Towering at six and a half feet, with a scruffy beard and a barrel of a chest, Tastebud’s Mark Doxtader effortlessly carves a wide swath through the Portland State University farmers market’s ceaseless crowds, greeting veteran vendors and popping kale flowers in his mouth along the way. Just as he’s done nearly every Saturday for the past 13 years, Doxtader combs market before the opening bell, trading Tastebud’s wood-fired pizzas and bagels in return for fresh pea shoots and rhubarb stalks to transform into salads and cobblers back at his booth.
On a recent Saturday, we shadowed Doxtader on a hunt to assemble the consummate breakfast taco. His cherry-picked ingredients hail from some of Portland’s brightest new farms: a dairy producer brandishing nine-pound wheels of creamy, “blueless” blue cheese (without the funky mold), a tortilla doyenne grinding fresh corn masa, and a butcher shop selling intensely marbled Wagyu beef and pork jowl bacon.* The result is breakfast à la Doxtader, with unadulterated flavors and an unfussy approach to fresh ingredients. But the concept is endlessly improvisational and meant to be tailored to your taste buds—don’t hesitate to throw in fresh corn, snap peas, or even pumpkin as summer unfolds.
*Note: farmers market vendors come and go with the seasons. If you can't find the exact farm you're looking for, don't despair: you can find an equally delicious alternative somewhere else at the market.
THE DOXTADER BREAKFAST TACO
1. Masa or tortilla (Three Sisters Nixtamal)
Roll masa into walnut-size balls, place between two pieces of plastic wrap, press into a tortilla using a pot or cutting board, and heat in a cast-iron skillet for one minute on each side. (Premade tortillas are also available.)
2. Duck Eggs (Dancing Chicken Farm)
Duck eggs make for a richer, fluffier scramble. Add butter and eggs to a cold, nonstick skillet, turn heat to medium, and scramble eggs with a fork, adding cheese, salt, and pepper as they finish.
3. Pluvias Cheese (Willapa Hills)
Crumble bits of this creamy, cratered, blue-style cow’s milk cheese to melt into the scrambled duck eggs as they cook.
4. Pork Jowl Bacon (Pono Farm)
This flavor-packed cheek bacon is soaked in a brown-sugar brine for two weeks and smoked over apple and cherry wood. Slice it into 1/8-inch lardons, and fry over medium heat until crispy.
5. Market Slaw (Spring Hill Farm, Groundworks Organics, Gathering Together Farm)
(Makes about 1 quart of slaw)
- 3 cups finely shredded green cabbage or Italian kale
- 1 cup thinly sliced French breakfast radishes
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced green scallions
- ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 pinch chile flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
COMBINE vegetables in a bowl, toss with lemon juice and olive oil, season with chile flakes, salt, and pepper, and scatter on taco.