In my personal opinion, the weekly Health Department Roundups that our own Blake Whitaker writes up are the funniest posts that Eating...Our Words run all week. But even the esteemed Mr. Whitaker has nothing on the original Health Department Hound: Marvin Zindler.
In the video above, sent to me by Assistant Music Editor Craig Hlavaty, you can see the be-sunglassed Zindler at his prime: busting "rest'runts" for rats, roaches, slime in the ice machine and -- in one case -- mice at Sake Sushi, the name of which Zindler pronounced to rhyme with "rake."
Just hearing that old-school Houston accent (and the old KTRK Channel 13 news theme music) brings back fond memories of a time when Zindler's reports meant that Mom and Dad were finally home from work for the day and dinner would be ready soon. Some people get nostalgic over old songs and movies; I get nostalgic over old news clips. Dave Ward has the power to make me weepy with his voice.
Of the restaurants that Zindler covered in this 13-year-old report, most are still open: General Joe's in Montrose and Bob's Deli Station in Tanglewood, for example, as well as Sasaki Japanese Cuisine at Westheimer and Fondren.
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What we're missing sorely, however, is a restaurant from Zindler's infamous "slime in the ice machine" list: The Pig Stand, which closed in 2006 and was torn down in 2008 to make way for multi-level sports bar Sawyer Park. The restaurant was notable as one of the last Pig Stands in Texas; the Dallas-based restaurant chain began in 1921 and was considered the very first drive-in. Aside from its outdoor bathrooms, The Pig Stand on Washington Avenue was known for its Googie architecture and as one of the filming locations for Terms of Endearment with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson.
Thank you, Marvin, for the memories.