A modern throwback to the speakeasies of the prohibition era, The Centennial Club in McAllen powerfully captures the feel of the 20s era style with rich and luxurious decorations, drinks, and designs. If you want to revisit the Roaring 20s at cocktail hour or have a succulent, scrumptious meal, The Centennial Club is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
The Texas Bucket List – The Big Texan
Everything is bigger in Texas – especially the steaks! The 72 ounce steak challenge at The Big Texan in Amarillo is no easy feat. Serving as an establishment to perpetuate the Texas traditions and customs that make this state great, The Big Texan will give their customers a FREE 72 oz steak with all of the fixin’s – but there’s a catch! Can we finish the steak within an hour and join the World’s Most Exclusive 72 oz. Steak Club? Add this one to your own Texas Bucket List – if you dare!
The Texas Bucket List – Cocoamoda in Calvert
CALVERT, Texas – Over in Robertson County, in between Waco and Bryan, you’ll find the quiet community of Calvert. With a population just over 1,000 you wouldn’t expect to find more than just your typical antique shops and kolache stops, but if you happen upon Cocoamoda, you’ll come across one the most unique, interesting, and exquisite stops on Highway 6.
Chef Ken Wilkinson isn’t from these parts. He hails from jolly old England but now he considers himself something else.
“I’m Texan,” Ken explained. “My wife is Texan.”
Yes, this Texan that happens to hail from London, and his wife Jacqueline own this chocolate shop that has some of the most decadent and delightful desserts.
“They could very well be considered artwork but really it’s for the eating,” Ken said. “It’s for the flavor. It’s for the knowledge that you’re eating something absolutely fresh and nice.”
Ken has been a chef for over 45 years, even though he claims to be 36. While he appears to be a bit older than that, it seems his chocolate might be keeping him young at heart.
Ken’s career in cooking all started in London where he first worked in a kitchen during his teens, by his 20’s he was a head chef, by his 30’s he headed up 43 restaurants in and around London. He even served the Royal Family on Sundays. But a chance to consult with a line of restaurant and hotels in Houston lead him to an adventure he never saw coming.
For a few years, the comical chef had his own cable cooking show and was earning a lot of clams. Eventually the show was cancelled and Ken needed something to do.
“Then I started twittling my thumbs and thinking, ‘My goodness haven’t I always thought that I would like to start a chocolate business,’” Ken said.
Instead of opening his confection creation in a big ol city, Ken instead opted for a more centralized Texas location with some old world charm. When he found the old Calvert State Bank building built in 1870, he knew he had found his factory.
“I really thought it spoke European quality, the whole building,” Ken said. “You could airlift this to any major city in Europe the whole building and nobody would question the ability of it haven been built there.”
With some flavors you wouldn’t expect to find, such as bourbon, lemon, praline, and key lime, Ken’s chocolates are creations you won’t find in any old cookbook.
Each morsel is way more amazing than you might imagine. You see each one of these little chocolates takes three days to make, start to finish, and what’s inside might surprise you.
With exotic insides like Madagascar Vanilla beans, Persian saffron, even roses imported from India, you’re sure to find a sweet sensation you’ve never tasted before.
“My pride won’t allow me to use anything but the best ingredients,” Ken said. “Every ingredient is thought about.”
But there seems to be so much more to each one of these chocolates. It’s as if Ken has found a way to add his elegance, charm, and witty banter to each of his creations.
“It’s about following your passion. Being passionate about what you do,” En said. “Living life to the fullest.”
Leann Schroeder and Chris Nixon drove an hour to try these treats.
“Well I was a merchant marine so I’ve been around the world and I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate from a lot of different places,” Chris said. “It’s hard to beat this stuff.”
All Texans have a sweet spot for the Lone Star State but now the state has a sweet spot of its own thanks to a man from England, a town frozen in time, and delicacy that comes from deep within the heart of Texas.
“I’m proud of Texas and I really wanted to put Texas on the map for chocolates,” Ken said. “Why the heck not? Why not give the French a run for their money? You know what I mean? Texas can certainly do it.”
The Texas Bucket List – Los Ebanos Ferry Crossing
The town of Los Ebanos down on the southern Texas border boasts one of the last hand-pulled ferries in the United States. Hearkening back to its days as a ferry for soldiers across the sparkling waters of the Rio Grande, the Lost Ebanos Ferry now serves as a simple, slow way to mosey across the border. For any Texan, it’s well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List!
The Texas Bucket List – XIT Museum
Everything is bigger in Texas, and so is our rangeland! The XIT Museum in Dalhart stands as a testament to the pastures and plains roped into the XIT Ranch property in the 1880s. Learn about the history of the largest ranch in Texas, the cowboys, the cattle, and the well-worn saddles that make this trip well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List!
The Texas Bucket List – Pinballz Arcade
Flashing lights, ringing bells, and mechanical melodies – Pinballz Arcade in Austin has all this and more! Featuring more than 250 arcade machines, there’s fun and games for the young and old alike. From pinball to skill shot games, this is a stop you won’t want to miss on The Texas Bucket List.
The Texas Bucket List – Tower of the Americas
Witness glorious views at one of the tallest observatories in the nation. The Tower of the Americas in San Antonio is an observatory with a restaurant where you can wine and dine and see all 360 degrees of the surrounding area. Be sure to stay for a sunset, because it’s well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List!
The Texas Bucket List – Ben Wheeler Parts 1 & 2
By accident, we discovered that the town of Ben Wheeler was more than just a pit stop between shoots for The Texas Bucket List. The allure of the town and it’s history made us want to know more, just as it captured the attention of the man who rebuilt the former ghost town. Stay tuned for Part 2 as we dig deeper to learn about the man who made Ben Wheeler into the artisan hub that it is today.
In the second half of the episode, we learn about Brooks Gremmels and his dream to restore the town of Ben Wheeler. The town remembers the legacy of this man who, at the time of our visit, had recently succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Visit this close-knit community and feel the love they have for their arts, their crafts, and their benefactor. It’s more than well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
The Texas Bucket List – Elissa
Moored at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston, Tall Ship ELISSA has been sailing since 1877. Don’t miss a chance to sail the seas on a vessel of old by becoming a volunteer, as sailing on the ship is not currently open to the general public – but you can tour her decks while she’s docked! You’ll need a little seafaring grit to cross this one off the list. Well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List!
The Texas Bucket List – King’s Inn
From its humble beginnings as a bait shop in 1935, the King’s Inn at Baffin Bay in Riviera has earned a reputation for serving some sublime seafood. Owned by the Ware family since 1945, the generations have only made the food more delicious, but you’d better hurry because the family business might not be around forever. It’s a seafood lover’s dream and well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List!