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.
SILO'S fills melodic voids with performances by local and nationally recognized artists and coats throats with bottled bliss from a number of Carneros and Napa Valley wineries. Friday and Saturday nights, live jazz, blues, rock, reggae, and Motown acts inspire involuntary gyrations on the dance floor with a cover charge ($10–$20 per show) to prevent exuberant octopi from clogging dancing lanes. Upcoming acts include the British Invasion tribute act The Who Too on Saturday, April 16, and the classic-rock cover experts of Renegade on Saturday, April 30, playing the songs of Journey, REO Speedwagon, and other '70s and '80s acts.
The open wine tasting salon Taste at Oxbow aims to expand palates with an eclectic menu of wines chosen to accompany artisanal cheeses and gourmet food items. Energy-efficient fixtures illuminate the salon's olive and merlot-toned walls, which owe their hues to chemical-free paints.
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.
Meridian's seasonal menu draws inspiration from global bar bites made from all-natural and locally grown ingredients. Start with an order of bacon mac ‘n’ cheese with buttered panko ($8) or the almond-breaded cod fingers served with jalapeño tartar sauce ($12). For a refreshing post-triathlon meal, opt for the togarashi ahi-tuna niçoise salad with capers, tomatoes, Humboldt fog, and sesame-orange vinaigrette ($14) or quell carnivorous cravings with an all-natural beef burger served with cheddar or blue cheese ($9). The grilled bangers and mash ($13) will evoke sweet childhood memories of playing hopscotch outside the smoky pubs of Bangladesh and also will serve as a delicious stomach stretcher for a third course of sticky toffee pudding ($6) or a house-made ice-cream sandwich with mocha sauce ($6).
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.