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. 


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

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