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. 

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

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Chef Thomas Boyce Leaves Bluehour

The veteran Los Angeles chef is replaced by Clarklewis chef and Bluehour alum Dolan Lane.

01/08/2013 By Karen Brooks

THE YEAR IN FOOD

Portland’s 2013 Eating Cheat Sheet

In 2012, global boundaries blurred, crazed comforts ruled (again), and seafood made a splash, at last.

12/31/2012 By Karen Brooks

EAT THIS NOW

Fressen Artisan Bakery

Meet a pig-in-the-blanket with artisan street cred.

12/20/2012 By Karen Brooks

FOODIE GIFTS

Holiday Baskets at Little T

Celebrated pastry chef Kristen Murray unveils a treasure chest of treats.

12/18/2012 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Din Din Supper Club Goes Legit

Portland's premier roving feast finds a new home on NE Glisan Street for supper club dinners, Sunday brunch, and morning treats.

12/17/2012 By Karen Brooks

RESTAURANT REVIEW

Animal House

Ox restaurant ignites a new steak experience: brazen, barbecued, and beautiful.

12/14/2012 By Karen Brooks

EAT HERE NOW

People's Pig Flies High

After disappearing last summer, the celebrated downtown food cart quietly resurfaces with fresh ideas and wood-fired meats stacked in artful sandwiches.

12/06/2012 By Karen Brooks

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