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. 


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

plant sale

Friends of Trees Fruit Tree Give-Away (Practically)

- Celebrate Earth Day (April 22) by planting a tree. (But first, you have to buy the tree!)

04/19/2012 By Kate Bryant


Taste Washington Ticket Giveaway

Eat Beat’s snagged a pair tickets to Taste Washington Portland—the annual food and wine event that’s taking over Pure Space in the Pearl on...

04/16/2012 By Allison Jones

break out your calendars

The 2012/2013 Season(s) Announced!

04/12/2012 By Aaron Scott

Food & Drink Events

Serious Eats and Trash Talk

Yamhill Valley battles Riverbend Landfill/Waste Management with world-class snacks and sips in McMinnville.

04/10/2012 By Karen Brooks

gallery grazing

First Thursday Sampler

04/05/2012 By Aaron Scott


Plan Your Conquest at The Conquistador

This new neighborhood favorite is half dark-and-comfortable dive, half dreamy vegetarian darling nestled on the one-way stretch of SE Belmont, serving up Sou...

04/05/2012 By Allison Jones


Last-Minute Easter Plans

Still looking for a reason to go out to eat this Easter? We’ve got a guide for the procrastinating and spontaneous.

04/04/2012 By Allison Jones


Don't Pass on the Macaroons

Enjoy and indulge in another seasonal celebration – and easy desserts.

04/03/2012 By Kristin Belz

crazy enough to work

Oprah & Rosie Endorse Storm Large

Portland singer and newly-minted memoir author gets a national boost from two powerful women.

03/26/2012 By Anne Adams


Loving the Loot

The NW 19th Avenue shop is a welcome addition to Portland’s new design and décor row.

03/26/2012 By Kristin Belz

Restaurant Review

Decadence Returns

Behind artistic French compositions and towering soufflés, Noisette brings a taste of luxury to casual Portland.

03/23/2012 By Karen Brooks

Editor’s Note

Ready, Aim, Grow

Portlanders owe a debt to the botanical bounty and plant prowess of John and Lilla Leach.

03/23/2012 By Randy Gragg

Fashion News

Open Season Lineup

Want to know who’s showing at Sandbox Studio this year? We got the list.

03/21/2012 By Eden Dawn


Carrot Cake to Celebrate College Hoops

Transforming March muddiness into March Madness and an excuse for a party.

03/19/2012 By Kristin Belz


Pearls of the World Exhibit

Learn about the oldest (and classiest) gem.

03/15/2012 By Eden Dawn

Weekend Away

Spring Break Escapes

25 prime places—near and far—to while away your week (or weekend)


Fashion News

Designer Call for Open Season Fashion Show

Want to be in a fancy fashion show? Act fast.

03/13/2012 By Eden Dawn


New Restaurant to Occupy Former Fenouil Space

The folks behind the Davis Street Tavern have released the first details about jamison, the next eatery to make its home in the gorgeous space off Jamison Sq...

03/02/2012 By Allison Jones