Cate Whalen, a good friend of the store from back in her Cafe Rouge days was named by the SF Chronicle as one of the 5 best bartenders in the Bay Area. And if you know the Bay Area well, you know we take our drinks and our bartenders very seriously.
Three years behind the buzzing bar at Berkeley's Cesar infused her with a deep knowledge of wine and spirits. "I started to appreciate the culture of sharing that with food," she says.I will refrain from posting pictures of her passed out at home plate at an EBV sloshball tournament and post this beautiful cocktail photo instead :)
Then it was out of the frying pan into Slanted Door's fire, where she spent three hectic years under Thad Vogler (see this page, above), whose recent gigs include Beretta and Oakland's Camino.
"Thad has the most integrity in the choices he makes - in who makes the spirit and how it's made and how it's consumed as well," says Whalen. She paid attention.
After such fast-paced stints, Pizzaiolo, with its tiny seven-seat bar and a wine-friendly rustic Italian menu, might seem an odd next step. A little like finding a fortified Italian wine, rum and an herbal Cognac-based liqueur in the same cocktail (see recipe). But Whalen makes a convincing case.
Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Brooks used under a Creative Commons License