Food & Dining

Roaches coming out of an onion bag and 170 pieces of rodent dung among restaurant fails

We were struck by how social the roaches were on this week’s “Sick and Shut Down List” of restaurants in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.

Instead of scurrying when the lights came on, they saw inspectors in the house and came out to say, “Hey! What’d you bring?”

What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections. We don’t control who gets inspected (although you can by clicking here) or how strictly they get inspected. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a special dose of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Artibonite Caribbean Restaurant, 7824 W. Sample Rd., Pompano Beach — If you’re looking for this restaurant’s inspections on the DBPR site, spell Caribbean with only one b, “Caribean.”

The roaches found the restaurant well enough with “eight live coming from the reach-in cooler in the kitchen, one live walking out of the kitchen, two live in dry storage area near reach-in cooler and two live in the server station/front counter.”

The inspector also saw seven dead roaches.

There were no soap or paper towels at the kitchen handwashing sink, which was used for ladle and bucket storage anyway. This got taken care of before the inspection was over, but what if the inspector hadn’t dropped by and how long was there no soap or way to dry hands before the inspection?

A Stop Sale dropped on 10 pounds of cooked beef that was still too warm after overnight cooling.

“All Interior of reach-in cooler heavy soiled with accumulation of food residue ... Prep table heavily soiled. Outside of ovens soiled. Hood heavily soiled.”

When the inspector came back for the April 23 try-again, three live roaches were spotted in addition to other problems. It took until Wednesday’s re-re-inspection for Artibonite to be cleared.

Aunty Gwen’s Jamaican Restaurant, 10686 SW 186th Ln., Cutler Bay — While there were over 90 rodent droppings, as disturbing as that is, what really makes you wonder about your dinner is at least 50 of those poop pellets were in a kitchen walk-in cooler used as dry storage for seasonings, onions, bottled sauces, dry beans and rice.

Over 15 live roaches ran around inside a mop cabinet to store mops. The inspector noted “Cabinet is located inside kitchen area next to a reach-in cooler and in front of the three-compartment sink.

The cooked rice , cooked beef, cooked chicken and cooked bananas were from two days before, the owner said, but, without date markings, they could have been from any era.

The inside of the reach-in cooler, the microwave and the oven all were soiled. And inside that reach-in cooler, a container of beef wasn’t covered.

China One, 7820 W. Sample Rd., Margate — We’ll open with a Stop Sale the inspector dropped on an onion bag because “Observed live roaches coming from a 50-pound raw onion bag.”

The inspector counted 10 roaches coming from the bag of raw onions. Were they crying like they’d just seen “A Star is Born?” Stumbling out like a bunch of hobos? Conga line?

Another 10 live roaches included “more than five live under a box of soda, observed them go under a shelf.” Five dead roaches were under pallets of water and sodas.

Whatever was used to scoop up the flour didn’t have a handle on it, meaning a little too much skin-to-flour contact is possible.

“Grease accumulated on kitchen floor and/or under cooking equipment.”

This was April 22. On April 23, the inspector saw the results of a war on roaches, more than 10 dead ones in the kitchen and only three live ones, although one was on a food cart.

Wednesday’s re-inspection got China One open again.

Islamorada Fish Company, 220 Gulfstream Way, Dania Beach — Renovations were underway when the inspector arrived. No plans had been submitted or approved.

Both the handwash sink and the warewashing were “conducted in outside area.”

“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

Kiosko Cubano, 13290 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami — Of the 10 live roaches, eight were on a prep area’s reach-in cooler gasket. And three pieces of roach excrement were found on the prep table under a slicer. Three dead roaches were on the floor under that prep table. Five flies zipped around the front area.

“Observed a mold like substance inside the ice machine.”

“Wall soiled with accumulated grease, food debris, and/or dust in some parts of the kitchen area.”

This was Thursday. Kiosko got it right on Friday.

Nicoya Nicaraguan Grill, 2900 W. 12th Ave., Hialeah — The inspector played 52 Close Up in this place.

That’s right, 52 violations, 10 High Priority, eight Intermediate, 34 Basic.

Let’s start with the moving violations, as in the rodents that left 170 pieces of dung in various places and chewed on an electrical wire. Over 100 of those poop pieces were in a mop sink. About 20 were under the kitchen’s air conditioning unit.

Over 10 flies flitted about the front counter, landing on dining room tables and on top of hot display cases in the front buffet area.

No hot water in the employee bathroom handwash sink. No hand drying device at the handwash sink in the front counter area. Oh, and the bathroom handwashing sink and cookline handwashing sink apparently are low flow “Water pressure lacking at fixtures that require the use of water.”

We don’t like the sound of that.

Also, they served unpasteurized milk. “Observed plastic container with Palomino Ranch Milk Lecheagria, labeled not for human consumption...”

The inspector dropped a Stop Sale on that and then made it rain Stop Sales on all kinds of food in the walk-in cooler that couldn’t get food down to 41 degrees because its ambient temperature was 63 degrees: cooked tamales, cooked beef, beef, pork, chorizo, raw chicken, coleslaw.

There was standing water in the mop sink and the handwashing sink at the cookline. But, on the upside, that does show somebody was using that handwashing sink. Probably not the employee spotted eating, then returning to work without washing his hands, but somebody.

“Cutting board has cut marks and is no longer cleanable.” They’re $8 at Publix.

Onlywood Pizzeria Trattoria, 613 1/2 Duval St., Key West — The inspector spotted 13 roaches scurrying about, eight of which were on the prep kitchen floor.

The handwashing sink isn’t exactly a high-traffic area, seeing as how it was blocked by a garbage can and used to store knives.

Also apparently not under heavy usage was the three-compartment sink for warewashing, judging by “red colored mixer soiled,” “Semolina containers soiled,” “cook line stove trays soiled with old food,” and “cheese grater soiled with old food debris.”

General cleanliness seemed the most prevalent problem here, as shown by a buildup of food debris, soil and/or grease on the prep kitchen handwash sink (told you it seemed light traffic); the microwave shelf; the prep kitchen; kitchen floor; reach-in cooler lid; hood over the grill; the floor around the grease receptacle; and the reach-in pizza cooler gaskets.

“Utensils in poor condition. Spatula chipped.”

Onlywood got it together for the Friday re-inspection.

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.
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