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 41 - 60 of 429 in total

Year in Review

Karen Brooks’s Best Portland Dishes 2015

Portland Monthly’s food critic on the dishes that defined the year.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/29/2015


The Biggest Openings and Closures of 2015

The Eat Beat team examines the year in Portland restaurants.

  • By Kelly Clarke, Benjamin Tepler, and Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/28/2015


Nodoguro Relocating to Stray Birds Space in NE Portland

Come January, the inventive Japanese tasting menu restaurant will hold court in one of the city’s most hidden, magical spaces. (Get ready for the 21-course “super hardcore” dinners.)

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/22/2015


Two Coffee Shops and More to Check Out in January

Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks dishes on the restaurants, obsessions, and under-the-radar finds of the month.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/21/2015


Does Muscadine Make Portland’s Best Fried Chicken?

Laura Rhoman’s tiny Northeast Portland eatery delivers a genuine taste of the South, Nashville hot birds to true grits.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/21/2015


50 Things Every Portlander Must Do

From transplants to natives, we present a quirky and quintessential bucket list for every type of Portlander.

  • By Fiona McCann, Marty Patail, Kelly Clarke, Ramona DeNies, Allison Jones, Benjamin Tepler, Karen Brooks, and Rachel Ritchie
  • Published 12/21/2015


10 Awesome Chocolate Bars for the Holidays

We snapped open bars from Portland and beyond to answer your stocking stuffer prayers. Or keep them for yourself. We won’t tell.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/15/2015


The Best Local Cookbooks of 2015

From groundbreaking charcuterie tomes to giftable picnic handbooks, these are the year’s must-read Portland recipe collections.

  • By Kelly Clarke, Benjamin Tepler, and Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/15/2015


Are You a Real Portlander?

Have you sprinted up Tabor? Gone commando at the World Naked Bike Ride? Consumed *all* the beer? Take our quiz to find out if you’re (nearly) native—or just got off the bus.

  • By Fiona McCann, Marty Patail, Ramona DeNies, Allison Jones, Benjamin Tepler, Karen Brooks, and Rachel Ritchie
  • Published 12/11/2015


Where to Eat This Week

From creamy, masa-steeped hot chocolate at Portland Mercado to a final Middle East brunch at Levant, these are the things you must consume this week.

  • By Eat Beat Team
  • Published 12/07/2015


Q&A with Roger Porter: Eating Words Is a Feast of Reading

A new anthology of food writing, coedited by former Portland food critic Roger J. Porter, is an epic collection of food tales by familiar and surprising writers.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/04/2015


Sneak Peek at Hat Yai, Langbaan’s Upcoming Sister Restaurant

It’s a curry house, a Southern Thai fried chicken joint, and the most intriguing restaurant on Portland’s horizon. As Hat Yai readies to open, Eat Beat has the first look at menu and chef details.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 12/01/2015


Four Reasons to Sip at Coffeehouse Northwest

Northwest Portland’s premier coffee shop unveils a holiday menu worth celebrating. Glug eggnog latte with extra purpose on Thanksgiving morning, when all “pay what you like” proceeds go to charity.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 11/24/2015


6 PDX Restaurants and Bars You Must Show Off to Holiday Visitors this Month

Portland Monthly food critic Karen Brooks dishes on where to take friends and family for winter libations and celebrations.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 11/23/2015


Tastebud Fires Up in Multnomah Village

Mark Doxtader’s wood-fired spot opens with burly, smoky crusts and juicy whole roasted chickens.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 11/17/2015


Portland News to Chew

Pizza Maria shutters, Salt & Straw teases soft serve, and Stumptown Coffee launches breakfast.

  • By Rachel Grozanick
  • Published 11/16/2015


Castagna’s Justin Woodward Takes Over Castagna Café

Portland’s top modernist chef steers the legendary Southeast Hawthorne spot in a new direction.

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 11/11/2015


Portland’s Best Hot Chocolate

Three spots to get your hot cocoa fix, from glossy, chile- and lime-spiked Thai Coconut to a trio of dark chocolate "shots."

  • By Karen Brooks
  • Published 11/03/2015


Gruner to Shutter; Ox to Open a Second Restaurant

The alpine institution will close its doors after six years, with Ox’s Argentine grill-masters taking over the space in March.

  • By Benjamin Tepler
  • Published 10/29/2015


Where Do Portland’s Best Chefs Eat on Their Own Time?

From hearty Italian spreads to Balkan stews and cheap salt-and-pepper squid, our chefs devour the city.

  • By Kelly Clarke
  • Published 10/27/2015
Displaying articles 41 - 60 of 429 in total