Since 1973, Columbia Lakes Resort has spoiled putters with a sprawling 7,000-yard 18-hole course and luxurious accommodations nestled within 2,000 acres of woodland. Power architect Tom Fazio designed the course, which weaves through tall oaks, around lagoons, and beside a 300-acre lake swimming with trophy bass amid an elaborate underwater city constructed from clubs flung away in frustration. Perfect your putt on one of the four practice greens, including a furrowed chipping and putting green and a green with a bunker for practicing sand shots or building sculptures of your friends using golf balls for eyes. Players can also practice on the driving range, stocked with five target greens and four tee areas.
• For $10, you get an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for two (a $6.99 value each) plus two sodas (a $2 value each), valid from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (up to a $19.15 total value, including tax). • For $14, you get an Italian meal for two, including a medium 14-inch signature pizza (up to a $16.99 value), seven wings (a $5.99 value), and two sodas (a $2 value each; up to a $28.73 total value, including tax). • For $21, you get an Italian meal for four, including a large 16-inch signature pizza (up to a $19.99 value), 14 wings (an $11.98 value), and four sodas (a $2 value each; up to a $42.57 total value, including tax).
Husband and wife Angel and James are Partners in Cake. Angel takes care of the baking, while James takes care of the decorating and crafting scenes with fondant and gum paste. Completely self-taught, Angel accumulated a wealth of skills while studying under her mother in the kitchen. James, the master sculptor, draws inspiration from his days as a childhood Play-Doh aficionado. Friends encouraged the two to practice their pastry hobby fulltime, and when their creative forces meet, the two craft custom cakes for all occasions, including weddings and graduations. Their creations include edible 3D renditions of intergalactic robot R2D2, the Statue of Liberty, and Michael Jordan's shoe from Space Jam, which was easier to recreate than his heart of gold. At the heart of each creation are pillowy layers of cake in flavors such as red velvet, banana, and lemon zest, with fillings such as cream cheese, coconut cream, and lemon curd.
The Burger Bar stockpiles fine meats, cheeses, and toppings so that diners can create their own sandwich masterpieces. The menu promises hunger-fighters the ability to load a bun with such patties as ground beef ($6–$9), buffalo meat ($8–$13) and portobello ($5–$7). Like a sloppy nacho-loving James Bond, burgers dress in a neat tuxedo of cheese (one slice included, $.75/extra slice), including smoked cheddar, texas goat, and pepper jack. Toppings such as jalapeños, bacon, and avocado (one topping included, $1.50/extra topping) crown majestic meat towers, only to be rained upon by torrents of garlic or bacon aioli, violet-mustard cream, or smoked-chipotle ketchup. Diners can pair a sirloin sandwich with grilled vegetables ($3.50) for a dose of daily nutrients so they don’t have to get their vitamins by devouring old tapes of The Flintstones.
As Italian music fills the warmly lit dining room, visitors to Luigi's Italian Restaurant dig into authentic pizzas, pastas, and calzones. A floor-to-ceiling mural of the Tuscan countryside completes diners' mental vacation, which can be improved only when flooding conditions outdoors allow for a make-believe trip to Venice.