It's Magic! 39 Violations for a Chinese Restaurant in East Boca

The restaurant formerly known as Pine Garden
The restaurant formerly known as Pine Garden

A rose by any other name? Our list of East Boca restaurant inspections is topped by a restaurant now named “Magical Rice,” on Federal Highway. Their early March inspection revealed a total of 39 violations including 7 marked high priority.

Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food while the establishment is under a foodborne illness investigation. Employee cutting vegetables with his bare hands . Gloves worn. **Corrected On-Site**
Employee failed to wash hands before putting on gloves to work with food. **Corrected On-Site**
Nonfood-grade containers used for food storage – direct contact with food. Cooked chicken stored in non food grade bags in walkin freezer.
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food prepared from/mixed with ingredient(s) at ambient temperature not cooled to 41 degrees Fahrenheit within 4 hours. Initial temperature of Shrimp 45 to 46° F , 2nd temp within 1 hr between 43 to 52° F. Cooling for 2 hrs at flip top cooler in cookline. At current rate of cooling the product will not cool to 41° F within 4 hrs. Added ice to rapid cool. Maintain lid closed on flip top cooler. Corrective action taken.
Raw animal food stored over/with ready-to-eat food in walk-in freezer – not all products commercially packaged. Raw chicken over cooked pork. **Corrected On-Site**
Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in freezer – all products not commercially packaged. Raw chicken next to and touching raw pork . **Corrected On-Site**
Toxic substance/chemical stored by or with clean or in-use utensils. Degreaser next to clean pots at cookline. **Corrected On-Site**

Per their website they used to be Pine Garden restaurant, which had poor inspection reports in August and May of 2014. It appears the name change did not magically improve things.
In second place, but possibly worse, Nino’s of Boca II on NE 5th had a bad run with 6 inspections over the past month including three temporary closures. At its worst, the February 12th inspection showed 28 violations including this:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found, approx. 100 fresh and 50 dry under pizza oven. Approx. 50 both fresh and dry under prep table next to pizza oven. Approx. 30 fresh on prep table shelf next to pizza oven. 2 fresh on dough shelf above prep table. Approx. 15 fresh under reach in cooler at pizza station. Approx. 15 fresh under reach in cooler on cook line. Approx. 20 fresh by fryer. Approx. 20 fresh under prep table in kitchen with slicer. 4 fresh under table by walk in cooler. Approx. 15 fresh under dish machine. Approx. 25 fresh on top of dish machine. Approx. 15 fresh behind rack next to Hobert mixer.

That’s a lot of rodent droppings, and more were found on February 27th:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found, 10 fresh on top of dish machine, 1 fresh by soda boxes and back door, 3 fresh under shelving by back door, 1 fresh on prep table next to pizza oven, 4 fresh behind reach in cooler, 1 fresh by walk in cooler, 5 fresh under microwave on top of steam table in kitchen. **Repeat Violation**

And again on the 28th:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found, 10 fresh on top of dish machine, 1 fresh by soda boxes and back door, 3 fresh under shelving by back door, 1 fresh on prep table next to pizza oven, 4 fresh behind reach in cooler, 1 fresh by walk in cooler, 5 fresh under microwave on top of steam table in kitchen. **Repeat Violation** **Warning** At time of callback 5 fresh under soda boxes, 1 fresh by wait station, 1 fresh on left side of walk in cooler, 1 fresh on right side of walk in cooler.

They reopened on March 2nd with a nearly perfect inspection. Nino’s II previously had bad inspections in October and February of 2014.
Ninja Spinning Sushi was hit again, this time with 22 violations in early February. Back in September we reported they were hit with 36 violations.
Bluefin Express on Yamato and Rebel House on East Palmetto Park both had 19 violations. We looked through the reports and didn’t see anything that bad.
Four restaurants were hit with 16 violations including Spadini’s (NE 2nd), Madison’s New York Grill (northeast of Town Center), Punjab (Federal Highway) and Nick’s New Haven Pizzeria (east of Town Center). Stir Crazy (Town Center) and Gluttonous Goat (between Mizner Park and Royal Palm Plaza) each had 15 violations. Despite those numbers we didn’t see anything particularly disturbing.
On the good side of our report, Six Tables (just south of Mizner Park) and Tomasso’s Pizzeria (Palmetto just east of I-95) both had perfect inspections. Four restaurants in Town Center were near perfect including Maoz Vegetarian, Shrimp House, Blue Martini and Chick-Fil-A.
Our full spreadsheet for this report is below:
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Sapphire Indian in Royal Palm Place: Review

Open for a few months now, Sapphire Indian Cuisine has replaced Maxie’s in Royal Palm Place. I stopped by today for lunch but forgot to take a picture of the front, so I used an old shot of Maxie’s just so readers would have a sense of where it is. Here’s a map also, showing it on the east side of Federal Highway south of Palmetto Park Road:

