Weslaco diner serves up homestyle burgers y mas

South Texas Flavor

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The old-fashioned double-meat burger was perfectly cooked with added bacon and cheese. (Francisco E. Jimenez | The Monitor)

WESLACO — There is a scene in the movie “Tombstone” — arguably the greatest cinematic masterpiece of all time, starring Kurt Russell as famed lawman Wyatt Earp and Val Kilmer as infamous gunfighter and subpar dentist Doc Holiday — that really resonates with me.

Doc, sick with tuberculosis — a death sentence during his lifetime — joins his friend Wyatt, along with Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, Texas Vermillion, and defector of the villainous Cowboys (not from Dallas) Sherman McMasters as they embark on the legendary Earp Vendetta Ride.

Following the fabled gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Doc, barely clinging to life and literally coughing up blood, aids his friend Wyatt as he seeks revenge after the cowardly ambush that resulted in the death of his brother, Morgan, and left his other brother, Virgil, without the use of one of his arms.

Hot on the trail of those despicable Cowboys (who haven’t even won a Super Bowl, let alone FIVE), our heroes find themselves in a tight spot — ambushed near a creek with gunfire reigning down upon them from all sides. Miraculously, Wyatt walks into a hail of gunfire and engages Curly Bill, the leader of the Cowboys — killing him with a shotgun blast to the chest.

The move prompts Doc and the others to join Wyatt in the creek, firing blindly but without fear into the brush where the Cowboys are now retreating. The very next scene shows the gang trying to make sense of what just happened. Turkey Creek Jack Johnson approaches a fatigued Doc and tells him that he should be in bed, resting and recuperating.

He then asks Doc, “What the hell you doin’ this for anyway?” Doc responds, “Wyatt Earp is my friend.”

Turkey Creek, befuddled by Doc’s answer, tells him, “Hell, I got lots of friends.”

Doc responds simply, “I don’t.”

That scene spoke to me because, like Doc, I don’t have very many friends.

But the friendships I do have are ride or die. That is how I’d describe my friendship with my brother from another mother, Tony.

I suppose I could’ve just said that he’s my best friend, but I already wrote all that other crap and I don’t feel like starting over.

The chips and salsa were the perfect appetizer. The chips were perfectly fried, and the salsa had a nice kick with its zesty flavor. (Francisco E. Jimenez | The Monitor)

Anyway, I decided to invite him to lunch, which is a big deal for us being that we are both adults with our own lives and careers. Opportunities for us to mingle have become few and far between, save for the occasional cup of coffee here and there.

We decided to do some catching-up at Salazar’s Burgers Y Mas in Weslaco. We settled on a booth near the entrance and were immediately greeted by a waitress who took our drink order and delivered some menus.

As we studied the menus and snacked on a small basket of chips and salsa, I took notice of the pictures of James Dean, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe adorning the diner’s yellow walls. The restaurant also had a continuous playlist of Elvis songs playing from the speakers.

When it came time to order our food, I couldn’t decide if I wanted a burger or mas. I asked the waitress what she might suggest, and she said the burgers or Mark’s Plate, which comes with carne guisada, two enchiladas, rice and beans. I was tempted to try that, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try one of their famous burgers. I went with the old-fashioned double-meat burger, and I added bacon and cheese.

Tony decided on the day’s lunch special, the carne guisada plate.

The carne guisada plate comes with rice, beans, and a salad. The meat was tender, perfectly seasoned, and had almost no fat. (Francisco E. Jimenez | The Monitor)

It was when our food arrived that I learned something new about my good friend: He is a carne guisada connoisseur, and judging by the way he massacred his meal (as if he was seeking long awaited revenge) I could tell that it was top notch. And I was there to join him for the ride.

“It’s really good, plain and simple,” he said. “It was delicious. It didn’t even need any salt.”

He described the meat as very tender with no fat on it. He compared the carne guisada to what one might find at a Mexican wedding. As he recalled some other carne guisada dishes, he became visibly upset as memories of sub-par carne guisada experiences creeped in.

“Who puts green peas in carne guisada?” he asked, with rage in his eyes.

There’s really not much to say about my burger. It was an amazing, homestyle burger. The patties were fully-cooked, but not dry, and the fries were fresh, warm and soft. It was exactly what you’d want from a burger that isn’t from a fast food restaurant.

Salazar’s Burgers Y Mas is located at ​​553 W. Pike Blvd. They are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays.