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. 


Blurring the Borders

Smallwares and Aviary think global—without the boundaries.

06/22/2012 By Karen Brooks

To Read

Diggin’ In With Michelle

Ms. Obama digs into the dirt and dishes on what’s growing in America’s home gardens.

06/17/2012 By Kristin Belz

Beauty Beat

Esthetician Advice

Looking for the newest tricks in skin care? Meet Lake Oswego esthetician Marina Volod.

06/13/2012 By Eden Dawn


Uncork the New Oregon Wine App

Local wine expert Katherine Cole has launched a new on-the-go app for Oregon wine lovers, perfect for picking a new favorite at your neighborhood bottle shop...

06/12/2012 By Allison Jones


Sterling Coffee’s New Brew

Sterling Coffee Roasters spearheads a quality-first union and unveils what is surely the world’s first nano coffee shop/wine bar.

06/06/2012 By Karen Brooks


Boxer Sushi

The execution of Micah Camden’s new sushi venture struggles despite its appealing SE Portland design and fresh fish.

06/06/2012 By Benjamin Tepler

in the loop

Art News Highlights: MAY 2012

Arts orgs made a few major moves this month. Here’s a dry-as-toast summary with links to the juicy details.

06/02/2012 By Anne Adams


Pickathon Nosh Preview

The annual farm-fresh Indie Roots festival just outside of Portland isn’t just a celebration of great tunes—we’ve got the scoop on the fest...

06/01/2012 By Allison Jones

Brand Spankin' New

Backdoor Vintage

A new place in town to snap up your polyester goods.

05/31/2012 By Eden Dawn

Go Here Now

The Driftwood Room

Go back in time to a more sophisticated scene at the Hotel Deluxe.

05/30/2012 By Brandy Crowe

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