I Can Eat 50 Eggs: Papalote Taco House

In honor of Paul Newman and “Cool Hand Luke,” I’ll review 50 days of eggs from 50 different restaurants.
Day 22: Papalote Taco House
2803 S. Lamar Blvd. 804-2474, www.yumpapalote.com.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.22.12
Temptation is strong at Papalote. Strong enough to chuck this egg project just long enough to have a fried cauliflower taco ($3.25), a union of crunch and twang and cool cabbage that transcends the tiny taqueria heart beating inside this franchise-ready shop on South Lamar.
The second temptation is a Torta Cubano ($8) with every meat and vegetable in the store: ham, bacon, franks, head cheese, avocado, tomato. And a fried egg. But a 50-part tribute to the egg demands more than just cracking one over the top of a Twister knot.
I’m on a mission, and so the breakfast taco gets a moment to shine, however humbly. At Papalote, the all-day breakfast taco starts with eggs and two more ingredients for $1.95. In one, they folded shredded beef and cactus directly into the egg, like a soft frittata, then added tomato for 25 cents. The meat strings along like roast beef in generous amounts, set off by the earthy green fiber of cactus cut in flat squares, its taste similar to cooked celery but not as fibrous.
Another taco brought together salty shards of ham with egg and avocado that wasn’t so much sliced as shaved. It’s a taco you’ve had before in little shops around town, and neither taco gets the handmade flour tortilla that makes those other shops more memorable.
Salsa bonus: The green and orange-red salsas in squeeze bottles were made the same day I was in Papalote, and either one would wake up an everyday breakfast taco. They’ll certainly open your eyes, if only to blink away the tears.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)
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