Saturday, March 13, 2010

Slaw Dogs: Pasadena takes baby steps to better food

The Picnic dog

ABLT Dog w/bacon
Belgian fries
Slaw Dogs is the latest entry in the fairly recent move to expand the definition of common foods -- from Cook's Tortas rainbow of tortas to the Counter's burger bar to the Kogi taco. It's a big step forward for Pasadena, which badly needs a culinary shot in the arm, especially in the low-to-medium end category. And Slaw Dogs has a truly impressive list of toppings and combos, from kimchi to truffle oil, from the Green Monster with green chili and spicy garlic salsa to the daily Market dog with toppings like kumquat chutney. While the basic beef dog is a reasonable $3.50, the toppings add up fairly fast, with most of the combo dogs from around $4.99 to $6.59. Add some fries and a hungry teenager, and lunch for the two of us was $22, but that's ok, it's all in the interest of research. I liked the bacon and avocado combo of the ABLT dog even more than my kumquat-laden market dog, which might have been better with grilled onions instead of rawish pickled ones. My natural casing "snap dog" didn't really snap, but it tasted like a good quality dog. Sam said the picnic dog worked better than he thought it might, marrying potato salad, bbq sauce and onion rings all on a hot dog. The fries looked really good, but they needed all the garlic and chipotle mayo to really give them flavor. Same with the onion rings -- good tasting breading, but it soaked up too much grease and got kind of soggy. And the bun -- subject of much discussion on Chowhound, I'm going to have to come down on the "way too small and flimsy for all these toppings" side.
Thai slaw dog with chicken sausage, spicy peanut-coconut satay dressing, cilantro-carrot slaw

The verdict? Slaw Dogs has lots of great ideas and between the chicken sausage, veggie dog, turkey dog and several beef and pork varieties as well as burgers and salads, there's something for everyone. Love the concept -- but the bun and some of the executions could use a little tweaking.
The Slaw Dogs
720 N. Lake Ave. #8

Slawdogs on Urbanspoon


Cafe Pasadena said...

As I've said, the bun is definitely The weak link, bringing down the heat on these sausages a bit. And, it's not really a fry & onion rings joint anyway.

With the Counter & Slaws, we may never think of burgers & hot dogs as cheap, fast food again.

Steve said...

The food is damn good, but you definitely pay for it. I'm not sure if it'll be a frequent stop, although that's probably best for my health!

Clare said...

Yum. I crave hotdogs, though I rarely eat them. I was trying to get to Slaw before moving but didn't get a chance. Now I will just have to dream of them :(. that Thai one looks heavenly!

Danny said...

Took the Metro there yesterday. These are good dogs, and the LA area needs more good dogs. The bun didn't hold up for long. Needs more cartilage.