The history of Ceja Vineyards dates back the 1950s, when Pablo Ceja, then working in St. Helena vineyards, dreamed of owning his own land where his ever-expanding family could grow their own grapes and make their own wine. Fueled by this dream for a better life for his children, Pablo moved his family from Mexico to the Napa Valley in 1967. Fortunately, 2 of his 10 children, Pedro and Armando, inherited his passion for wine and belief in hard work. When they were old enough, Pedro and Armando planted their first pinot-noir grapes in 1986 and, 13 years later, officially founded Ceja Vineyards with their wives and children. Today, the Cejas' operation boasts 113 producing acres and a chic wine-tasting salon where guests can enjoy sips of the vineyard’s red and white varietals, artisan cheeses, gourmet food items, and featured works from local artists.
In good Ceja tradition, Pedro and Armando’s kids are now beginning to purple their feet in the family business as well. Pablo’s family has undoubtedly made him proud; they’ve done much since their humble beginnings in St. Helena. The family hopes their story of hope and determination surfaces in every sip of their lovingly cultivated wines.
Hookahs are designed with hanging out in mind: the slowly-burning patty encourages users to sit and chat for a while as they draw slow breaths. Wicked Mirage's comfortable atmosphere, therefore, is the perfect complement to its ornate water pipes. With weekly poetry readings and frequent game-watching sessions, the lounge's calendar seems to have something for everyone?though many just opt for a simple night with friends or a complicated night with enemies. When it's time to inhale, patrons consult a 70-flavor shisha menu. Its varieties include classic smoke flavors, like jasmine and lemon-mint, as well as more inventive blends, like Wicked Candy's sorbet melon and "Pirate's Cove."
The aptly named Preserve Public House seems to preserve a simpler time beneath its open-beam ceiling, among its rustic pieces of furniture, and within its exposed-brick walls. Using local ingredients whenever possible, Preserve’s chefs celebrate the artistry of cuisine with sandwiches such as the slow-smoked brisket sandwich with garlic aioli, barbecue sauce, and caramelized onions on an acme bun. Like the Easter Bunny’s bathtub, the eatery’s taps flow with a rotating sample of 21 microbrews and keg wines from breweries such as Lagunitas, Rogue Brewery, and Stone Brewing Company. Preserve Public House also hosts regular events such as local crop swaps, and beer celebrations in their bread-truck-turned-beer-garden.
Zaika Restaurant, Bar & Lounge dispatches halal meat and vegetarian Indian dishes to tables perched around a hardwood wraparound bar as patrons sink into petite leather chairs and plush booths. Diners savor lamb, chicken, and seafood that has been skewered, marinated in zesty blends, and seared in a traditional tandoor oven like Shrinky Dink maps of India crafted for PhD dissertations in geography. A painstakingly curated wine list, including organic libations, accentuates exotic flavors while six big-screen TVs and one behemoth 80-inch projection screen display athletic showdowns.
In the kaleidoscopic glow of ubiquitous neon lights, a bartender stirs blood orange vodka martinis for four guests at a table laden with tapas dishes. A DJ from Las Vegas spins progressive house music, sending bass thrumming through the entire club. This is a nightly scene at the ultra modern Redux Lounge, which gracefully blurs the line between hot nightclub and elegant tapas restaurant. In the afternoons before Redux shape shifts into a club, the kitchen grills seafood, tapas, and kebabs, often pairing them with one of Redux' house wines or martinis. At 10:00 p.m., the party starts. Disc jockeys fly in on magic carpets from LA, Las Vegas, San Francisco to spin tunes spanning the last 70 years of pop music. Redux' intelligent LED lighting system syncs up with every syncopation, flashing over the dance floor to the beat of the music. Outside on two heated outdoor patios, barkeeps mix gourmet cocktails for lounging guests. The kitchen stays open until close (2 a.m.) to fuel private parties in VIP areas and excited cheers in the sports lounge. Caterers also rush out through the bustling lounge, toting drinks and food to special events.
The two chefs at Cypress rely on more than following great recipes when crafting their fine French foods. They meticulously prepare every batch of béarnaise sauce and pot of coq au vin using sustainable, organic California ingredients as often as they can. They also take pride in their artful, festive presentation, serving their dishes tableside style on gueridons whenever possible and Cirque du Soleil style when they remember to bring their leotards. Servers, meanwhile, toss salads, sizzle up new york steaks with brandy, and ignite strawberry flambés.