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. 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Alma Chocolate's Daring Dinner Series

What happens when chocolate inspires monthly menus? A “grilled cheese and chocolate” collaboration provides some answers.

03/26/2013 By Karen Brooks

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Italy, Rocking

With his new restaurant, Ava Gene’s, Duane Sorenson gives indie dining an Old World polish.

03/15/2013 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Andy Ricker to Open Thai Noodle House on Division

Pok Pok Lat Khao curry shop is dead; Sen Yai noodle house will rise this spring.

02/22/2013 By Karen Brooks

CHEAP EATS 2013

Chef’s Choice

Portland chefs weigh in on their favorite cheap eats.

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

CHEAP EATS 2013

Eat Portland Weird

It's time to embrace offal, grasshoppers, and pork skin!

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Allison Jones

CHEAP EATS 2013

Bargains in the Burbs

Delicious discoveries beyond the city limits

02/22/2013 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks By Allison Jones

CHEAP EATS 2013

Taco Tours

Portland's newest generation of Mexican flavors

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

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 on a Budget

Tuck into these affordable feasts without breaking the bank.

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