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. 

far reach of the blues

Review: ‘It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues’

And the blues ain’t never been so good. Thru June 24

05/29/2012 By Aaron Scott


Survival of the Rosiest

The subject is roses and Plantwise writer Kate Bryant has some budding advice.

05/25/2012 By Kate Bryant

Cellar Notes

Tap Dance

What's on tap? Wine! Enjoy premium Oregon vino straight from the keg.

05/24/2012 By Condé Cox

what's new

Specialty Annuals

keep an eye out for unusual annual flowers this spring!

05/21/2012 By Kate Bryant

portland music compilation of record

PDX Pop Now! Announces Its 2012 Compilation Album Lineup and Release Show

June 7 at Holocene with Sun Angle, Wild Ones, Hollywood Tans, Rose, DJ Porsche Cayenne

05/21/2012 By Aaron Scott

Look For Less

DIY Neon Sandals

One pair of shoes, two looks! Neon dancing queen by night, your own stylish self by day.

05/17/2012 By Eden Dawn


Inside Carpaccio Trattoria

Chef Francesco Solda’s neighborhood Italian eatery opens its doors in the former Belly space on NE MLK, offering made-to-order risotto, fresh salads, a...

05/14/2012 By Allison Jones


Lauro Kitchen to Reopen as a New Duane Sorenson Restaurant

At the end of May, the pioneering SE Division Street restaurant will shutter to make way for a new project from Portland’s indie coffee king and buddin...

05/11/2012 By Karen Brooks

Q & A

Q&A with Natasha Djuhandi

Five questions with one of our favorite fashion photogs.

05/10/2012 By Eden Dawn


Lardo and the Sugar Cube Come to Hawthorne

In a new culinary experiment from ChefStable, two food carts will pool resources for an indoor/outdoor sandwich shop and dessert truck, opening in June.

05/08/2012 By Karen Brooks


Doggie Dash Dining Guide

We’ve got the lowdown on where to bring your pooch this Saturday for a bite (to eat) after the 25th Annual Doggie Dash.

05/08/2012 By Sara Gates


Xico Coming to Division

This summer, a pair of food-savvy Nostrana vets will unleash a love of chiles, chocolate, and fresh-ground cornmeal on Portland’s thriving “Eat Street.”

05/02/2012 By Karen Brooks

Beer Bulletin

Vote Early (and Often)

Asheville, Shmashville. Portland is Beer City USA!

05/01/2012 By John Chandler

Culinary Competition

Saint Cupcake’s Top Mom Contest

Think your mom is the best of the best? Tell Saint Cupcake why and you could win a fully-catered breakfast in bed, care of Cupcake Goddess Jami Curl.

04/30/2012 By Allison Jones


Tree Titan

He speaks for the trees.

04/27/2012 By Bill Lascher


Salt & Straw Debuts on NW 23rd

The second location of Kim Malek’s nationally-recognized ice cream shop has opened its doors to the cone-craving public, complete with one-of-a-kind la...

04/27/2012 By Allison Jones


Five Questions with… Rebecca Gates

Former Spinanes singer Rebecca Gates calls it a comeback.

04/27/2012 By Robert Ham

Eat Here Now

Robo Taco

Robo Taco's kitschy decor and rock 'n' roll lifestyle belies the amazing flavors found in their $2 tacos.

04/26/2012 By Benjamin Tepler


Eat Beat Neighborhood News

Top food news stories from around Portland, including the opening of What’s The Scoop? Ice Cream shop and the launch of French Café Tuesdays at Corkscr...

04/24/2012 By Allison Jones

UFO Oregon

A Guide to Oregon’s Extraterrestrial Past and Present!

To celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the state’s most famous UFO sighting, we probed experts and skeptics for a guide to our otherworldly history.

04/20/2012 By Martin Patail