The sun melts into the horizon, leaving a bright-orange band of sky in its wake that gives way to a deep-blue Texas night. Twinkling lights wrapped around the windmill flicker on as ebullient music fills Fish Camp's outdoor patio, to the delight of diners savoring their desserts in the open air. Such evenings are hardly a rarity at the restaurant, which beckons guests to its quiet countryside location with a menu of seafood and traditional Southern comfort food.
Inside the buzzing kitchen, chefs whip up mouthwatering dishes featuring aquatic ingredients such as clear-water, farm-raised catfish and gulf prawns. The chefs also assemble platefuls of comfort food using traditional recipes from across the South, ranging from Texas toothpicks and Cajun-style blackened tilapia to Kentucky-bourbon pecan pie. Young diners can frolic on the deck and partake in casual fishing to retrieve lost contact lenses, and local musicians assemble on Friday and Saturday nights to delight patrons with live performances.
For centuries the world has wondered how to combine a bakery, coffee shop, and disc-golf center. In Rockwall, three businesses decided to put the matter to rest with The Life House, which engenders a healthy community with its triple hit of organic baked goods, house-roasted coffee, and disc golf. When Fresh Life Foods founder Katy Standifer’s sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Katy saw links between processed foods and her sister’s condition. With her mother, Lynda Ahlen, she began baking organic pastries and breads for her family before expanding the practice and selling the tasty goods to the community.
Elsewhere in Rockwell, home roaster Jeremy Standifer was testing his careful eyes, nose, and second nose on custom-roasted organic coffee beans that would eventually become the staple of FLF Organic Coffee. Jeremy's aromatic coffee made an ideal pairing for Katy's sweet and savory fare, which ranges from empanadas to loaves of cinnamon-swirl bread, so the two combined their practices. What makes The Life House rare, though, is what customers discover when they venture outside. Jeremy's love for disc sports led him, along with fellow roaster Chris Kelley, to found Life Disc Sports, which hosts camps and clinics and sells gear. Outside the café, their nine-hole course challenges experienced and novice players before they venture back inside to fling pastries into their mouths.
The décor at The Yellow Rose can be deceiving. With its white trellised and exposed brick walls, patio furniture, and upstairs hidden behind a white fence, the interior might make you may feel as though you’re at an elegant party on a friend’s back patio. And you wouldn’t be far off the mark, because owners David and Malinda Jacobs consider all their guests their friends, whom they invite in for their tasteful tea ceremonies and dinners. The chefs prepare artfully displayed café fare that varies depending on the time of day, from stacks of waffles dusted with powdered sugar and a choice of fruit to grilled salmon salads drizzled in a pomegranate vinaigrette and the saucy blacked chicken alfredo that can be scooped up with a side of garlic toast. The shop also presents signature desserts, including housemade cookies, pies, and the only kind of pudding that can be prepared in a toaster: bread pudding.
A zapping haven with historical awareness, the Shenaniganz laser tag arena pits up to 24 players against one another in the gloomy haze and vibrant lighting of a 12th-century Cambodian temple. Players can repurpose ancient temple ruins as opaque bunkers and unload some light on unsuspecting opponents. Safe and well maintained, the laser tag arena warms up trigger fingers for joysticked, button-mashing mayhem in the 7,000-square-foot arcade. Stocked with more than 100 games, the arcade zone is a sanctuary for prize-seeking ticket hoarders and friendly competitors alike. With $35 worth of credits, players might be able to swap jackpots for prizes ranging from candy to a life-sized portrait of Macaulay Culkin. While children go wild in the arcade, parents can relax at the on-site sports bar, with more than 40 flat-screen TVs and two 25-foot hi-definition movie screens. Shenaniganz also has a restaurant and state-of-the-art bowling center. No reservations are required for laser tag, though players can always phone ahead to ensure there's no private party or toddler rave occupying the arena.