Local News


DIRTY DINING: Leticia's Cocina

Posted at 10:45 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 11:41:30-05

Just because something looks nice on the outside, doesn't mean all is well on the inside. 

Leticia's Cocina near Farm and Tule Springs looks lovely, but the popular, upscale Mexican restaurant known for its freshly made food got stung by a 32-demerit C grade.

Several food items were held past their seven-day shelf life, including tamales, birria, beef, cauliflower.

Inspectors also found food that wasn't date labeled, utensils in standing water, a fly swatter on a food storage shelf and clean equipment stored in dirty containers.

"The staff is just kind of getting a little too complacent and it's my job," said Owner Leticia Mitchell.

The biggest problem at Leticia's was food at unsafe temperatures including crab, sour cream, ceviche, tamales, guacamole, vegetables, shrimp and corn.

"We closed. We took everything out," said Leticia. She claimed the walk-in cooler went down and they had to order a compressor to fix it.

When inspectors arrived, it was filled with uncovered food subject to contamination.

"Obviously the lids weren't there and pico de gallo - they had just made it and they wanted to cool it and unfortunately, we missed that part," Leticia added.

They also missed a kitchen fundamental: proper hand washing.

Leticia said the C grade hurt the whole staff.

"It's devastating! Everybody works very hard and believe me, this is the bread and butter of many. And we take it very much to heart."

So much so that it seems they tried to hide it. 

Inspectors left the C grade clearly visible on the wall, but a few days later, a customer posted a picture on Yelp showing the grade card had been taken down and partially obscured from view. 

Leticia says they've changed procedures and retrained the entire team. 

Our two imminent health hazard closures were both at the JW Marriott on North Rampart. 

The Lodge bar and pantry were both shut down for having no hot water. 

At the pantry, inspectors also found tong handles touching crackers--which contaminates the food. 

And at the bar, the hand sink was clogged.

The Marriott Lodge bar and pantry and Leticia's Cocina are all back to zero-demerit A grades.