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. 


Best Family Breakfast Spots

Hey, your kids have to eat breakfast too. We've rounded up a roster of eateries that will make the whole family feel welcome (and full).

02/23/2012 By Zach Dundas and Karen Brooks Edited by Rachel Ritchie Illustrations by Dan Gay

Rise & Dine!

Portland’s Best Biscuits

We've got a bounty of biscuits that don't need gravy to make 'em special.

02/23/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Benjamin Tepler

Rise & Dine!

Portland's Best Breakfast Sandwiches

The trusty breakfast sandwich has evolved from an on-the-go necessity to a morning meal worth savoring slowly. Here are five winning combos.

02/23/2012 By Kasey Cordell, Rachel Ritchie, and Benjamin Tepler Edited by Karen Brooks Illustrations by Dan Gay


Portland’s Best Bloody Marys

Sometimes you need an eye-opener on top of your morning java. For those occasions we've whittled down a roster of Portland's best Bloody Marys. Cheers!

02/23/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Allison Jones

Rise & Dine!

Portland’s Best Breakfasts

Just like mom said: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And after weeks stuffing ourselves silly while exploring the city’s myriad breakfast joints, we can attest that it also happens to be the most delicious.

02/23/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks


Portland’s 2012 James Beard Contenders

Six Portland chefs vie in a pool of 20 regional hopefuls for Best Chef Northwest, and four other talents compete in four national categories.

02/21/2012 By Karen Brooks


Navarre to Expand

Owner John Taboada’s unnamed project will rise this summer in the former Chin Yen space on Northeast 28th Avenue

02/08/2012 By Karen Brooks


Naomi Pomeroy to Relocate and Update Beast

Portland’s pork princess plans to roll out a new look, new location, and new ideas by September.

02/06/2012 By Karen Brooks

Eat Here Now

Boke Bowl

The ramen at Boke Bowl is sensational. But there's a lot more than noodles happening here.

01/26/2012 By Karen Brooks


UPDATE: Christopher Israel’s New Mexican Restaurant

ChefStable teams up with one of the city’s top chefs for an exciting downtown project.

01/24/2012 By Karen Brooks


Milwaukie Kitchen & Wine

Veteran chef Pascal Sauton brings French comfort, great baking, curated ingredients, and spontaneous evenings to Clackamas country.

01/11/2012 By Karen Brooks


Kristen Murray Leaving Paley’s Place

The acclaimed pastry wiz and dessert chef is searching for a location to cook up her own dreams.

01/10/2012 By Karen Brooks


Foodie Retrospectives

Two year-end roundups put the 2011 world of food in perspective.

12/28/2011 By Karen Brooks


Littlest Italy

Is Luce a Fellini movie, a Lombardy roadside attraction, or a food lover's minimart as imagined in Portland?

12/23/2011 By Karen Brooks


The Dish on Portland Dining: 2011

Eat Beat’s annual food and drink survey is here…pull up a chair and weigh in!

12/21/2011 By Karen Brooks


Christopher Israel’s New Project

Christopher Israel and Kurt Huffman look to open a Mexican restaurant in downtown Portland.

12/20/2011 By Karen Brooks


Nong’s Khao Man Gai at PSU

With a new location, Portland’s famed Thai vendor debuts new dishes and soon, Nong’s Khao Man Gai Sauce

11/30/2011 By Karen Brooks


Pie High

Pie priestess Kate McMillen concentrates on the crust at Lauretta Jean's.

11/23/2011 By Karen Brooks


Get Ready for Oven and Shaker

Three reasons to get excited about Portland’s soon-to-open pizza and cocktail experiment.

11/15/2011 By Karen Brooks


Paleys Plan New Downtown Location

Portland’s famed food-lovers Vitaly and Kimberly Paley are close to signing a lease downtown, bringing two concepts under one roof.

11/08/2011 By Karen Brooks