This week, a woman suddenly forgets how to speak English when questioned by Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears. But that won't stop Darcy from telling us where the dining is dirty.
When the Health District requires your restaurant to come in for a supervisory conference, you might be on Dirty Dining.
When you get written up for continued lack of control over foodborne illness risks, you might be on Dirty Dining.
And when you add lack of managerial control, you'll likely be on Dirty Dining.
That's the case for Ilopango, a Salvadoran restaurant on Tropicana and Pecos that was recently slapped with a 30-demerit C grade.
When Darcy arrived to ask for Ilopango's side of the story, the person in charge interrupted her saying, "The manager is not here right now."
Darcy: We just need to speak to whoever's in charge right now.
Person in charge: Oh. Sorry, me no speak English. Sorry.
One minute her English is just fine and the next, she suddenly can't answer questions.
Darcy: You don't speak English that well?
Person in charge: No, just a little bit. I'm sorry.
Darcy: Okay, do you speak enough to maybe tell me what happened with the health inspection?
Person in charge: No. Not... I don't know.
Health inspectors found multiple containers of pupusa mixes (bean, meat, and cheese), as well as cooked tomato sauce, had been cooled improperly. All had to be thrown out. So did soup and beans in the walk-in that were found at unsafe temperatures.
Food in freezers was subject to contamination due to torn and open packaging and debris in the units. And avocados were not properly washed prior to use.
Darcy: You don't know. I think you do know. And I think you speak English better than you're saying.
It's clear she understands us just fine, but she walks away as we try to get answers.
Eventually, she gives us a card with no name on it and tells us to call the manager.
Darcy: I just need to know who I -- who to talk to when I call.
She walks away without an answer.
Inspectors noted a lack of attention to a major food borne illness risk. Food has to be thrown away if it's held at room temperature and not used for four hours. But instead of discarding stuff that had been sitting out, Ilopango put the food in the fridge for future use.
We tried calling the restaurant manager three times, but each time, the same woman we talked to at the restaurant answered the phone, said the manager wasn't there, and hung up.
Ilopango still has a C grade.