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DIRTY DINING: New name, same old problem

Posted at 10:42 PM, May 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 02:41:05-04

Tonight, Contact 13 returns to a familiar location where the name and ownership have changed, but apparently the place is still dirty. 

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has that, plus a cockroach infestation, in tonight's Dirty Dining.

It was Hunan Jiu Jia in its first Dirty Dining appearance in 2014. Now, it's making a comeback as Chengdu Taste. 

The restaurant on Schiff Drive in Chinatown barely avoided shutdown with a 40-demerit C grade.

Darcy Spears: See the C up there?
Employee: Yeah, uh huh.
Darcy: So we just need to talk to whoever's in charge right now.

That would prove to be a difficult request.

Darcy: Who's in charge right now?
Employee: Actually, I don't know.
Darcy: You don't know? You guys know that it is a health code violation to not have a person in charge?

When she says she doesn't know what "In charge" means, we find ourselves giving a lesson in health code regulations.

"If the health inspector came in right now," Spears explained, "they'd have to have someone in charge that would be able to answer questions about food safety and proper temperatures and employee health policy and public health, and all that stuff."

Inspectors encountered a similar problem when they were at Chengdu Taste. 

The person in charge was unable to demonstrate food safety knowledge and couldn't answer employee health policy questions. That earned the restaurant three demerits in and of itself as a major violation. 

Inspectors also saw an employee rinse their hands without using soap. 

There was dried food debris on clean knives, and dirty mop handles resting on thawing raw meat. 

The floor was wet, the floor drain dirty, and there was a rainbow of yuck on the tray where chemicals are stored. 

After talking to the chefs, the employee finds someone else to help out.

Darcy: Everyone's handing us off, but we'll take whoever we can talk to.

Wayne Wang says they're working on fixing all the violations noted in the health inspection, including one of their coolers that left potentially hazardous foods at unsafe temperatures, like bean sprouts, bok choy, rice, noodles, and yogurt. 

There was also a bowl of raw shrimp stacked on an uncovered bowl of peas. 

Bottles of WD-40 and sunburn spray were stored with food products.

Darcy: There were flies in the kitchen, there was a roach on the floor. None of that's good.
Wayne: I know that's not good at all, but...

He says they rely on a pest control company to keep the roaches out, but health inspectors warn conditions in the kitchen could keep luring the bugs back in.

Darcy: You don't want to have to kill them after they get here. You want to keep them out to begin with.
Wayne: Yeah, that's true. Everybody knows that cocktail -- I'm sorry -- cockroach is not good at all.

Chengdu Taste left dirty wiping cloths on prep tables. 

The floor, bulk storage bins, and plates and bowls were dirty, and some were chipped. 

And a cleaver handle was held together with a dirty rubber band.

As for closures, Baja Fresh on Rancho and Craig was shut down for failing re-inspection after getting a C grade. 

There were multiple repeat violations including unsafe food handling and unsafe food temperatures. 

The make table was a mess, and there was heavy grease build-up on equipment.

And Hedary's Mediterranean Restaurant on Sahara near Tenaya Way was shut down for an imminent health hazard.

The place was infested with multi-generational cockroaches. They were on food contact surfaces throughout the kitchen, even in the iron skillets. 

There were also multiple containers of expired food, and the stove and floors were heavily soiled with grease and food build-up.

Baja Fresh and Hedary's are back open with zero-demerit A grades. 

Chengdu Taste still has a C.