Health Department Roundup

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We came across this a few days ago. Seeing the extent to which the Earth is dwarfed by the sun, and then seeing how small the sun is compared to other stars, and how small those other stars are compared to still other stars, made us consider our place in the world and the cosmic insignificance of our actions. That includes writing Health Department Roundups. We're not saying this column doesn't serve a purpose or isn't fun to write. We're just saying, if you own a restaurant that gets a citation because your manager forgot to apply for his permits, or find out your favorite neighborhood spot has some sanitation issues, don't sweat it. Our entirely unremarkable sun will eventually burn out and take all the ice machines, slimy or otherwise, with it. Who wants a drink?! Or some health inspection highlights. Either way.

Church's Chicken (6000 S. Gessner), in addition to "knowing what good is," has recently become aware of what a City of Houston health department citation is. It got a ticket for a mere three violations - improperly stored ice-dispensing utensils, a lack of properly fitting bathroom doors and a missing Food Service Manager's Permit. The inspection was based on a complaint, though, and the first two violations were repeats.

99 Cents Store (10321 Club Creek) was temporarily shut down for two violations, which is kind of remarkable. Not that the violations led to a temporary closure, but the fact that a 99 Cents Store sells food. Apparently it does so without a permit, which was the reason for both write-ups. No word on what kind of food was served, or whether the management of a discount store that doubles as an unlicensed eatery can use the "Just playin'" defense. Also acceptable are, "I guess the problem was, we weren't thinking," and, depending on the gender of the parties involved, "Boys will be boys." A distant, fourth-place wild card: "Charge it to the game, baby."

Whatever defense 99 Cents Store uses, they should get in on the record before AR 99 Cents Plus (9614 Beechnut), which inspectors closed temporarily for the same two violations. What the hell, guys? Is there some kind of thriving discount store guerrilla food scene we should know about?

Meanwhile, Dragon Seafood (9430 Richmond) gets written up for seven violations after an inspection based on a complaint. Those included potentially hazardous food not stored at proper temperatures, a lack of thermometers to measure whether hazardous food is being stored at the proper temperatures, improperly designed or maintained utensils, and a lack of "disposition dates" marked on potentially hazardous food held in storage. Good news is they apparently had their permits in order, and no citations were issued.

Missed Opportunity of the Week: The kitchen and main campus of Gross Elementary (12538 S. Gessner) passed a recent inspection without a single violation. As if you had any doubts.

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