May 19, 2009 Published in the August 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

When reading about Slow Bar’s hamburger (“The Art of Eating Cheaply,” June 2008), I noticed that in the description of the meat, it reads, “By cooking the patty on a flat grill, cooks can seal in the meat’s juices, as opposed to charbroiling, which can leave the diner with a wizened hockey puck.”

According to Harold McGee, world-renowned authority on the chemistry of foods and cooking, the statement, “Sear the meat to seal in the juices,” has been disproved. “The crust that forms around the surface of the meat is not waterproof,” McGee says in his book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. “The continuing sizzle of meat in the pan or oven or on the grill is the sound of moisture continually escaping and vaporizing. In fact, moisture loss is proportional to meat temperature, so the high heat of searing actually dries out the meat surface more than moderate heat does. But searing does flavor the surface …”

Rock Creek

I loved your Mudroom story about the stuff left behind on Mount Hood after the snow melts (“Booty Call,” June 2008). I moved to Oregon from Minnesota, and every year there, after all the snow on our street melted away, we were amazed by what we found: cars parked on top of other cars, lots of shoes—never a body, though. I always wondered about a place like Mount Hood. Thanks for the update!


What a surprise to find myself seated at your Perfect Party table (June 2008). The irony is that I wanted to leave the play during intermission, but my partner refused to go. The letter writer was hit by a flying plate thrown by an actor at Artists Repertory Theatre’s opening night of A Streetcar Named Desire.] Good thing, or ?I would have been deprived of a story I can dine out on for years—and I would have lost my place at the table.

Southwest Portland

I am writing in response to a letter in the July issue of Portland Monthly regarding the recent advertisement for Beast restaurant (featured in the June 2008 edition). I find it unfortunate that someone who is interested in a city as “progressive” as Portland would be so opposed to the depiction of a viewpoint that is contrary to her own. The point of a progressive society is the integration and acceptance of a multitude of viewpoints, not the singling out and censuring of those points of view contrary to our own (or contrary to those of an extreme subset of American society, whatever it may be).

That particular ad, the one in which one of the owners of Beast is cradling her fare in such a loving, motherly manner, is one of the best I have ever seen in your magazine, and it continues to instill in me the idea that this is a city open to many points of view, not a popular, single-track (and close-minded) system of thought. Which is one of the reasons I moved here in the first place.

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I commend the owners of Beast for being proud of their love for animals, and Portland Monthly for having run the ad.

Southeast Portland

I have to agree with Shauna Saling’s assessment (Letters, July 2008) that the ad for the new restaurant Beast is disturbing, disgusting, and in poor taste. Your magazine is probably not in charge of creating those ads, but merely placing them, and I was glad that in the latest issue the ad was at least on a page I could remove without losing content (unlike last month’s issue).  

Unlike Saling, I won’t be canceling my subscription to Portland Monthly, but I also won’t be visiting Beast. It’s a shame, because I like to support new talent, and chef Naomi Pomeroy would certainly be someone to support. 

If, by chance, your magazine were in charge of creating the ad, I would implore you to rethink your strategy, especially in a market such as Portland, where the number of vegetarians, vegans, and animal rights activists surely matches or exceeds their meat-eating counterparts. And far from being amusing or irreverent, the image is just downright offensive, and certainly not a very good advertisement for what appears to be an upscale dining establishment.

Southeast Portland

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