Health Department Roundup

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After a slow month, the inspections have gotten comparatively dirtier. It was a dangerous week for dirty restaurants, a couple of which got stuck with citations.

Late Nite Pie (302 Tuam) burned down six days after an inspection turned up seven violations. The violations were fairly routine, and included wall/ceiling in poor repair; equipment and utensils not stored in a sanitary manner; food-contact surfaces not kept free of dust/debris (corrected on site); and no test kit to measure sanitizing solution. Sort of strange - we stopped by for the first time in a long time three or four weeks ago. All alcohol sales (BYOB) had been stopped, and the confused-looking employees gave me and my friend a whole pizza for the price of a slice, plus some store-bought fat-free ranch dressing for some reason. It was like management was preparing to go out of business. Then the place burned down. Well, there it is.

Hong Kong Fish and Seafood Restaurant (1927 Gessner) was cited and temporarily closed for 13 violations. The worse were potentially hazardous food not held at proper temperature; food that was spoiled, unsafe or mislabeled; grounds that were marred by litter or unnecessary equipment; at least one person smoking inside (see the next violator, La Curva, for exact verbiage of that violation); and neither a Food Dealer's Permit nor a Food Service Manager's Certification. A contaminated ice machine was the slime on the dirt cake.

Things sound pretty laid-back over at the La Curva Ice House (8902 ½ Spring Branch). When recounting one of his epic walks, John Lomax described it like this: "...There's a ramshackle two-story Mexican ice-house / apartment building called La Curva, where the stuffed heads of a ram and a buck gaze down on three live chickens scratching about in the litter amid dozens of crushed Bud Lite cans. (It was hard to tell if the place was still in business or not, but someone was still putting away plenty of beer there.)" An inspector recently found it to be open, apparently, because it earned four violations, including a citation that almost certainly stemmed from the expensive transgression of "Person in control of an area where smoking is prohibited failed to request a person known to be smoking to extinguish the burning tobacco product." Wonder who they wrote the ticket to, and whether it'll get paid. Also, what kind of true ice house has spots where you can't smoke? We're not entirely sure.

A report for a pre-opening inspection of a mobile unit revealed that A Tribe Called Feast had non-compliant plumbing and walls, and a great name. Maybe they'll set up shop in the Second Ward, and someone will leave his or her wallet in El Segundo, and...shit, we're quitting now, sorry.

In other funny name news, Nothing Bundt Cakes (5000 Westheimer) earned one violation - canvas or cloth used as a food-contact surface. For some reason we think it's worth mentioning that the Bunt Cakes is actually the perennial name of our fantasy baseball team. Ladies, take a number.

Over next to Rudyard's, Al's Quick Stop (2002 Waugh), which has some of the better falafel in the area in addition to Mexican food, had a damn good inspection for a place situated in a convenience store. The deli counter earned only one violation - hot, potentially hazardous food not held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The store itself had one violation as well - packaged food not labeled according to regulation.

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