Health Department Roundup

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Back to the old style this week, where inspectors check out dozens and dozens of places, but hand out next to nothing in the way of citations or closures.

The only place to get cited was also temporarily closed: Kids-N-Play Daycare (7126 Pittswood), after an "illegal establishment" surveillance campaign revealed the facility did not have a Food Dealer's Permit. The inspection was based on a complaint. If we were in a complaining mood we'd complain about a day-care name that suggests kids having fun doing bad things with their friends while their parents are gone. Might as well name a POW camp after Steve McQueen.

Upscale places with completely clean inspections roll call: Sullivan's (4608 Westheimer)! Brennan's (3300 Smith)! Staples (8225 S. Gessner)!

Ross Dress for Less (7550 FM 1960 W) had nearly joined the esteemed ranks of the previous paragraph, except for one violation: "Hand washing sign/icon/poster not (posted/visible) at all hand-washing sinks used by food employees." How many "food employees" does a Ross store have? How are their prices so damn low? Why does God let bad things happen to good dogs?

Future sacrifice to the light-rail gods/current barrel Lucky Burger (1601 Richmond) earned four violations during a recent re-inspection: moist rags used for cleaning; equipment/food-contact surfaces/utensils not clean to sight and touch; single-serve articles being reused; and "contamination of foods not in ready to eat form prevented by not minimizing employee bare-hand/bare-arm contact." That's the precise wording of that last violation, which seems to suggest the sticking your bare hand or arm - or any body part, probably - into food will prevent contamination. The more you know.

Osaka Japanese Restaurant (515 Westheimer) caught two of those violations, too - the contact surfaces/utensils not clean to sight and touch one, and the poorly worded bare hand/arm one. It also earned a sushi-specific record-keeping violation: "Fish intended for consumption in raw form with freezing records not retained for 90 days."

Empire Café (1732 Westheimer) recently enjoyed a consultative visit from a sanitarian, who found no problems with the "kitchen/upstairs." Did Empire Café get a second-level expansion, or is the sanitarian confused? It's been a while since we've been there, but if it's always had an upstairs and we never noticed, it might be time to wander out into the New Mexican badlands and let the desert take us. It's been a good run.

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