Skillets of fajitas sizzle on their way to the dining room's deep booths. Chords from a Spanish guitar spill from the bar as laughs roll out from one of three banquet rooms. On the patio, some 40 tables share their brick-paved pen with a mechanical bull that snarls at passersby and inflatable moonwalks filled with playful children.
Such is a typical evening at Las Rosas Mexican Restaurant, where an unmistakable energy charges the entire facility. The current begins in the kitchen, where each day chefs follow family recipes to churn out handmade tamales, tortillas, and red and green sauces. The vibe then pulses through the dining room, where a white stone fireplace anchors an open space flanked by booths and 13 60-inch TVs that broadcast games and events. The patio hosts alfresco dining and amusements for the young and young-at-heart who aren't afraid to tumble off a carnival ride in public.
Tiny legs scamper across Lone Star Bounce Town's 9,000-square-foot floor, bounding from one cushy inflatable to the next and pausing before a gallery of kid-friendly toys and games. Disney-inspired bounce houses populate the open space, including new plush slides and domiciles that pay homage to the bubbly heroes of Toy Story 3, Winnie the Pooh, and Dante's Inferno. Tykes hone their hand-eye coordination by shooting hoops on the inflatable basketball court, cracking plastic balls off baseball tees, or threading straws into juice boxes in the Lone Star Cafe. A special subsection designed for toddlers, Lone Star's Tiny Town, features scaled-down playhouses, toy cars, and colorful, bouncy balls.
The clatter of foosball and air-hockey tables makes a steady drumbeat, over which drifts the sounds of an arcade—the happy digital babble of a modem dreaming. Ten leather couches with a full view of the children accommodate parents as they surf free WiFi and enjoy coffee from the café.
The Drink Station's all-embracing menu quenches thirst with more than 20,000 possible nourishing gulps, customizing each cupful to fit the dietary needs and daring desires of its straw operator. Kick off the ante meridiem with a medley of black tea, Texas honey, and fresh pineapple juice in the blueberry muffin tea ($3.99/24 oz.), or cool down from a brisk Benny Hill chase around the block by quaffing a refreshing dose of watermelon celery juice ($4.99). The Mint 'n' Dew slushy celebrates the union of peppermint, honeydew melon, pineapple, and organic sugar ($4.99/24 oz.), and the Dark Chocolate Granita sharpens sweet teeth with gourmet coffee, chocolate, organic sugar, and nondairy cream ($3.99/24 oz.). Savory supplements such as fresh fruits, tapioca pearls, and flavor gels let you put your own personal signature on each swig without it tasting like a Sharpie. Cold-blooded connoisseurs, meanwhile, can keep their blood flowing with hot teas such as the Raspberry Sunrise ($3.25/16 oz.) or the sinful white chocolate latte ($3.25/24 oz.).
Mex Sea Co. owner Ram Aguilera grew up amid the spicy aromas of Tex-Mex cuisine in Corpus Christi. Even as a child, he noted the myriad ways in which Texan chefs paid homage to their Mexican counterparts by blending the two regions' recipes together. Today, he continues the tradition with fresh, local seafood caught along the Texan coast.
Aguilera's recipes are as delicious as they are surprising. Take his fish tacos—a perennial fan favorite packed into housemade corn tortillas—or his arroz con pollo, which he dry-roasts and rubs with ancho peppers. Aguilera and his kitchen staff don't overlook dessert, dusting fried tortillas with cinnamon before serving them alongside a four-piece mariachi band.
The saying “writing on the wall” typically refers to bad omens, but at Fish Place, it takes on a positive, and literal, connotation. Words such as “salad,” “gumbo,” and “shrimp” appear all over the wallpaper, foreshadowing the Cajun-style cuisine to come.
In addition to stirring up signature seafood gumbo, Fish Place’s chefs fill baskets with cooked-to-order crawfish, catfish, oysters, and shrimp. The chefs accompany their fried or blackened entrees with hushpuppies, french bread, or red beans and rice, rather than the traditional seafood side, sand. Tacos and po’ boys round out the menu.
At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance: