Restaurant News & Reviews

Poop on a spatula, moldy chicken, a South Beach place among restaurant inspection fails

This week’s “Sick and Shut Down List” of South Florida restaurants that failed inspection includes one place that had no drinkable water and another place that had too much rodent dung to count.

That’s in addition to the violations in the headline.

What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections. If you see violations or there’s a place you want inspected, don’t email us — report it by clicking here. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a side dish of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Chez Mama Take Out Restaurant, 1026 NW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale: “Establishment operating with no potable running water.”

When the inspector says that mama’s house has not drinkable running water, you’re already in garbage time on the inspection. You’ve failed. The rest of the violations are just running up the score.

“No sanitizer of any kind available for warewashing. Only use single-service items to serve food to customers until sanitizer is available for warewashing.” Uh, OK, but what about the cookware? Do you know of anybody who has plastic, single-service cookware?

Neither hot watern or cold water at the three-compartment sink or the handwash sinks in the kitchen or bathrooms. Can’t dry your hands in the bathrooms anyway.

And in the bathroom, the toilet can’t be flushed. It’s not the water. It’s missing a handle.

No lights working in the kitchen.

Stop Sales showered on cooked pork, cooked rice, cooked potatoes, cooked chicken and cooked spinach fixed the previous day and each at least 10 degrees too warm.

It took two days, but Chez Mama was back hosting folks after Thursday’s re-inspection.

China Lakes Restaurant, 19589 NW 57th Ave., Northwest Miami-Dade: China Lakes hit the hat trick of problems that not only will get you closed for the day, but usually means you’ll be a two-time loser.

Rodents: Over 20 pieces of poop under the shelves next to the three-compartment sink and over 30 of them under the shelves at the dry storage area.

Roaches: live ones crawling on a clean plastic food container, three crawling on the handwash sink and 10 on shelves over the three-compartment sink.

Stop Sale: Chicken and pork chilled at 50 degrees and 54 degrees when they needed to be at 41 or below.

So, the Lakes looked pretty polluted even before we get to a blocked handwash sink, stored rice not covered in the walk-in cooler and a hole in the ceiling over the handwash sink.

The online reports says China Lakes remained closed after the Wednesday re-inspection and passed Thursday’s re-re-inspection, but didn’t provide details of either one.

Latin Mix, 11368 SW 184th St., West Miami-Dade: “Sewage backing up ... from the mop sink ... sewage backing up from floor drain located by the back door.”

Next to “no running water” that might be the worst High Priority violation to have, if you’re only going to have one.

“Encrusted material on can opener blade.”

The ice cream scoop in water cooler than 135 degrees usually isn’t that bad, but 78 degrees is cooler than you think when it comes to water.

No way to dry hands at the handwashing sink.

Latin Mix had the right mix for the re-inspection later the same day.

Mare Mio Restaurant, 447 Espanola Way, Miami Beach: Of the 70 flies the inspector counted — and if they can count them, can they snag one out of the air with chopsticks? — 60 were in the kitchen prep area and 10 were in another food preparation area.

What was in the ice machine besides ice? Regular readers know. “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

“ In-use tongs stored on equipment door handle between uses. Observed tongs on stove door handle.” At least it’s not in the gunky cracks between equipment.

“Walk in cooler shelves rust and food debris on them.”

Mare Mio passed Tuesday’s re-inspection.

Orange Tree Breakfast and Lunch, 6400 N. University Dr., Pompano Beach: Some problems need to be taken care of, even if you have to call in MacGyver and the Impossible Missions Force.

“Toilet in the ladies [restroom] not flushing.”

Of the seven live roaches spotted, one was under a counter where uncovered cooked sausages and ham were stored. Clearly on a stakeout.

More than 20 dead roaches and a sole survivor were in the cabinet under the drink machine, where you find the soda syrups. One dead roach was on corned beef hash. Wonder if the volume or the quality killed him.

“Observed food prep worker constantly wipe hands on soiled wiping cloth then make toast for customers with same gloved hands.”

Yeah, that’s a no-no. Then again, the handwash sink was blocked by empty boxes.

As for washing and sanitizing the disahe, the hot water wasn’t that hot and failed three consecutive tests.

A container with barbecue pork in the walk-in was dated Sept. 27. This inspection was Thursday, Oct. 17, a little beyond the seven-day limit. “Operator states wrong date is on container,” but “old label was not removed.”

A 10-inch can of corned beef hash got hit with a Stop Sale for being dented.

“Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris.”

“Observed walk in cooler shelves and walls soiled. Observed hood filters soiled.”

Orange Tree got it together for Friday’s re-inspection.

R1 Coffee, 17940 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton: Not bugs, but a bug control device “on the undercounter with and abutting opened deli papers, single service cups and food storage display.”

But the biggest problem seemed to be the dishwashing machine.

“There is no sanitizer connected to dishmachine nor is there dishmachine sanitizer available. The dishmachine sanitizer was borrowed from a neighboring restaurant and hooked up to machine. This sanitizer failed to travel through line to machine after testing on FOUR cycles.” (Capitalization by the inspector.)

“There is NO three-compartment Sink to allow for manual ware-washing. The dishmachine is located beneath the front customer service area counter. There is no area to scrap and pre-rinse soiled dishware.”

The handwash sink didn’t have any way to dry hands, but it couldn’t be used for handwashing anyway because of all the pans, utensils and attachments.

R1 got a time extension on some of the violations after a Saturday re-inspection.

Sofra Mediterranean Cuisine, 819 Lake Ave., Lake Worth: Inspectors count moving things such as flies and live roaches. How bad is the collection of rodent poop pellets if an inspector writes “too many to count under west side of the front counter and north side of the soda machine?”

More than the 44 he counted, one of which was on a wooden pizza spatula on top of the pizza oven, another seven on top of the pizza oven and one was in the handwash sink on the cookline. Bold little critters.

They also left rub marks on a pipe next to that handwash sink and around a hole on top of an electrical box over the hand sink.

With this kind of vermin activity, do you really want to see “box of carrots stored on floor in walk-in cooler?” What’s up with that, Doc?

Sofra got the rodent problem at least hidden by the re-inspection, although they did still have problems such as no shield on the light in the walk-in cooler

Sweeteheartz Soulfood and BBQ, 2602 N. 22nd Ave., Hollywood: Sweeteheartz is this week’s Which is Worse? establishment.

“Cooked chicken in white refrigerator in storage room with mold on it.” That got a Stop Sale.

Or, 185 pieces of rodent dung, broken down as 100 under a shelf next to a Coca-Cola storage room cooler, 60 under a back room shelf next to the employee restroom, 15 under a kitchen shelf and 10 under the three-compartment sink.

And there’s some general cleaning yucks, such as “accumulation of food debris/grease on food-contact surface” at the white kitchen refrigerator, a storage room refrigerator, a green freezer in the storage room and the Coca-Cola cooler. And, “wall soiled with accumulated grease, food debris and dust” in the kitchen.

“Grease accumulated on kitchen floor and/or under cooking equipment, pots of used oil on the floor.”

“Build up of soil/debris on the floor under shelves” in the entire restaurant.

Sweeteheartz passed re-inspection on Saturday.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.