Would your kitchen pass inspection?

Jeff Kramer

Unsatisfactory inspections from the county Health Department

Another crop of popular eateries has made news for the wrong reasons. Tully’s Good Times in Liverpool and Friendly’s in DeWitt join the ever-expanding list of local favorites receiving unsatisfactory inspections from the county Health Department.

Even up on The Hill there’s no escaping the long arm of overbearing government regulation.

“Women’s toilet room lacks soap,” tut-tuts the write-up on Samrat Indian Restaurant.

So judgmental. Personally, when I’m at an Indian restaurant, I prefer a little Developing Nation ambiance when I have to visit the Vindaloo.

And then there’s Coleman’s, the legendary Tipp Hill pub. It’s been bullied into redoing its kitchen because of unsatisfactory inspections.

“Evidence of rodent activity noted in four bags of lentils, two bags of barley and two bags of split peas in basement storage area (voluntarily discarded),” read one report.

Oh, please. A little rodent activity never killed anyone. OK, maybe during the Black Plague, but can we move on? Those were European rodents, anyway.

People are hypocrites. They hear about a few fruit flies circling a sack of mangos, or a couple of foxes mating on a platter of sushi, and they vow never to patronize that restaurant again. But what about their own home kitchens. How pristine are they?

To underscore that point, I donned my favorite Ebola decontamination suit and did several inspections of La Kocina d’Kramer this past month. We passed.

Our kitchen and dining area earned an encouraging “moderate” rating in the prestigious “Risk of Contracting Food-Born Illness Requiring Hospitalization” category. Of course, there’s always room for improvement. Here’s the breakdown of how we did:

OCT 13

  • Cooked egg noodles left overnight in colander in sink. Violation corrected by discarding primary noodle clump and chipping off remaining dried noodle fragments using 900 bpm “Pavement Breaker” DeWalt jackhammer.
  • Large man wearing only underwear spotted guzzling chocolate milk straight from carton.
  • Rear kitchen window: Stinkbug noted.

OCT 14

  • Female food preparer observed consuming wine while chopping vegetables.
  • Adolescent girl applying nail polish in food-preparation area.
  • Large, burr-covered canine observed in kitchen area licking personal canine regions, then licking gloveless hands of food preparers. Canine was not wearing a hair net.
  • Half-Chihuahua seen eating Parmesan cheese spilled on kitchen island.
  • Half-eaten package of salmon jerky abandoned in back of refrigerator. Expiration date unknown.
  • Underaged food-preparer’s homemade macaroons languishing on countertop. No one in household willing to state obvious: The macaroons do not meet the USDA standard for “food.”
  • Leftover coq au vin is acknowledged by lead line cook to be “not as good the second day.” Dish is abandoned in secondary fridge in garage and can be heard bellowing: “I demand respect! You have not seen the last of me!”

OCT 15

  • Due to design flaw, fancy new farmhouse sink is flat and does not slope toward drain, requiring kitchen workers to use hands (often bare) to push putrid organic matter of unknown origin into disposal. Male kitchen worker seen carelessly jamming fingers in drain while disposal is running. Female kitchen supervisor heard yelling at him: “Be careful.” Male kitchen worker heard replying, “I hate this sink. Leave me alone.” Employee training advised.
  • Scuttling sound heard in floor vent.
  • Undiluted Simple Green used by male kitchen worker to clean counter. Reprimand issued by female kitchen supervisor. Male kitchen worker leaves in huff in middle of shift. Returns. Scoops and eats cold macaroni and cheese from pot with fingers of ungloved hand.
  • Teen’s hairbrushes and retainer

observed in food preparation area.

  • Kitchen supervisor places 2-week-old coq au vin in non-hazmat-grade garbage bag and carries to curb, violating 21-day quarantine order. Coq au vin steals child’s bike. Coq au vin regeneration spores detected in mud room.

Conclusion: With more attention to detail, this establishment is salvageable, although male kitchen worker may not possess adequate skill or temperament to work as food handler. Recommendation: Once violations are corrected, remove crime scene tape from kitchen. Order more take-out.



Email Jeff Kramer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JKintheCuse.

There are about 47.8 foodborne illnesses per year, health officials estimate. Nearly 130,000 people were sick enough to go to the hospital. A little more than 3,000 were sick enough to go to the morgue.

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