Monday, May 21, 2018

Dog Haus, Pasadena

Dog Haus is a ... a hot dog chain, essentially.  They specialize in gourmet hot dogs and sausages, although they also offer burgers, fried chicken, and standard sides.  Their tag line?  "The Absolute W├╝rst".  Tee hee.

Dog Haus opened in 2010 in Pasadena, CA and has since expanded to more than 30 locations spanning 9 states.

And there is a reason why.  The concept sounds simple, hot dogs right, but they do it right.  Quality ingredients, cooked to order.  The hot dogs are all beef, the sausages are hand made with no added nitrates, etc, the burgers are 100% Black Angus, the chicken is hormone-free.  Oh,and the kicker?  The buns they use for everything are ... King's Hawaiian rolls!

I'll admit, I adore a good hot dog, but it was the King's Hawaiian rolls that drew me in.  I really, really love the soft, sweet, fluffy bread.

I'll gladly return.

Setting

I visited one of the two locations in Pasadena, in a not very interesting area, nearby CalTech where I was helping at a recruiting event.  The other Pasadena location is in Old Town, and features a Biergarten, and looks much nicer.
Storefront.
Outside has plentiful seating on metal tables on the sidewalk, in an quasi-enclosed area so you could bring booze out there, but not onto the "public" street.
Register, Drinks, Sausages.
Ordering is all done at a register from a not very engaged employee, where chilled sausages and the alcoholic drink selection are displayed.

The drink selection was kinda awesome, they had plenty of non-beer things including even a boozy nitro cold brew!  What??!

Once you order, you are given a buzzer.  I was handed mine without a word.  Not the friendliest human.

On the plus side, the "We Love Wieners" sign did make me laugh.
Grill Station, Seating.
Lots of seating is available inside as well, nicely lit, etc.
Grill Station.
All orders are made to order, and you can watch items being prepared if you wish.

I loved seeing the ridiculous quantity of King's Hawaiian that they go through!
Drinks.
Soft drinks, plastic utensils, and hot sauce are self serve.

Ketchup and mustard, in HUGE dispensers, are located right up at the area where you pick up your order.

Food

Menu Board.
So, the menu.  A slew of different "HausDogs", with some pretty fun toppings.  Many are bacon wrapped.  They have cheddar cheese sauce, caramelized or crispy onions, flavorful aiolis.  Oh yes.  You can get any of these hotdogs made with a sausage of your choice isntead, or just customize your own too.

Oh, and they have housemade corn dogs, in a root beer batter.  Oh my.

Next is the signature "HausSausages", ranging from spicy italian to thai currywurst to polish kielbasa and more, plus of course some chicken sausage and veggie sausage options.  And yes, you can get any sausage made into a hand dipped corn dog too, or top it any way you want.

Then there are "HausBurgers" and chicken burgers (simply grilled or beer battered and fried).

They also make sliders, using a single King's Hawaiian roll each, available as simple cheeseburger or hot dog, plus a mini corn dog.  Sides have all the classics: fries, tots, cheese fries, chili cheese fries, sweet potato fries, chili, slaw, onion rings, etc.  You can get crazy and go for the "Love Boat", with the fried base of your choice, topped wit chili, cheese, and slaw.

Happy Hour is Monday - Friday, 3-6pm, and features $1.25 sliders and fries or tots.  Not that prices are usually expensive at all, but, wow, what a deal!
Hot Dog Slider. Happy Hour. $1.25.
"All beef mini dog, haus made cheddar cheese sauce, smoked bacon."

Since it was actually only 4:30pm and I wasn't ready for dinner, but wanted to get the chance to try out Dog Haus, I went for the hot dog slider.  It was made to order, and came quickly.  I ordered it unmodified, although those aren't necessarily the toppings I would have picked.

It was adorable.  And it was a very well executed slider.

The bun, perfectly toasted.  Not burnt at all, just crisp enough, and the toasting really enhanced the buttery quality of the Hawaiian roll.

The hot dog, juicy, and lightly charred.  Just enough to make the skin crisp, yet retain all the juices.  Exactly how I like my hot dogs.

The cheese sauce?  You guessed it, perfectly melted.  Enough to smother the hot dog, but not overwhelm.

The bacon?  Yup, perfectly crisp.  No flabby bacon here.

Execution-wise, this was just spot on.  A little slider, only costing $1.25, and yet made with such care.
Hot Dog Slider: Side Profile.
And how was it, other than being really well prepared?

It was good.

I adore King's Hawaiian buns, and the soft sweet bread really was excellent with the hot dog.  We need more uses of these buns in general, and they certainly beat a boring hot dog bun.

The cheese sauce was tasty, creamy, cheesy.  Not *too* fake tasting, just fake enough to be tasty, if you know what I mean.  It went really well with the bread and the bacon.

I didn't love the hot dog though.  Not because there was anything wrong with it, as I mentioned, it was really well prepared, I just ... wasn't actually feeling the all beef hot dog.  I really prefer turkey dogs (which they have in full size only).

I still enjoyed my snack, but honestly would have liked the bun/cheese/bacon without the hot dog more.

Next time: full size, turkey hot dog, maybe with some other toppings ... spicy basil aioli? Caramelized or fried onions? Mmm ...

Oh, and I want to try the onion rings and sweet potato fries, they looked excellent too ... must ... return ...
Dog Haus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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