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Bang for your Burger Buck: Dog Haus Biergarten ~ Pasadena, CA

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Hi, my name is Freiburger, I'm a triple topping monstrosity made by men who worship hot dogs and sausages as much as burgers. I live in a Dog Haus. You will like me.

A lot can be said of a restaurant when describing the ambiance. At Dog Haus, the extended drum solo of Rush's Closer to the Heart, playing in the background, is all you need to know. Shiny, ultra skinny flat screens broadcasting all manner of sports? Check. Full Bar? Check. High Caloric Burger Concept menu that you will gladly hit the repeat button for, like your favorite Rush album loaded on your 10 disc trunk mounted cd magazine? Um, Check.

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Sorry to get too retro dear Millennials, but for us old guys pushing 35 and up, eating establishments that offer DirecTV, hard liquor, and unpretentious food make us swoon. It reminds us of a time when we were young and invincible, when Rush was cool, when CDs mattered. But enough of the days when my widow's peak was more anomaly than sign of the times, you are here for Bang for your Burger Buck and the Freiburger at Dog Haus is just that, by way of a 1/3rd pound patty plus three side dishes posing as premium toppings, between four buns, for under $7 pre tax. Yeah, we kind of have a lot to talk about here.

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The Freiburger is one of 7 over the top burger combinations at Dog Haus (there is a plain old fully dressed cheeseburger for you plain old traditionalist types). What caught my eye with the Freibuger was the abundance of side dishes being incorporated as topping, three in fact. At KFC you would expect a top tier combo to come with french fries and coleslaw. Want an egg? Now we are driving to the Waffle House or Denny's. At Dog Haus, the Freiburger nets you all three, on top of a freakin burger . . . Can I get an amen?

For the record, the Freiburger (as every burger on the menu) features a custom blend patty, whose cuts and ratios are secret, and is ground to order by a butcher in the morning, like 4 in the morning. At some point I'm bound to find this nite owl/early bird butcher and reveal Dog Haus' secrets, but for the time being, I'll be content to eat my Freiburger in ignorance and continue to sleep in.

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One read off the menu tells you that the Freiburger delivers Bang for your Burger Buck; 1/3lb burger, cheese, fries, coleslaw, and fried egg for $7 . . . child please. Considering that their base cheeseburger runs you $6, you are getting three premium toppings and cheese for A FREAKIN DOLLAR. But what is truly commendable at Dog Haus is their willingness to tweak and cook to order. Let the sea of yellow shown above serve as evidence that the Dog Haus serves the yolkiest burger in town for under $10. Short of my love for a warm red center in all things beef, the sight of a runny yolk on my plate is an automatic ear to ear smile from yours truly. But beyond the yolk, the depth in the Pantry is something to take advantage of at the Dog Haus. I'm a fan of going simple with burgers and toppings; I rarely go chili, let alone Dagwood style, as was the case here.

But what I cherish more than simple is balance, and with the richness of this burger being taken to the 9s with the dressing from the coleslaw, runny egg yolk and mayonnaise, I was in need of some acidic bite to balance the flava along with my Bang for your Burger Buck. Ladies and Gentlemen, I urge you to get down with some . . .

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Dog Haus' curry ketchup.

Despite my DNA, I'm no connoisseur of all things curry, let alone curry ketchup, but let me tell you this: the overall spice fragrance from the ketchup along with the expected tanginess are wholeheartedly welcomed flavor dimensions to this ridiculously rich burger. Like a bottle of red rooster hot sauce takes to a plate of Roscoe's, this funky ketchup remix with a Bollywood twist is a necessary condiment when tackling the Freiburger. The flavor play is similar to what happens in a curry chicken salad, but on a gluttony level more befitting Homer Simpson.

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Why I'm coming back

There are a few other burgers that have caught my eye, including the Little Mule that mixes in Mexican essentials like cotija cheese, chipotle and avocado or the Holy Aioli because I'm a garlic mayonnaise junkie. But no doubt, that which will keep me coming back for more will be the folks in the kitchen, who gladly accept tweaks on their Over The Top yet well thought out burger combinations. And like that fine Sylvester Stallone movie about Arm Wrestling and being a father, what you see at Dog Haus, is exactly what you get. The food is obvious, gluttonous and fun. And in this wonderful age of food celebration and at times annoying elitist food culture, it is nice to find a place that doesn't take itself to seriously while taking serious care in putting out a quality product, like that carefully sourced beef patty. Oh and they play Rush. Game over . . . at least that's what the kids say, right?

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Dog Haus Biergaren
93 E. Green Street
Pasadena CA 91105
626~683~0808

As far as the running club advertised, I'd advise against it after eating a Freiburger...

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