[Editor's note: As you may know, our resident food critic Chris Onstad is moving on to bubblier pastures, and while we'll miss him desperately, I'm very excited to add a new food critic to the Mercury fold—Andrea Damewood! Take it away, Andrea!—Steve]

Well, hello! I’m Andrea Damewood, and I’m honored to take the role as the Mercury's new food critic while the esteemed Chris Onstad does something super Portland like build up a craft soda company.

I’m a mild-mannered civil servant by day and your judgy highness of all things tasty come suppertime. I’m a native Oregonian who has done time in Chicago and Tokyo. I’m a consummate preparer of elaborate meals and will do anything for a good bite: Last week, I followed a stranger home from the MLK Safeway to eat ribs after bonding over the utter goodness of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce in line. I knew there was a distinct possibility shit could go all Silence of the Lambs on me. But things gladly turned out deliciously and not Hannibal-y. My new pal Mike—who runs a catering business as it turns out—showed me his $30,000 smoker the size of a horse trailer that (he says) can hold 10,000 ribs. I ate four while sitting on his overstuffed easy chair, taking large bites of crispy-on-the-outside and fatty-good-on-the-inside pork served on slices of white bread and slathered in sauce. I bought a half rack to take home. Mike threw in some more bread and, strangely, a few Sonic restaurant dipping sauces for good measure.

My byline isn't new to this city: I've spent years writing news (for The Columbian as well as Willamette Week). I spent a lot of time trying my damndest to drive a stake into the heart of the Columbia River Crossing, and now that I've moved away from news reporting, I’m hoping to focus more on steak.

I don’t start for a few weeks, but I wanted to say hey and to let you know what to expect. Let’s dish.