L.A. BIZ — A dog and a beer in old town Pasadena — by Scott Bridges
Think back, way back. What's the first meal you can remember eating? What was it? Why that particular meal and not another? What was special about it that its memory persists?
For me, it was a chili dog, a bag of Lay's barbecue chips and a Mr. Pibb. I must've been about six years old. It was a very special meal. My dad took me to a hot dog stand near his office and I ordered the same thing he did. I was overwhelmed by the smell of chili and onions, impressed by my father's ability to conduct the transaction, and enlightened that such an eatery existed.
Hot dogs would continue to play an important role in my upbringing. We were fed a dog and a soda after Little League games, they were also part and parcel of the big league ballgame experience, and were a component of Saturday afternoon barbecues. These days, although I dine at the finest restaurants in town, I still take great pleasure in a dog and a beer.
At Dog Haus, the simple dish is turned into an art form. I visited their Old Town Pasadena location (they have another in Pasadena and one in Alhambra, as well), the one with a full bar. Pasadena might be a long way to go for a dog, but the next tiime I get the urge, this is exactly where I'm headed.
Why you should go: In addition to a variety of hot dogs, there are several sausages, burgers, sides and desserts. The space is large, with indoor and patio seating, sports on the TVs and an eclectic mix of rock on the stereo. And at the Old Town location, there is a well-curated selection of beers.
What to order: I was transported back to childhood by the Little Leaguer, which is topped with Haus chili, Fritos, diced onions and shredded Cheddar cheese. Of course, back in my Little League days, I never got to enjoy an IPA with it.
Another enjoyable item was the Old Town Dog, wrapped in smoked bacon, and topped with caramelized onions, sauteed jalapenos, chipotle mayo and Cotja cheese.
These days, my tastes tend more toward spicy sausages, however, and the restaurant has some exciting recipes. They're currently offering a take on the Buffalo wing, with a chicken sausage, called the Buffalo Soldier.
There's only so many dogs one can eat at a time, so on my next visit I will start with the Uber corn dog. It's an Uber Kase sausage dipped in root beer batter and deep-fried to golden perfection and served with honey mustard. I think an Angel City pilsner would accompany it nicely.
There are currently nine sausage dogs and nine burgers on the menu, and all priced at $6.99. Haus dogs are buck cheaper. You can also build your own dog or burger.
On the side, enjoy onion rings, fresh-cut Kenebec fries, tater tots, sweet potato fries, chili and more. And if you can't narrow it down, consider The Love Boat: French fries or tater tots with Haus chili and Haus slaw.
For dessert, Fosselman's ice cream is used in shakes and malts, the ice cream sandwich and my favorite, The Floater: a scoop of Fosselman's and a bottled soda.
For drinkers: Again, the Old Town location has a full bar, as well a good selection of beers. There's a specialty cocktail menu with some Prohibition-style cocktails and modern ingredients. The beers are craft, showcasing of California's finest, along with some innovative favorites from craft brewers in other states.
What people are saying: The restaurant earns a whopping 92-percent "like" rating on Urbanspoon.
Fiona Chandra, blogger of Gourmet Pigs describes Dog Haus as "a pretty good place to get an inexpensive meal in Old Town." And from the Vegas and Food blog: "Excellent food and friendly stuff [sic]. ... I really enjoyed food here. I think I had like 2-3 each sliders and hotdogs (sample size). I couldn't stop eating.. It was just so good."
What I think: The first meal I ever recall was a chili dog. Dog Haus, in Old Town, is a pleasant journey up the 110 and down memory lane.