You can find good food in unexpected places in Austin. In other cities I've lived in, strip-mall restaurants were usually best avoided.
Here though, strip malls are perfectly good (sometimes really good) places to find restaurants.
Papalote Taco House, which shares a block with a ThunderCloud Subs shop, looks kind of surf-y on the outside, and has very good tacos inside.
For a small place, they have some excellent vegetarian options. Their tortillas are store bought, but the corn tortillas are simple and nice and corny.
I don't think I've ever left the place without eating one of their Tortas de Coliflor tacos. The tortas are little cakes of cooked and mashed cauliflower mixed with cheese, fried and coated with a bittersweet guajillo chili sauce. Topped with a little bit of shredded cabbage, queso fresco, and a sliver of avocado, they're salty, sweet, spicy, and a little bitter.
And though the guajillo sauce is spicy, I can't resist a little bit of their green sauce.
|Tortas de coliflor and hongos y epazote tacos|
The Mushroom y Epazote taco is earthy and rich, with lots of chewy hominy. (I like to mix the red and green sauces on this one.)