Harlingen...what can I say? It's not McAllen, and it's definitely not Austin, but it's a place I've had to spend some time in recently. If you have the pleasure of whiling away a few days in this lovely spot, in between nursing home visits, here are a few suggestions:
Las Vegas--local favorite since the 1960's--had an amazing dish of taquitos with marinated beef, sauteed onions and avocado, served with tomatillo sauce and fresh squeezed lime. Fresh fried tortilla chips. WOW. No booze here, but an hour wait for lunch on Friday.
Las Cazuelas--$2 margaritas, amazing Star Trek/Azteca murals, great salsa, delish beans and rice, combo plates are $6.99 and they serve barbacoa. A nice touch: vendors selling candied apples and flowers in the aisles during dinner. If this place were in Austin, it would be overrun with yuppies and four times as expensive.
Rio Grande Grill--mesquite BBQ, brisket heaven. In addition to the BBQ sauce, they offer a fantastic cilantro, garlic and olive oil sauce that elevates the experience. Good fish tacos and pulled pork enchiladas. Owners are super nice.
Lone Star: We've been coming here since 1974, when it was a little operation out of a house. Now it's expanded, but still good for steaks and BBQ. Recs are the fried mushrooms and the bobtail quail.
Hope y'all enjoy your stay in Harlingen!
We were down there again in December, and found a couple of more places you might like:
La Playa--great fajitas, a little more upscale than the other Tex-Mex joints.
Calesa--this is as close to gourmet dining as you will find in Harlingen--rack of lamb, crab cakes, some Asian fusion touches. Food was great, service was so bad it bordered on comedy.