-new restaurants to look out for in the final months of 2012.

10/19/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks With Benjamin Tepler

Best Restaurants 2012

Best of the Rest

Still hungry? We've culled the 35 local restaurants that should remain in any food lover's regular rotation.

10/16/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2012

Wine + Food = Love

Five spots taking wine pairing to the next level.

10/16/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Allison Jones

Best Restaurants 2012

Five Things You Must Eat in 2012

You don't need to rent a tux to tackle these low-brow dishes.

10/16/2012 By Mike Thelin Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2012

Chefs of the Year

Portland's top two culinary minds are French-inspired chefs from different generations.

10/16/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants 2012

20 Spots That Defined the Year in Food

It's our annual assemblage of Portland's most exciting eateries.

10/16/2012 With Mike Thelin, Benjamin Tepler, and Allison Jones Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Matt Lightner Awarded Two Michelin Stars

Oregon's avant-garde forager continues his climb to the pantheon of New York chefs.

10/03/2012 By Karen Brooks

REQUIRED READING

Feast Portland Interviews

Seven of the visiting Feast Portland food stars answer our culinary questions.

09/19/2012 By Karen Brooks and Benjamin Tepler

Feast Portland Interviews

Q&A: Chris Cosentino

San Francisco’s offal lord talks about the inspiration for pig-brain mayonnaise, his leap into online food television, and Portland’s place in the national meat hierarchy.

09/16/2012 By Karen Brooks and Benjamin Tepler

Feast Portland Interviews

Q&A: Chris Ying

Lucky Peach’s editor in chief dishes on his radical journal of food thought and underground art.

09/14/2012 By Karen Brooks

Restaurant Review

Baptism by Fire

After five years of wrangling the flames at Ned Ludd, chef Jason French delivers some of the year’s best meals.

09/13/2012 By Karen Brooks

Feast Portland Interviews

Q&A: Duff Goldman

Television’s favorite Ace of Cakes shows his cards on the future of food TV: online and user-generated content.

09/13/2012 By Karen Brooks and Benjamin Tepler

Feast Portland Interviews

Q&A: Adam Rapoport

Bon Appétit’s trendsetting chief honcho and four-day Portland ambassador dishes on New York’s P-town obsession and the future of food journalism.

09/12/2012 By Karen Brooks

Food Lover's Guide to Portland

The Food Lover's Guide to Portland: The Shops

We've wrangled all of the local shops where you can find the ingredients for your own culinary conquests.

08/27/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks