Health Department Roundup

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty How can you lose?

Well, Petula, one surefire way to lose when you're downtown is by operating a restaurant without the proper permits, as a couple of 77002 favorites discovered this week.

Korma Sutra (706 Main) and Houston Tamale Factory (1205 Travis) were both closed temporarily for operating an establishment without a food dealer's permit. Both places registered otherwise clean inspections. Really, it's just not worth it. We see it all the time. Places - usually smaller establishments, like game rooms or convenience stores - get their food operations suspended for not having their paperwork in order. Meanwhile, a place with a combined 21 violations in the kitchen and buffet area gets by without so much as a citation. As Thomas DeCarlo Callaway would say, "Ain't that some shit?"

In some much happier news, the Waffle House near IAH (7106 Will Clayton Pkwy.) just had a perfect inspection without any paperwork issues. Why we can have a Wendy's every three blocks but no Waffle House near downtown is a mystery. We'll always have 61st Street. We guess.

The McDonald's at 9411 Jensen racked up four violations during a recent inspection. Three of them were standards - improperly installed or maintained plumbing, walls/ceilings in disrepair, and accumulated dust/dirt/debris. It also earned this syntactic nightmare: "Working supply of potentially hazardous food held before cooking using time only as a public health control not marked with the time of 4 hours or less in which it is to be cooked, served or discarded." At least whoever composed that tongue twister left out the serial comma. Frabjous job.

Vague Violation of the Week: The meat department of Super Mercado San Francisco (9934 Mesa Drive) was closed temporarily after an inspection last Thursday. You might have guessed that one of the seven violations it earned was not having a Food Dealer's Permit. The vagueness starts, though, with violation No. 5, which reads, "Food establishment engaging in an activity without an approved variance from the department." Sounds like SMSF is some kind of small-time muscle for a mob boss who got caught selling drugs on the side. Also, it's worth noting that their meat is either unsafe for human consumption or mislabeled, just like the last time the place was inspected.

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