Karen Brooks holds one of the most prestigious titles in the food world: winner of the James Beard Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award for 2017. This was her second time as a national finalist. After this, it’s all gravy.

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 and film/TV junkie and author. She’s penned nine books to date, most recently a deep dive into Portland’s punk-rock food scene, The Mighty Gastropolis: A Journey Through America’s New Food Culture. 

Breaking Food News

Olympic Provisions Shake-Up

Jason Barwikowski departs while Clyde Common’s Alex Yoder is tapped for kitchen duty at Portland’s charcuterie haven.

12/02/2010 By Karen Brooks

Eat This Now

A Taste of Pig Heaven

Tastebud’s roasted pork comes straight from the wood fire: get it while it lasts.

12/01/2010 By Karen Brooks

Introducing

Courier Coffee Roasters

An intimate den of coffee cool, Courier Coffee roasts some of the best beans in the city, turning those smooth roasts into pour-over coffee and lovely lattes.

11/17/2010 By Karen Brooks

Review

Little Big Buzz

If Ray Kroc went to the Rhode Island School of Design, with a semester in Tokyo, history may have looked like Little Big Burger, the Pearl District’s first independent fast-food joint.

11/17/2010 By Karen Brooks

Eat Here Now

The Secret Thanksgiving Potluck

…and some other reasons to give thanks at Coffeehouse Northwest.

11/16/2010 By Karen Brooks

Eat Here Now

Hoop Dreams

Spirit of 77: slam dunks and flagrant fouls at Portland’s new bohemian sports bar

11/10/2010 By Karen Brooks

Article

Perfect Pies – To Go

Holiday desserts, without the performance anxiety

11/03/2010 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Wine Country Dinners

Thistle announces its 2nd Annual Guest Chef & Winemaker Dinner Series

10/27/2010 By Karen Brooks

Eat This Now

Boffo Baked Goods at Ristretto Roasters

Kim Boyce arrived in Portland this year with one of the year’s best books under her baking belt and a collection of treats ready-made for a local coffee shop.

10/27/2010 By Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants

2010 Best Restaurants: Evolution of a Revolution

Follow Portland's nationally recognized food scene as _Portland Monthly_ showcases eight of our favorite venues that represent the heart of our evolution.

10/13/2010 By Mike Thelin and Karen Brooks

Food News

Two Frankies Portland Project On Hold

An anticipated collaboration between Brookyn’s bearded restaurant wonders and Stumptown’s Duane Sorensen is off the table (for now).

10/11/2010 By Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants 2010

A handful of Portland restaurateurs have helped make local cuisine a driving force in Portland life and a magnet for the foodies of the world.

10/08/2010 By Mike Thelin and Karen Brooks

Best Restaurants

2010 Best Restaurants: The Icons

Over the past few years, a handful of Portland restaurateurs have helped make local cuisine a driving force in Portland life and a magnet for the foodies of the world. Here are eight of the eateries that are defining a movement.

10/08/2010 By Karen Brooks

Sweet Food News

New pastry Chef Lauren Fortgang Sweetens Le Pigeon

Get ready for the Choco Taco

10/06/2010 By Karen Brooks

Openings

Hiro Ikegaya to open Mirakutei

Local sushi master will open Japanese-style “tapas” joint

10/06/2010 By Karen Brooks

Chef shuffle

Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker departs Foster Burger

Asian street food guru ready to launch new Japanese drinking vinegar company

09/27/2010 By Karen Brooks

Food Cart News

Spella Caffe Coffee Cart Closing October 6; People’s Pig Moves In

Micro-roaster Andrea Spella goes full-time brick-and-mortar

09/22/2010 By Karen Brooks

Openings

Little Big Burger’s Whopper Weekend

Micah Camden’s newest restaurant draws the hungry (and curious) masses.

09/21/2010 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Kristin Murray to Paley’s Place; Lauren Fortgang to Little Bird

Pastry Chefs Shuffle: Two of Portland’s most prominent dessert makers have sweet new deals.

09/09/2010 By Karen Brooks

Food News

Beast’s Naomi Pomeroy Battles the Iron Chef

Plus: she’s in the running for a cooking show of her own.

09/02/2010 By Karen Brooks