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.
Palio’s Pizza Café may boast multiple locations, but the cuisine is unique to each kitchen. The restaurant’s chefs commit to serving specialty pizzas on handmade dough, crafted from high-protein, red-bran wheat. They top this crust with all-natural marinara and pizza sauces, real mozzarella cheese, and farm-fresh produce. The blending of fine ingredients produces some classic and more unusual pies, ranging from a meat lover’s with four staple pizza proteins to a pie that combines roasted flavors of poultry and cashews.
Of course, the restaurant’s commitment to quality doesn’t end with their food. They also invest time in making community events special. They regularly participate in fundraisers for high-school bands, charities such as the Arthritis Foundation, and local Scout troupes and chicken coops.
Though Luna de Noche's menu doesn't stray far from its Mexican roots, the restaurant’s chefs introduce nuanced flavors in all their dressed-up versions of Tex-Mex classics. As staff members make guacamole tableside for patrons, they may add unique ingredients such as pecans, creating a dish that is as distinctive as it is traditional. Even the margaritas—served frozen, on the rocks, or from a hose—build on the classic recipe by incorporating ingredients such as Kahlúa, fresh jalapeño juice, or housemade sangria.
Qdoba's burrito baristas handcraft a menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine, customizable with a panoply of fresh ingredients. Qdoba's culinary crafters create succulent additions to burritos, tacos, and salads, such as slow-roasted pulled pork, adobo-marinated grilled steak or chicken, and spiced shredded or ground beef, with vegetarian options also available for each dish. Diners can bite through the warm shells of three tacos brimming with grilled chicken, steak, or seasoned beef, or mine for black beans and sweet corn within the taco salad’s crunchy tortilla bowl quarry. A festive burrito dinner allows eaters to customize burritos with add-on ingredients, including three-cheese queso or a creamy, hand-smashed guacamole that's ideal for filling up Queen Elizabeth's diamond-studded guacamole chalice. Warm tortilla soup and its crisper cousin, the tortilla chip, let pairs slurp with camaraderie or construct solid foundations for tortilla-chip houses.
The resident chocolatiers at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory massage creamy loafs of chocolate on sturdy marble slabs daily, building a menu from rich ingredients such as whole cream and real butter. For additional culinary theatrics, cheer on the expert orchard orderlies as they dip Granny Smiths into thick, bubbling caramel from a traditional copper kettle. Caramel apples range from classically simple to loaded with toppings ($3.95–$7.95), accommodating different degrees of decadence more tastefully than a pair of convertible mink pants. Easily transport poppable sweets such as chocolate-dipped strawberries ($11.95/half-pound) or a tongue-melting litany of freshly fangled fudges ($6.95/half-pound). While today's Groupon is not valid toward sugar-free chocolate, which is not made in-store, the confection wizards can also brew batches of treats that provide the taste of chocolate without the frantic dance routines of an uncontrollable sugar rush.