There are good ideas. And bad ideas. And good, bad ideas. Going to the Pasadena Flea Market resides fittingly under all of the above headings.
Good idea because The Monster goes with friends. Bad idea because it proves to be 106 degrees Fahrenheit and demonstrates what living on the sun assuredly must be like. And good, bad idea because it is a swell time but The Monster thinks he may need to be hooked up to an IV and have his electrolytes replenished. And he might faint. And the cumulative amount of sweat lost could fill the East Indian Ocean. But all of this leads to Haven Gastropub…
Because a nice ice cold beer and some hearty grub sounds perfect. Plus there is a playoff basketball game on. Mind you, this does not matter to The Monster but it does matter. To his friends. So in a way it matters to The Monster.
This is a menu of beef tongue poutine and Shepherd’s Pie and Hungarian goulash. In short, a bunch of stuff you might dig but The Monster steers clear of. Luckily, there are items that sound appealing like the…
House cured salmon with orange zest mascarpone, shaved radish and micro greens along with the Brussels sprouts with Zoe’s prosciutto and lemon zest to start. As for the mains, a “shake n’ bake” sandwich, corn flake-crusted ground chicken, rosemary mashed potatoes, black pepper gravy, collard greens, honey mustard and the “arrogant mussels” PEI mussels, tomato, onion, arrogant bastard ale, cream, herbs.
The (very friendly) waitress cannot keep water filled fast enough. This is because the table needs hoses they can gulp from directly. Luckily, the starters come out quickly.
The Brussels sprouts are good, but in a world where Brussels sprouts are now on every menu (every single menu) good isn’t quite good enough. As for the salmon, too much mascarpone overpowers the other ingredients. Still, these get devoured as the table is starving.
Shortly thereafter the mains arrive. The mussels are meaty bivalves, the bitter beer serving as a nice counterpoint to their ocean-y goodness. That being said, dipping bread into the broth doesn’t work, way too bitter for this cat. If you flip over the taste of bitter/beer/bread go to town, friend.
The sandwich is another case of good idea. Bad idea. Good/bad idea. In that it works and it doesn’t. Love heaping on a whole slew of fun mess on top of a chicken burger. Good idea. Execution isn’t so great in practice as the entire enterprise is overwhelmed by the rosemary mash and the distinct flavors all get lost together. Still, it is not altogether without its merits.
The best part of Haven is that it is extremely cool inside, the service is friendly, the beer is ice cold and place exudes a friendly charm that is perfect for an afternoon with friends.
Why go? Solar flares are intense on the surface of the sun. And in Pasadena.
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
42 South De Lacey Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105