Tuesday, March 5, 2013

First Thoughts: Float in Pasadena

Float is not the easiest place to find. While listed as a Lake Avenue address, the sandwich/soda fountain/coffeeshop is actually buried in the back of the bonny Burlington Arcade off the un-bonny Shoppers Lane parking lot. Don't let this deter you however. In their own words, Float serves "kick ass coffee, damn good sandwiches, curated vintage pop and FLOATS!" While no one should ever use the words "curated vintage pop" with a straight face, I tend to agree with their assessment.

As someone who spends a bulk of my week days shacked up at local coffeeshops, I cannot properly express my frustration toward LA shop's lack of lunch offerings. I mean, how hard is to have a few sandwiches? You also realize my fellow Laptop Warriors leave your place to get lunch elsewhere just to return again later? WHY NOT MARRY THE TWO? Thus, imagine my delight with Float's strong half dozen sandwich options. All come on the much beloved Dutch Crunch bread, which, by the way, is way too rare in these parts. Available at almost all top NorCal sandwich shops, DC is surprisingly scarce in the Southland. Not at Float. It is baked locally for them every morning. The fresh bread provided the perfect complimentary crunch for my Pesto Chicken sandwich (roasted chicken, basil pesto, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and provolone cheese). This is the coffee shop sandwich I've been dreaming of for years. Tasty, fresh and hearty, and you really can't lose with that Dutch Crunch.

Sandwiches aren't Float's calling card though. People have and will continue to flock to Float for the soda floats. As their "How to Build A Float" signage attests, customers are invited to browse their extensive soda cooler, choose one, then decide between five ice cream flavors of the iconic Fosselman's from neighboring Alhambra, combine the two and "Enjoy!" I hadn't had a soda float in such a long time that my Dulce de Leche ice cream-Brownie brand Caramel Cream Root Beer made me smile. The old school striped straws are also a nice touch. While the shop certainly isn't reinventing the float wheel here, they are offering top notch sodas and ice creams, rarely available in soda fountains nowadays. In doing so, they also make Float a sort of artisanal AM-PM. You've got quality sandwiches on fresh Dutch Crunch. You've got quality ice cream soda floats. And you've even got Handsome Roasters coffee. There truly is something for everyone.

Situated in a (perfectly fitting) classic arcade, Float is definitely a worthy addition to the Pasadena coffee/lunch/ice cream scene. Maybe they'll open something closer to Santa Monica some day (hint, hint).

380 S. Lake Avenue #106, Pasadena

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