TASTER TOTS LA — A House We Could Dwell In: Dog Haus — by Jessica
Kid Hit Menu Items: Let’s Be Frank truck and take-home products aside, I can’t help but feel a slight pang of modern bourgie mom guilt when we have hot dogs or sausages for dinner. “I mean, come ON, try a little harder, Jess,” goes the inner monologue. The beauty of Dog Haus, a quickly growing local chain that started in Pasadena and is now in a few other southwestern states, means the kids can have convenient casing-contained meats that at least presents a few taste bud-expanding options. But in the end, however, our hosted invitation to dinner there resulted in sliders served between the sweet squishy SoCal carb classic that is King’s Hawaiian rolls, and lots of tater tots.
Adult Perks: Dog Haus’s menu isn’t heavy on the greenery, but it’s not just about intensely savory proteins and bread either. Often a skeptic for what might seem like gimmicky culinary mashups, I loved “One Night in Bangkok” (still definitely NOT the song, though) with spicy Thai red currywurst sausage, topped with a cucumber kimchi relish, cilantro aioli, and crushed peanuts thanks to stellar chef Bruce Kalman’s previous consulting role with the Dog Haus outfit. This was just before he went on to make Union the best reason to visit Pasadena outside of the Gamble House and the Huntington. Now Adam Gertler, whom I’ve written about elsewhere in other contexts, is on board doing crazy creative things, like Turducken sausage come Thanksgiving season.
Anyway, I digress, and the main points I’m trying to make are 1. you can get a sausage or hot dog with arugula and 2. they serve beer. A lot of different kinds of it in bottles and on tap, in fact, and Dog Haus doesn’t close until midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Pros: Family argument-free food, plus lots of cheeky language used on the menu.
Caveat: you gotta not be uptight with wiener puns. The outdoor biergarten-style seating off of Green Street is perfect for a not-too-warm afternoon, or even a chilly evening since the lights and heating lamps cozy it up.
Cons: No broccoli, carrots or kale to use as dessert bribery (if that’s a tactic you embrace).
Changing Station: Oops, I’m guilty here of checklist item neglect.
High Chairs: Now that we’re out of the Baby Zone, I haven’t been terribly conscientious about making sure restaurants are properly set up for those needs, but there’s a high chair in the photo below. Seating is mostly on stools and communal picnic benches, which means parents of infants probably wind up doing the lap juggle jig. Smaller tables in various configurations are located inside.
Parking and Access: Parking is available at street meters or in the lots that service Old Town Pasadena. The Del Mar Gold Line Metro stop is a couple blocks away.