El Papalote - S. Lamar
Figured I'd start a thread since the only mentions of this place are in other threads.
It's a new taco joint owned by Azul Tequila that specializes in slow cooked guisadas.
I've gone to El Papalote twice this week. Very good but some room for improvement. There's about 10 guisada taco fillings to choose from. I've the pork in a pipian sauce, another pork in a spicy sauce, a turkey in a sweet green sauce. I also had an alambre taco (grilled steak) which was dry and bland. All the guisadas I've had are great and a huge change of pace from standard taco places where usually the only slow cooked options are barbacoa and carne guisada. There's two salsas provided, green and red. Both are unique and definitely not like any others I can recall in town. Both are good. Lunch plate special of 2 tacos, rice, good refried black beans, and a tea is $6.50 or $7.04 after tax. Good deal. The only drawback is the tortillas. Standard Austin store bought flour and corn tortillas. There's not much room back there to make em homemade so maybe that's why they don't. Overall, I'll definitely go here for lunch every week or two. There's other items on the menu but I don't remember what they are.
My husband's a veg, and they have some good veg options, too, fried cauliflower and avocado tacos, a green pepper thing, and one of the corn dishes. You'll need some time with the menu unless you're super-familiar with interior Mexican, it's not your standard Tex Mex fare. Super good.
Was just there last week - mixed feelings. Completely agree about the tortilla situation - fixing that would elevate everything. Also agree that the guisadas are the way to go...but I'm not 100% sure that they are worth a special trip. Tried the pork pipian - good, but not El Meson pipian good.
Tried the carnitas - not very exciting. Tried the alambre - we actually really liked this but it was weird - I think there was bacon in it, along with steak (ours wasn't too dry) and rajas. Tasty.
Those two salsas might be worth a return trip - heavy garlic flavor in the red one, and both were, as achtungpv said, unique and yummy.
Did not like the cauliflower at all - was not expecting basically cauliflower mush, cold, with unflavored shredded cabbage on top.
Definitely going to go back to try more - I like the whole fancy-taco thing...experimenting with combinations and flavors is always good....as long as the results are good too!
5808 Burleson Rd, Austin, TX 78744
We ate here tonight and I think they might have sorted things out because everything we had was really well-made. The al pastor, while not quite Rosita's, was very tasty with a hint of spice. The carnitas were just how they should be - not boiled and mushy, but crispy on the edges. The cauliflower taco was really outstanding - a cauliflower fritter in guajillo sauce. Not cold at all. The torta pipian wasn't on enormous bread like Chuy's Panaderia is, but the shredded pork filling was very flavorful. My husband enjoyed his chicharrones and lengua. The green sauce is habit-forming. We will definitely be back.
I've mostly only been for the breakfast tacos, which I found to be rather standard fare, but those salsas make it a more regular stop for me than some closer taco carts.
I will say that on one of my non-breakfast stops, I tried the turkey mole torta. I'm not an expert on mole, but it was really tasty with some pretty complex flavors, some I couldn't quite place.