Versatile Dallas Photographer Marquel Plavan Finds Comfort In Her Go-To Oatmeal Order From Her Home Away From Home In Oak Cliff.

Welcome to a new pandemic-era series on Central Track called Photographers On Food, in which provide various Dallas-area photographers a small budget with which to buy themselves takeout or delivery from a local restaurant they love, and then ask that they shoot that order in a creative way before chowing down. In publishing these photos, we hope to to help keep food on the table of local photographers and to highlight some great area dining establishments that are working through these times the best we can.  

Dallas-based creative Marquel Plavan isn’t just the portrait, wedding and brand photographer she initially presents herself as being.

Make no mistake: The multi-hyphenate dabbles in videography, drawing, graphic design and writing, too.

That last title makes particular sense in terms of her submission into this ongoing series. There’s a unique story behind her contribution here — and one she tells rather well, if we may say, in the interview answers accompanying the shot she took of her favorite oatmeal offering at her beloved Oak Cliff home away from home, Tribal All Day Cafe.

Scroll down to see her shot as well as the thoughtful backstory behind it.

The Photos:

The Interview:

What restaurant did you choose?
Tribal All Day Cafe in Oak Cliff.

Why Tribal All Day Cafe?
Tribal has been an integral part of my life for the past couple of years. The environment is comfortable and upbeat, the food is fantastic and the community that surrounds it can’t be beat. Before shelter-in-place, I think I went to Tribal at least four days a week to get work done, hang out with friends or even meet up with clients. The entire menu is creative and delicious, but I’m a creature of habit and I find it hard not to order my same tried-and-true dishes every time.

How about the meal? Specifically, what did you choose, and what made you pick this one?
As lame or weird as it sounds, oatmeal is one of my all-time favorite foods. I could have it at any time of the day, and it’s not uncommon for me to make oatmeal for dinner. I’m from Sacramento and, growing up, my dad and I would frequent a local cafe there called Orphan Breakfast House in the early hours of the morning before he dropped me off at school and went to work. Orphan also had a fantastic menu — but almost every single time, I’d order their Six Dollar Oatmeal. When I moved to Dallas, I’d always look forward to my visits home — both to see my parents and to have my favorite oatmeal. Tribal is the closest I’ve come to having that dish again, and it shares many of Orphan’s familiar characteristics. They’re both small, local businesses, with an upbeat team and an emphasis on wholesome foods.

What’s the best memory you’ve got of this place?
There are so many, it’s difficult to narrow down to one. I’ve cultivated so many friendships there, took my bridesmaids there for my morning-after bachelorette party brunch and spent countless lovely summer days on their patio. I think that the most simple, anecdotal memory I can give is this: One afternoon, I was in a hit-and-run and came into Tribal afterwards. One of the employees could tell that I was having a rough day, and whipped up a fun, customized cocktail for me on the house. It wasn’t busy at that time of day, so we ended up talking for a while, and it definitely lifted my spirits.

Why did you decide to shoot your oatmeal this way?
Oatmeal has a very home-y feeling for me — not only because of its traditional coziness, but because of the nostalgia it brings me and its presence throughout my childhood. Therefore, I decided to emulate the sense of home and warmth in the photo set up.

How do you feel about how the photo came out?
Pretty good! I wanted it to come across as naturally and familiar as possible, and I feel like it achieved that.

Where can people see more of what you’re working on?
I’m always sharing little bits and bobs that I’m working on over on my Instagram @yourgirlmark and on my website.

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