Knockouts Grill House wrestles hunger into submission with a brawny menu of edible Americana. Waitresses clad in Western wear put out appetite fires with the help of starters such as stacked nachos which come piled high with blackened chicken, grilled house pico, chipotle sour cream, and—for an extra $1.99—guacamole ($8.49). Gorge on greenery such as the Knockout steak salad with balsamic vinaigrette and blue-cheese crumbles ($9.99), or hunt down a dinner of barbecue-bathed meatloaf matched with mashed potatoes and onion rings ($9.99). The ground beef and chorizo of the Macho burger show off their meaty manliness by carrying around a culinary cargo of ham, pepper-jack cheese, cilantro mayonnaise, lettuce, and pico ($8.99). A selection of breakfast items available all day helps rouse drowsy taste buds from noontime power naps and dreamless evening trances.
Located on a 90-acre site on the campus of Texas A&M University, the Bush Presidential Library and Museum entertains and educates with interactive exhibits and an exhaustive collection of artifacts. Opening September 1, the new Headed to the White House exhibit charts the presidential-election process from primaries to inauguration with hands-on activities, role-playing opportunities, and animatronic babies to kiss. Visitors can try running their own campaign, create their own election news story, or tour exhibits and sculptures including Life and Times of George Bush, and The Day the Wall Came Down.
For 30 years, Cenare's sconce-lit walls and elegant menu have entranced diners, inviting them to linger luxuriously over plates of pasta, tiramisu, and creamy espresso cups. Fresh, daily made bread greets guests with a firm, crunchy handshake, moisturized to taste with imported olive oil. While kitchen magicians arrange 15 layers of beef, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese for the homemade lasagna ($10.99), noshers may savor stuffed mushroom cap starters, drizzled with a Creole mustard sauce ($6.95). The tortellini alla diavola accessorizes a saucy ensemble of chicken, ham, fresh mushrooms, and chipotle cream with cheese-filled pasta rings ($12.95), while the secret ingredients of the spaghetti al telefono are discoverable only through long, whispered games of telephone ($7.95). Gluten-free pasta is also available.
The North Pole's most famous resident descends from his workshop to share the lights, fun, and food of the holiday with revelers at Santa's Wonderland. For 15 years, the larger-than-life Christmas experience has dazzled visitors with sparkling, colorful light displays that stretch more than 37 acres, following a path traversable by car, horse and carriage, or hay ride. Said to be one of the largest Christmas attractions in Texas, this yuletide haven has been delighting families for more than a decade. After gazing upon the 2.5 million twinkling L.E.D. bulbs, visitors can head over to Santa's Town to enjoy a bite of barbecue and continue the festivities. Trumpeted by the owners as a "Texas Christmas Village," the community invites guests to shop at an old Western ghost town and little ones to hop aboard a kids' train before meeting Santa and one of his reindeer. A walk-in snow globe makes for a great photo opportunity, and the newly opened dining and dance hall provides a venue for hours of merry-making. Marshall Frostbite, the park's smiling officer, encourages visitors to watch a nightly holiday movie on a large screen, run their fingers through the fur of the barn animals in the petting zoo, and try their hand at riding a mechanical bull.
It's a 5K that's "more fun than run." In fact, contestants don't have to run at all. They can run, walk, skip, stroll, or even stroll while pushing a stroller. At the Color Up 5K in College Station, there are no timers and there's no pressure. The only thing a contestant needs is a partying spirit, sunglasses or goggles, and preferably a white shirt to serve as a cotton canvas for the trek's frequent explosions of technically edible cornstarch colors. With plumes of technicolor fumes that would inspire Francis Scott Key descendants to pen another tune, the Color Up 5K sends friends and families on a kaleidoscopic quest punctuated by giggles and gentle chromatic showers.
Besides the glee of fellowship between contestants, the post-race color party also benefits community-based charities. Color Up 5K donates $5 from every race fee to Keep Brazos Beautiful.