It has both indoor and outdoor seating. The colors are bright and go together well. My phone camera has been delivering poor results and will soon be replaced, but here’s the bar area, then the main interior and finally the outside dining area:
The staff were very pleasant, and most important, the food was good. I ordered the lunch “thali” which was $15 and came with three small entrees and several other items.
It was a lot of food and I was unable to finish. The entrees included (clockwise from lower left) a chicken dish, one with lamb, and the third with shrimp. I didn’t recognize the names of any of them but all were very good. The first two were meaty and the third had only two shrimp but they were large. Continuing clockwise there was a bean based soup (dal), white rice, a yogurt dip, and pickled chutney. During ordering the waiter asked for my spice preference. I chose “American hot” but the dishes didn’t seem spicy.
The naan (bread – center of the picture) was just okay. Another picture I failed to take was the mango lassi (an Indian yogurt drink), but I caught it in the corner of the food shot:
This was the best mango lassi I’ve had in South Florida. It was richer and the mango was palpable rather than just a color and flavor.
The other lunch option is $14 and includes an entree, dessert and another item. The popular Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the options. There are many entrees on the regular menu mostly starting at $15, with some reaching up to the high twenty-dollar range.
Judging on quality, Sapphire is among the best Indian restaurants in the area. With nothing that style in West Boca, our closest options are in East Boca and Coral Springs. Punjab on Federal Highway north of Glades is in the same class as Sapphire. Bombay Cafe, south of Glades near Boca Regional Hospital, is more of a take-out place with lower prices but lacks the same feel and taste. We haven’t tried Kasi on Yamato near Congress and the Tri-Rail station but it appears to be less expensive with a more limited menu.
In Coral Springs there are a few Indian places on Sample going west from 441. The closest is the recently opened Taste Buds of India which we just tried and liked. Further west are Chutney & Pickle (excellent but spicy, with a reasonably priced lunch buffet) and Khana Kh’Zana (best vegetarian options).
Getting an Indian restaurant in West Boca is at the top of our wish list for 2015. We have more people than either East Boca or Coral Springs. It’s hard to believe we don’t have one yet, but we’re hoping.

How Bad is Crime in West Boca?

After hearing concerns that our arrest reports were making West Boca look bad, we decided to do some research. We have good news.
We’re doing a three-part series on crime statistics in West Boca, Boca Raton, and Palm Beach County. In this first part of the series, we compare West Boca to East Boca, and both to the county as a whole.

Update: In Part 2 we look at arrest rates by zip code in all of Boca Raton.

We requested data on every person booked by the Palm Beach County Sheriff in the first quarter of 2014. That data includes the zip code of the arrested person’s residence. Boca Raton has nine zip codes. There are various ways to break down east vs. west. For this exercise (and for other purposes) we define West Boca as being the following five zip codes: 33428, 33498, 33496, 33434 and 33433, with a total population of roughly 135,000 people.
west-boca-zipsEast Boca is then the remaining four zip codes, 33431, 33432, 33486 and 33487, with 75,000 people.
The breakdown isn’t perfect. The city’s own data shows the municipal population at 84,000.
Here’s what the city lines look like:
Boca Raton City Map
There is no perfect division of east and west, but the zip codes are very helpful here because each arrest has a zip code associated with it.
It’s also important to note here that the Sheriff’s data includes every count someone’s arrested for as a separate line. In other words, if someone is arrested for battery and for resisting, that’s two counts. In January a man in West Boca was arrested for 36 counts of sexual assault on a minor. That kind of data could really skew the numbers.
So does it make sense to compare crime by number of counts, or by number of arrests? Again there’s no perfect answer. However within Boca, both east and west were close to 1.8 counts per arrest so it shouldn’t matter within Boca. And for county-wide numbers, it would be a lot of work to reduce to just arrests so we’re just going with counts.
West Boca Has Low Crime
The two biggest results we have to report are first that West Boca has a lower crime rate than East Boca, and that Boca as a whole has a much lower crime rate than the county as a whole.
In West Boca there were 1.7 arrests and 2.9 counts per thousand people in the first quarter. East Boca had significantly higher numbers with 2.9 arrests and 5.4 counts per 1000 people. While this might make East Boca seem bad, their numbers are actually much better than the county as a whole.
Palm Beach County has a population of about 1.35 million, and there were almost 15,000 counts county-wide, which means the county crime rate of 11 counts per 1000 people. Taking Boca out of the data gets it to over 12 counts per 1000 people in the rest of the county (i.e. north of Boca). So crime rates in the rest of the county are twice as high as East Boca and almost four times as high as West Boca
We’re still working on the data. In the next part we will go through Boca Raton to see which zip codes have the most arrests and which have the least.

