Handwashing seemed almost as much a problem as vermin for the nine Miami-Dade and Broward restaurants on this Rodent Report.
Poor handwashing spreads germs like a knife working Nutella. There's a reason restaurants are required to have a sink dedicated solely for employees to wash their hands.
The Rodent Report comes straight from state restaurant inspection reports without passion or prejudice, but with a bowl of humor. We don't control who inspectors visit or how strictly they comb over an establishment.
As usual, we'll start with restaurants that got shut down wholly or partially on the presence of rodents.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
▪ Real Chef Restaurant, 486 NE 167th St., North Miami Beach — When the inspector showed up March 28, Real Chef had to know it was going to be a short day. Not just on the rodent dung count, extensive though that was: about 40 dry droppings on the floor by the handwashing sink in the kitchen, six dry rodent droppings on the floor inside a walk-in cooler that's used for dry storage, and two dry pieces on a shelf next to clean plates.
But when the inspector sees "establishment operating with no potable running water," you know you're getting shut down. This isn't Deadwood or Howard Johnson's place in Rock Ridge. You need running, drinkable water.
Without that, it's no shock that "employee prepared food without washing hands."
Chicken that was supposed to be held at 135 degrees was at 98 degrees. And there were seven dead roaches inside a kitchen ceiling light shield.
Real Chef passed the follow-up on March 29.
▪ Wong's, 12420 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami — We detailed Wong's many woes from the April 9 inspection in last week's Roach Report, so we'll limit the listing here to "Observed approximately one dead rodent underneath the cook line."
Wong's got it together to pass the April 10 re-inspection.
Now to the places that got "Administrative Complaint Recommended," meaning the inspector will keep you open, but will be back the next day to check out your many violations.
▪ The Big Apple Restaurant, 16650 NW 27th Ave., Opa-locka — On April 18, the inspector saw "approximately six dry rodent droppings on the floor, next to reach-in cooler in front of three-compartment sink by exit door."
At the three-compartment sink, "observed employee washing dishes at the three-compartment sink without sanitizer, sink not set up." Also, "Employee cracked raw shell eggs and then kept handling food without washing hands first," not what you want to see, especially during an egg-related salmonella outbreak.
Some places got cited for rodents but not shut down.
▪ Bolivian Restaurant, 2778 SW Eighth St., Miami — Six dry pieces of rodent poop by the dishwashing machine weren't as interesting as "Objectionable odor in establishment. By storage."
Does lime smell? Because there was lime built up inside the ice machine.
▪ Della, 5663 NW 35th Ct., Miami — The inspector noted "eight dry rodent droppings under dry storage shelving with single service items in an area that is not completely enclosed located next to the (food truck)."
Maybe the rodent had just eaten and saw what the inspector did, which was "employees going out and then returning to work, engaged in food preparation without hand washing."
▪ Fisher Island Beach Club, 1 Fisher Island Drive, Miami Beach — After taking the ferry over to Fisher Island, the inspector wrote, "Observed three dry rodent droppings inside shed with dry storage. Shed is located outside the kitchen with overhead protection and three walls. Shed has holes in it. Operator moved food inside."
Some other food got moved inside. Inside the garbage can, that is.
The cut tomato got dumped for not being kept at cold enough temperature — below 41 degrees. The butter was at 52, then 64 an hour and a half later, despite being in a reach-in cooler. It got tossed every four hours to deal with the problem.
And here's a violation we don't see often: "Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food marked with a date that exceeds 7 days after opening/preparation." That was 1 pound of gazpacho thrown out, possibly killing any living things in the same waste receptacle.
▪ Mazzi Cucina, 17010 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach — Around 10 dry rodent droppings in the kitchen behind equipment and near the dishwasher.
▪ Taqueria Chiapas, 12705 NW 42nd Ave., North Miami-Dade — Our second food truck of the report got hit for "observed approximately 50 dry rodent droppings underneath hand wash sink on top of water heater."
▪ Tommy Fats, 3439 NW 99th Way, Coral Springs — This is the fourth Rodent Report of 2018, and Tommy Fats is three for four. Wonder who was on vacation during the missing month, Tommy Fats or its rodents?
This citing turned into a whole rodent poop-poor handwashing episode. First, there was "Observed one dried rodent dropping around water heater in rear preparation area. Operator removed it and was instructed to clean and sanitize area."
Then, the guy moving the poop, "began to wash hands in triple sink after removing rodent dropping. He was told to wash his hands in the handwashing sink only and began to do so."
But, then, "employee rubbed hands together for less than 10-15 seconds while washing hands in between removing rodent dropping and returning to work."