You should know that checking out the city's health inspection reports is a good way to discover new restaurants. You'll also discover a few things about yourself, like just how dirty is too dirty.
For your sake, we hope you consider El Penjamo (6110 Lyons) too dirty. We wrote about it before, when it received 24 violations during a re-inspection, including reopening before authorized by health officials. Last week, during yet another inspection, it received 15 violations, 11 of which were repeats. And it's not like they got unlucky and got hit with a dozen or so "walls not in good repair" or "employee consuming beverage in unauthorized area" violations - some of these are nasty. Food spoiled or mislabeled; dust/dirt accumulations; the "harborage" of insects/rodents; toxic materials not partitioned from, you know, food (this was a new one!); and, best of all, "potentially hazardous and ready-to-eat food stored at 41 degrees (5 Celsius) for more than seven days." That last one was corrected on site. Meaning El Penjamo just threw the old food out. Consider our confidence boosted. This place was cited but is still open, by the way.
Another big winner this week was Café Ko (12740 East Freeway), which was inspected after a complaint and found to be in violation of 19 ordinances. The combo-plate Chinese place's problems included spoiled or mislabeled food; food held at improper temperature; raw food not stored in a way that prevents contamination; improper thawing methods; accumulated dust/dirt/debris; a toilet room that opens directly into the kitchen; a lack of pest-prevention measures taken; and no sign alerting patrons that they cannot smoke in the restaurant. All right, that last one isn't so bad. Café Ko was also cited but remains open.
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For the brave, there's Top Liquor (3460 Elgin) near UH. A city inspection turned up just one minor violation - "toilet room not provided with at least one covered waste receptacle." But look at the place. We're not one of those sissies who thinks everything in the Third Ward is automatically dangerous, but this is the Platonic ideal of Sketchy Liquor Store. That's right, we've seen outside the cave. No big deal.
Happy News of the Week: Soul food staple This Is It (2712 Blodgett) is not only delicious, but violation-free. Now we want some mac and cheese, and it's not even 11 a.m.