Karen Brooks eats, drinks and thinks about food for Portland Monthly, as the magazine's trend-spotting food critic. Karen's reviews and think pieces ferret out the restaurants, food carts, and maverick thinkers defining Portland's food voice. In 2017, Karen won one of the food world's most prestigious titles: the James Beard Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Reviewer Award. She's penned nine books on food and drink, and in 2020 guest-starred on Hulu's food series, Eater's Guide to the World 

Review

A Secret Well Fuels Wondrous Japanese Shaved Ice at Portland’s Soen

Step inside downtown DIY gem Courier Coffee to find the city's best kakigori.

05/19/2022 By Karen Brooks

Bakeries

10 Asian American and Pacific Islander-Owned Bakeries You Should Try Right Now

Where to get sweet and savory treats, from ensaymadas to mochi doughnuts to barbecue pork buns.

05/17/2022 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

Grocery Stores

The Cult Snacks and Secret Chef Ingredients We Found at Hidden Japanese Market Fulamingo

Plus: Ride-or-die favorites from the underground grocer inside the bumping Wellspent Market

05/12/2022 By Karen Brooks

Restaurant Openings

First Look: Star Chef Gregory Gourdet’s Kann, a Wood-Fired Haitian Restaurant, Opening in July

From menu to design, we have the details on Portland's most anticipated opening of 2022 from the 'Top Chef' fan favorite.

05/05/2022 By Karen Brooks

Food News & Events

Taste Two Top Chef Contestants’ Cooking, Cloudforest Chocolate Temporarily Closes, and Street Disco Announces Brick-and-Mortar

Taste two 'Top Chef' contestants’ cooking, Cloudforest Chocolate temporarily closes, Street Disco announces brick-and-mortar, and much more!

04/28/2022 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

Interview

Chef Kristen D. Murray's Last Stand at Måurice

The iconic downtown Portland pastry luncheonette has endured vandalism and financial pandemic-era blows. Now, it's banking on tasting menus for survival and sanity.

04/28/2022 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Portland Chefs Gregory Gourdet and Joshua McFadden Nab James Beard Cookbook Award Nominations

Gregory Gourdet's Haitian-healthy 'Everyone's Table' and Joshua McFadden's 'Grains for Every Season' are in the running for the coveted awards.

04/27/2022 By Karen Brooks

Review

The Minds Behind Eem and Langbaan Ignite a New Thai Food Experience with Phuket Café

Find curry puffs, cocktails, shaved ice, brunch, and Portland’s best new bar

04/27/2022 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Two Famed Burger Spots Get New Restaurants, and Mitate Sushi Will Close

Canard and Hit the Spot get new restaurants, and Mitate sushi will close. Plus, a pop-up rec, and a solid rainy day activity idea complete with milkshakes.

04/21/2022 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

Breaking Food News

Two-Michelin Star Chef Matthew Lightner Will Open ōkta and Tributary Hotel in McMinnville This Summer

The two-Michelin Star chef's restaurant and boutique hotel aspires to be a destination game-changer for Oregon wine country.

04/07/2022 By Karen Brooks

Dining Picks

An Opinionated Guide to Portland's Best Bakeries

An opinionated guide to the city's defining croissants and essential morning baked goods.

04/04/2022 By Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton

Midday Meal

Let’s Do Lunch

In the new world—and especially in Portland—lunch refuses to be typecast.

03/23/2022 Edited by Katherine Chew Hamilton Photography by Thomas Teal By Karen Brooks, Fiona McCann, Michael Novak, and Conner Reed

Let's Do Lunch

Portland Lunch Locator: Pick a Quadrant and Eat!

Jianbing in Northwest, Hmong sausages in Southwest, an Indian food cart in North Portland, and more!

03/23/2022 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

Restaurant Openings

Is Phuket Cafe Portland's Next Great Thai Restaurant?

A first look at the latest project from Thai food hitmaker Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom. Phuket will share a space with his acclaimed Langbaan, opening soon with live-fire charcoal pot stoves.

03/15/2022 By Karen Brooks

Restaurant Review

Vietnamese Food Goes Rogue at Portland's Berlu

From a reimagined bánh xèo to a bold honeycomb cake with caviar and coconut cream, Vince Nguyen's tasting menu is a must-know, must-go situation.

03/03/2022 By Karen Brooks Photography by Thomas Teal

Food News

These 7 Portland Chefs and Restaurants Are James Beard Award Semifinalists

Berlu's Vince Nguyen, Gado Gado's Thomas Pisha-Duffly, and Magna's Carlo Lamagna are in the running for Best Chef: Northwest and Pacific.

02/23/2022 By Katherine Chew Hamilton

First-Look Review

Acclaimed Han Oak Reopens with Hot Pot, Caviar, and Korean Chips

After nearly two years on hiatus, Portland's fun-loving Korean restaurant returns with a new concept

02/23/2022 By Karen Brooks

First look review

Wood-Fired, Greek-Inspired Bluto's Is an Instant Portland Destination

Hummus, pita, and killer lamb skewers make Bluto's, located at 2828 SE Belmont St., worth a visit.

02/15/2022 By Karen Brooks

Dining Guide

Portland’s Most Romantic, Date-Worthy Restaurants

Planning a date with that special someone? Peep this list first.

02/08/2022 By Karen Brooks and Katherine Chew Hamilton

Grocery Stores

How Providore Became a Portland Food Paradise

With a new expansion, the NE Portland store is a treasure hunt, a cookbook curator, a wine bar, and a love letter to small farmers.

02/08/2022 By Karen Brooks