Last week, a commenter pointed out that we didn't include El Real's inspection report in the roundup. That was because at the time we checked out the city's database, reports ran only through February 22. El Real's inspection occurred February 28. Bitching about food is currently in second place behind the Lord's Resistance Army/Joseph Kony on the list of very important things that we care deeply about lately. So we wouldn't pass up a chance to add a sanitation-style twist to the always-thrilling El Real debate.
The first-floor bar at El Real (1201 Westheimer) didn't register any violations. The upstairs bar got two fairly minors ones - sanitary towels/hand-drying devices not located at each hand-washing sink, and an ice-dispensing utensil stored improperly. The kitchen, however, had a rougher time. It earned seven violations: improperly stored bulk food (corrected on site); food stored in unclean or uncovered containers; equipment or utensils not properly designed/maintained; hand-washing sign not posted at all hand-washing sinks; storage facilities for utensils not designed to present the handles to employees or customers; not enough light in at least one work area; and no hand-washing sink in food prep/utensil washing station. Not great, but we've seen much worse.
Speaking of worse, "funky" (not our words, probably not their words, likely the words of some Yelp reviewer) Java Java Cafe (911 W. 11th) got hit with eight violations (but like El Real, no citation) during a recent inspection. Highlights included contaminated ice; accumulated dust/dirt/debris; ice used for cooling stored food/food containers used for human consumption; food not protected from at least one of a variety of potential contaminants; and a person in charge who was "unable to demonstrate knowledge of rules and regulations of the Houston Food Ordinance." Well, clearly.
In better Tex-Mex news, Molina's (4720 Washington) had only three violations found during a recent inspection: "Prohibited hot food holding facility used for rapid reheating of potentially hazardous food"; potentially hazardous food held at improper temperatures; and an employee sipping on something in a no-sip zone. All three were corrected on site.
Hey, are you one of those adventurous folks who likes livers, kidneys, lungs, hearts and organs like that? What about when they're cut out of other people, sometimes dead people, and put in your body to keep you alive? If so, you're in luck. Inspectors say the third-floor transplant ICU at Memorial Hermann (6411 Fannin) is spotless.
Let's end with some more good news. The Burger Guys (12225 Westheimer), contestants in the "extreme" category of the 2012 Burger Bracket (along with the previously mentioned El Real), had a completely clean inspection last week.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.