The freshest way to weather this fall.
Words by Jessi Devenyns Photos by Ashley Haguewood
Mismatched china sits on miniature marble tabletops that are sandwiched between a glitzy, Art Deco wallpaper and gnarled, wooden floor. A carrot salad, a plate of pickles, onion fritters, and a Greek salad appear in a colorful rotation to settle themselves like Tetris blocks between happy hour drinks. It’s a crowded hodgepodge, yet the whole aesthetic seems to make your afternoon daiquiri that much more civilized.
Although Weather Up considers itself a bar first, the food that is served is nothing short of posh in both appearance and taste. Kristine Kittrell, the manager and chef, explains that it’s a matter of balance. “We have really beautiful cocktails so we want to have really beautiful food.” By the same token, she explains that “It is a bar first and foremost so we wanted the food to be approachable, bar friendly. We didn’t want to set ourselves up to be something we’re not food-wise.”
With her introduction in mind, the first bite of crisp carrot salad exceeded “bar food” expectations. The salad is reminiscent of the old-fashioned slaw that is omnipresent at family barbecues, except it has been reconstructed to include feta, cilantro, mint, dill, pistachios, pickled shallots, booze-soaked raisins, and a brown butter vinaigrette. The raisins, in particular, are a showstopper. Even Kittrell agrees and divulges her adoration for the dried grapes with a smile. “I love the raisins,” she says. “I could probably get drunk off them.”
However, not all the bar food has so much of the bar in it. The Greek salad is a classic that is compatibly plated atop a house-made piquillo pepper hummus, and the pickle plate is redolent of a modernist painting with beets cradling champagne-pickled grapes that are laid alongside a spicy pickled okra.
The onion fritters single handedly defy preconceptions of what a bar typically serves as an appetizer. “I wanted to put fried onions on the menu, but I didn’t want to put standard American fried onions,” Kittrell explains. Her solution was a fritter that is scented with Indian spices and paired with a herby chutney. Kittrell admits they’re one of her favorite snacks. Then again, she says, “We basically cook things we want to eat.” As a result, the menu changes with the weather.
Although the food is continuously changing, Kittrell’s hallmark is in each dish as she transforms indulgent ingredients into refreshing recipes. “People always comment when they order something that it’s a lot lighter than they anticipated,” she remarks. However, she brushes off their comments with a shrug, “I think that lady chefs just have a lighter hand than our male counterparts.”
Even with an appetizing array available during daily happy hour, Kittrell says that brunch is where Weather Up’s kitchen creativity shines. With a $25 champagne brunch that offers a rotating menu and endless champagne cocktails, you might find yourself frequenting Weather Up’s child and dog-friendly patio more often than you anticipated. However, Kittrell warns that for those who enjoy their bubbles, “We limit you to an hour and a half.”
For those who like a treat on the weekdays instead, show up on a Monday for all day happy hour which includes $1 fried oysters.
Native Knowledge: The first Monday of every month is movie night where you can enjoy $1 oysters and happy hour specials on drinks.
1808 East Cesar Chavez St.