Health Department Roundup: Sometimes There's God Edition

Believe it or not, trolling the Houston Health Department website for tidbits about dirty floors, missing hand-washing signs and spoiled animal parts is not always an invigorating activity. But sometimes, as Blanche Dubois says, there's God. Take a look at page one under Full Service Restaurants this week.The fourth restaurant listed is called "some mexican food joint." Priceless. If the inspectors had checked 8201 La Porte Freeway on the online Yellow Pages, they'd have learned the "joint" is called Taqueria Marcelinas. We hereby cite the citers for poor fact-checking but salute them for making a dry public document more entertaining. Moving right along to some other naughty joints...

The Cactus Grill (16580 El Camino Real) was operating without a food dealer's permit, and the person in charge did not have a food service manager's certification on hand.

Angie's Country Kitchen (11708 Hempstead) in the industrial wasteland that may (please God) one day be a commuter rail corridor to Cypress and other points Northwest, stored utensils while they were still wet, stored garbage bins on an unpaved surface, and had window screens with holes in them.

Alexander the Great Greek (3055 Sage Road), due west of the erstwhile Transco--now Williams--Tower, has great fennel-filled bread, great Santorini Sigalis wine and great baby squid, but this week the restaurant not-so-greatly stored food in unlabeled containers, had no shatter-resistant coating for its artificial lighting and had openings to the outside unprotected from the onslaught of insects.

Lola is a brand-new place in the old Eckerd building in the Heights, at 1102 Yale. Members of Anytime Fitness next door have been wondering what kind of fruit is meant to stand in for the O in the Lola sign. It sort of looks like a peach and an orange and a tomato rolled into one -- and is there a bite taken out of it? Poor Lola's inaugural inspection turned up problems with exposed utility service lines, rough ceilings, gaps between the walls and floors, and poorly fitting toilet doors.

Aga's Pakistani Restaurant (11842 Wilcrest) is known for its pleasant environment and authentic Pakistani food. But inspectors could not find an air-temperature thermometer in a food storage area, and there was no soap available at hand-washing sinks.

Lastly, prayer and location must have something to do with the success of the Heights' 11th Street Café (748 E. 11th St.). It surely has nothing to do with the food or the service. Its ventilation hood system was not sufficient to prevent the accumulation of grease. Plumbing was not maintained properly (repeat violation). Ice-dispensing utensils were not stored on a clean surface. And no one there had a food service manager's certification.

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