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September 23rd, 2009 KELLY CLARKE | Headout
 

Block Party

Micah Camden wants to feed you.

     
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ILLUSTRATION: Jason Rainey

When most people wanna say thanks, they send a card or an email. When Micah Camden wants to say thanks, he makes the whole city dinner. Camden is the goofy, endearingly bloviating restaurant honcho and chef behind not two, not three, but four restaurants crowded around the intersection of Northeast Killingsworth Street and 30th Avenue. The 30-year-old former L.A. makeup artist often explains that he shifted gears from faces to food after seeing chef Todd English celebrated as one of “Sexiest Men in America” in a magazine (“he was up there with Tom frickin’ Cruise”). But Camden’s not all jokes. The self-taught chef has also managed to open a quartet of well-regarded eateries—and keep them running—in a market where other owners are struggling to keep one afloat: Three years ago, he started with Japanese pub Yakuza; in 2007, Beast, the prix fixe dinner house he co-owns with chef Naomi Pomeroy (Camden is not involved in the kitchen at Beast), moved in next door. Italian kitchen DOC debuted in 2008 a block down 30th Avenue, and just this summer, his British pub called Fats took over the corner spot Grolla once called home. This Monday, Camden and his biz partner Dayna McErlean celebrate the “birthdays” of all four operations by throwing open the doors of Yakuza, DOC and Fats to Portland at large, and offering free food and cheap drinks for all, from free sushi and “killer” mini Kobe beef burgers to Italian crostini and Scotch eggs. (Beast will not be participating in the Block Party.) “We’ve had a pretty dreamy three years—four restaurants, three years, one corner; that’s pretty cool,” he explains. “It’s just a thank you to everybody who comes [to eat].... People in the neighborhood like me—or loathe me—I make that kind of impression. I’m clumsy, I babble, and it seems to work.” The party will also herald the start of a long happy hour (3 to 7:30 pm daily) and dinner service for formerly brunch-only Fats. The new menu’s packed with Camden’s Brit experiments, including crunchy-good chicken liver-and-onion sandwich and a Fats burger served with Welsh rarebit. Not surprisingly, though, Camden is already onto his next venture. “It’s a bar,” he hints. “And it’ll be located within the Camden Corner hemisphere.”


GORGE: The Camden Corner Block Party takes place along Northeast 30th Avenue between Northeast Emerson and Jarrett streets at Yakuza, Fats and DOC restaurants. Beast will not be participating in the Block Party.7-10 pm Monday, Sept. 28. Free entry.

Headout Picks

THURSDAY SEPT. 24


[MUSIC] SKREAM
Portland, meet dubstep, the U.K.’s dirty little half sister to grime and two-step that’ll have you dancing all night long. Rotture, 315 SE 3rd Ave., 234-5683. 9 pm. $13 advance, $16 day of show. 21+.

[DISH] INDULGE @ THE JUPITER
Local distilleries take over rooms at the Jupiter Hotel, while Le Pigeon, Biwa, Navarre and Laurelhurst Market provide nibbles. Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside St., 230-9200. 6-10 pm. $30.

FRIDAY SEPT. 25


[MUSIC] WHITE RAINBOW
Adam Forkner of White Rainbow previews material from his forthcoming joint, New Cloud, set to drop in October. The Artistery, 4315 SE Division St., 803-5942. 8 pm. $6. All ages.

SATURDAY SEPT. 26


[BALLS OUT] PORTLAND JUGGLING AND VAUDEVILLE EXTRAVAGANZA
Local and international vaudeville stars perform at Benson High School, including Russia’s Pavel Ruzhilo, America’s Sean Blue, and Portland’s Rhys Thomas, Charlie Brown, Curt Carlyle and Leapin’ Louie Lichtenstein. Benson High School Auditorium, 546 NE 12th Ave., 233-2577. 7 pm. $8-$16.

[JUNK FUNK] WEDDING IN VEGAS
SCRAP and Opera Theater Oregon raise cash by hosting a crazy recycled wedding, with DIY bouquets and veils, and Live Opera Jukebox belting out Vegas-style showtune requests from the audience. CMD Agency, 1631 NW Thurman St. 7 pm. $20. Tickets at scrapaction.org

MONDAY SEPT. 28


[SCREEN] LATE-NIGHT DOUBLE-FEATURE PICTURE SHOW
We’ve been delightedly following the twin-bill movie screenings at Boxxes, the bright-red downtown gay bar with eclectic cinematic taste. And this week is our favorite yet: An 8:30 pm screening of Showgirls is followed by a 10:30 showing of SLC Punk. The more you think about it, the more obvious this pairing seems. Boxxes Video Bar, 1035 SW Stark St., 226-4171. 8:30 pm. Free.

TUESDAY SEPT. 29


[MUSIC] LADYHAWKE, IDA MARIA
Perez Hilton might be a huge d-bag, but at least for a night, he has great taste in pop music. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 8 pm. $20 advance, $23 day of show. All ages.
 
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