We visited Kathryn Weatherup’s eponymous cocktail bar in the Cesar Chavez barrio on Sunday afternoon and filed a report {http://chowpapi.com/wordpress/wordpress-2.8.6/wordpress/kathryn-weatherups-new-east-austin-bar-is-dead-serious-about-your-cocktails-and-the-ice-that-keeps-them-cold/} that was met with the following response by Alan Sudo, a long time Austin food lover whom we’ve had numerous exchanges with over the years:


“Hey Scrumptious, remember Nov 8, 2010? That was the date when you took to Chowhound Austin to fight for the soul of East Austin. It seems that an eastside restaurateur had saved his profits from thousands of breakfast tacos and plates of migas. A proud father, he sent his son to The Culinary Institute of America only to have him return years later infected with the dementia of NYC and dreams of an East Austin restaurant combining the food of his youth with the CIA’s flare.
Remember scoffing at the “Habanero infused tequila” or finding the $10 Huevos Rancheros “plainly offensive” and “shameless”.
“Get a grip on yourself Zandunga, this is Austin not Manhattan”.

Fast Forward and I would probably have to speak German – the language of Schadenfreude and Backpfeifengesicht – to accurately describe the guilty anticipation I felt when I saw you would be reviewing Weather Ups. Come on, we’re talking about a bartender who, according to the New York Times, is proud of the fact that she likes a wide bar so she doesn’t have to talk to the customers. A bar with three locations: Tribeca, Brooklyn and … Chicon Street?

I anticipated the lacerations as you contrasted Abuelita and her precious granddaughter stopping by on their way to El Palacio De La Quinceanera for “house-carved ice from the Weather Up signature ice program” or the sweaty studs in their dirty blue uniforms taking a break from installing used tires down the street to “see the ice production and harvesting” from the Clinebell out back.

Then I read the review – Et tu, Scrumptious? You’re “champing at the bit”?! Not even the Germans have a word for the disappointment I’m feeling now.

I’m old enough to remember another big city chappie that came thru Austin years ago. All the way from San Francisco, he ended up making a name for himself serving drinks as well – a particularly special cocktail based on Kool-Aid.

Well it looks like Ms Weatherup has you drinking her Kool-Aid. But I guess that’s OK … it’s served over some freakin gorgeous ice.”

Well said Alan. You make some good points, and I’ve been reflecting these past few hours since I read your post.

I was outraged way back when, when Zandunga Bistro opened. The family behind Mi Madre’s introduced high dollar Mexican food {$9 guacamole!} to a part of town that had never seen such a thing, and I reckoned it was heresy.

Still do by the way. {Here’s the piece http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2011/7/18/Zandunga-Mexican-Bistro-Celebrates-One-Year-of-Bringing-High-Dollar-Mexican-Chow-To-East-Austin}

So what gives with the love for Weatherup’s vs the disdain for Zandunga? East Austin has a long and storied tradition of dirt cheap, high calibre Mexican food. My standard bearer for guacamole is El Zunzal and they still put out the best I’ve ever had, and they do it for $2.

I’ve never had an East Austin standard bearer for high calibre cocktails, ’cause there hasn’t been one. As near as I can tell Weatherup’s stands alone on this side of the freeway as a place to get an expertly mixed drink with an exotic ingredient like falernum.

The previous tenant of the Weatherup building was Azul, where a sandwich, side and coffee drink could easily run toward $15 so the cherry had already been popped on that particular turf. I was a regular at Azul and loved it but when I walked in, I knew I was going to be laying down some serious dough for the hang.

I’m not happy to acknowledge this either, but the old East Austin that I loved back in the 90s is gone and it’s not coming back. I could write a thousand word ode to those days, but suffice to say, the city has changed forever and will continue to grow more expensive as we hurtle towards Austin becoming just another faceless, gigantic, American city.

When I first came here I thought Austin was the perfect combination of Tuscaloosa and Manhattan. A dusty little town with an outsize art, culture and entertainment scene. Those days are long gone.

But you’ll still find me at Takeria DF for their .99c tacos and Top Dawg’s for $2 Miller Lites, and I’ll also be darkening the door at Weatherup’s sometimes for their high dollar cocktails with fancy tinctures and potions that have never been available in these parts.

It’s part and parcel of this new Austin that we all find ourselves living in.

the original piece that sparked the discussion http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2012/6/10/Austin-Daily-Photo-Weather-Up-Is-The-Real-Deal-For-Craft-Cocktails-And-Ice-Fetishism?adminview=true


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