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. 

Food Lover's Guide to Portland

The Food Lover's Guide to Global Foods

Mexican cuisine is soaring in popularity. So where can we find the finest and freshest ingredients?

08/23/2012 By Karen Brooks

Opening Watch

Trent Pierce's Roe Ready to Go

Trent Pierce returns to his seafood roots with his new restaurant-inside-a-restaurant concept.

08/22/2012 By Allison Jones

Food Cart City

Pod Perfection

Mississippi Marketplace: N Mississippi Ave, south of Skidmore St

08/20/2012 By Karen Brooks

Pizza

Master Class

The search is over. We've got the list of all the best pizzas from around the Portland area. Find a new sensational gourmet pizza pie in your neighborhood.

08/19/2012 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Bunk’s New Restaurant: Tex Mex–Loving Trigger

In October, Portland’s sandwich kings will go underground with a rock ‘n’ roll Tex-Mex eatery beneath the Wonder Ballroom on NE Russell Str...

08/15/2012 By Karen Brooks

NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS

Eat Beat’s News to Chew

Top food news stories from around Portland, including the opening of Xico on Division and Whey Bar, Ox Restaurant’s new booze-fueled waiting area.

08/14/2012 By Allison Jones

Article

Portland’s Best Breakfast Spots

In Portland, land of the food-crazy, nothing trumps breakfast. Consider this your wake-up call: the city’s best dishes, biscuits, Bloody Marys, and more. Dig...

08/13/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie and Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Corazon: RIP

After three months of misfires, ChefStable’s Kurt Huffman pulls the plug on his high-profile Mexican eatery.

08/05/2012 By Karen Brooks

BREAKING FOOD NEWS

Speakeasy Below the Ace Hotel

Eat Beat confirms that Nate Tilden’s secret Spanish bocadillo shop and underground bar run by Jeffrey Morgenthaler will open late September.

08/04/2012 By Benjamin Tepler

EAT HERE NOW

D Street Noshery Rises

Behind righteous Israeli falafel and big flavors from Guam, SE Division’s playful pod is now a noteworthy food destination.

08/01/2012 By Karen Brooks

Design Guide

Getting Into the Garage Groove

An unofficial guide to the principles of great (or at least good) garages.

07/29/2012 By Kristin Belz

bright lights, big love

World Premiere: Logan Lynn’s New Music Video, "Turn Me Out"

The electro-pop darling "just want[s] your love"

07/24/2012 By Aaron Scott

Feature

Best New Bars 2012

Portland's newest wave of watering holes is redefining the local drinking culture all over again. Pull up a stool and learn about the places, drinks, and trends leading the way.

07/19/2012 Edited by Rachel Ritchie With Benjamin Tepler and Allison Jones

Article

Cult of the Cannelé

Courier Coffee Roasters and Ken's Artisan Bakery conquer France's most finicky pastry.

07/18/2012 By Karen Brooks

Cover Story

8 Great Northwest Swimming Holes

Our guide to close-in swimming holes doles out details on where to get wet, whether you’re a family of four looking for calm waters (and close-by restrooms) or an adventurous couple seeking a secluded spot to soak up the sun.

07/17/2012 By Kasey Cordell

read up/listen in

Love Rock Revolution: The Soundtrack

07/16/2012 By Anne Adams

gallery grazing

First Thursday Sampler

07/05/2012 By Aaron Scott

OPENING WEEK

Inside What’s the Scoop? Ice Cream Shop

Eat Beat’s got the photos and first bites from What’s the Scoop?’s ice cream epicenter on North Williams Avenue, now open.

07/02/2012 By Allison Jones

NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS

Eat Beat Weekly Planner

Our digest of Portland’s top upcoming food and drink events, including St. Honoré Boulangerie’s Tour de France coverage and Portland bike race, the Nor...

06/25/2012 By Allison Jones

Review

Blurring the Borders

Smallwares and Aviary think global—without the boundaries.

06/22/2012 By Karen Brooks