Please keep in mind that there are all kinds of potential problems with our analysis. We did not look at the type or severity of the crimes people were arrested for – at least not yet. Counts can be felonies, misdemeanors, non-criminal infractions, probation violations, recommits and others. We did not (and could not) look at crimes by where they happened, instead relying on the address of the person arrested. Of course, people are innocent until proven guilty and the numbers cannot account for guilt. And there are other problems we haven’t even thought of. Comparing and contrasting our analysis and data with Crime Statistics Australia might aid us in deepening our future analysis, increasing the data range that we can draw on to better judge the local crime trends.

Boca Raton Restaurant Inspections for April

We reviewed April restaurant inspections for Palm Beach County relying on TCPalm. There weren’t that many for West Boca Raton so we included East Boca Raton and a couple others.

For previous restaurant inspection reports: Late March, Early March, February, and early 2014.

Here’s what we found in April:
Zero Violations
West Boca
Villa Rosano, Clint Moore and 441
Brendy’s Ice Cream & Yogurt at Lakeridge
Kagura Sushi, 5030 Champion Blvd.
Manhattan Joe’s Pizzeria, 5030 Champion Blvd
East Boca
fiveguysFive Guys, 2240 NW 19th St.
Pasta Fever on Federal Highway
Souvlaki Fast on NE 2nd Street
Jimmy John’s at 861 Yamato
Pita Loco, 1320 NW Boca Raton Blvd
Rebel House, 297-299 E. Palmetto Park Road
16 Handles at 1400 Glades
Pita Pit, 2200 Glades
Nino’s of Boca II, 1930 NE 5th Ave
Crystal Cafe, 2500 Military Trail
Gourmet to You Cafe, 4920 Conference Way South
Mutual of America Cafeteria, 1150 Broken Sound Parkway
Wyndham Hotel, 1950 Glades
Cinemark Palace 20
Deck 84 in Delray Beach (included because it’s prominent)
Honorable Mention: Two or fewer violations with zero high priority
West Boca
monkey-joes-bocaMonkey Joe’s in Loggers Run Plaza
El Jefe Luchador, 6000 Glades
La Luna, 5030 Champion Blvd. (was inspected two days later and had zero violations)
Mizner Country Club had three inspections, two with zero violations and one with two minor ones.
East Boca
Subway at 7531 N. Federal Highway
Deans Anthony’s Express Pizza at 1449 Yamato
Griddle, 475 Spanish River Blvd
Funky Buddha on Federal Highway
Amitie Cafe at 301 Yamato
Sanctuary Cafe at 4800 Federal Highway
Skyview Cafe, 2424 Federal Highway
Boca Raton City Library Cafe
Arturo’s on Federal Highway: 19 violations including 6 “high priority”
Renzo’s Cafe Pizzeria, 6900 N Federal Highway: 17 violations and a stop-sale and follow-up inspection required
Nick’s New Haven Style Pizzeria, 2240 NW 19th St: 17 violations with 3 high priority
Sushi Masa, 2200 Glades: 16 violations including 3 high priority
Josephine’s Italian, 5751 N Federal Highway: 15 violations with multiple repeat violations and follow-up inspection required
Grille on Congress, 5101 Congress: 14 violations including 4 high priority
kapowKapow Noodle Bar, 431 Plaza Real (Mizner Park): 14 violations with 5 high priority
Sushi Rock on NW 51st St.: 13 violations including 5 high priority
Mikey’s Hot Dog & Pizza: 13 violations including 5 high priority — We were unable to confirm this one with the official state database. We tried calling and the phone number was not in service. We called a neighboring business which confirmed that they did close.
Stir Crazy, 6000 Glades Road (Town Center): 12 violations (most were corrected on site)
villagio-bocaVillagio, 344 Plaza Real (Mizner Park): 12 violations with 3 high priority
Sonny’s Gelato Cafe, 2151 N Federal Highway: 11 violations with 3 high priority with a stop sale and a follow-up required
Cuban Cafe, 3350 NW 2nd Ave: 11 violations with 5 high priority
Sakura Thai & Japanese, 2201 Federal Highway: 11 violations
Dishonorable Mention
Atrium Financial Center, 1515 N. Federal Highway: 10 violations with 4 high priority
The Irishmen, 1739 NW 2nd Ave.: 10 violations
Original Italian Pizza, 3731 FAU Blvd: 10 violations with 3 high priority, and a history of poor inspections:
Jerry’s Pizza, 2001 NW 2nd Ave.: 10 violations with 3 high priority
Chili’s (West Boca, NW corner of Palmetto & 441): 9 violations with 2 high priority
Pinon Grill, 6000 Glades: 9 violations with 4 high priority
Pavilion Grille at 301 Yamato: 9 violations with 4 high priority (all violations were corrected on site)
Abe & Louie’s at 2200 Glades: 9 violations with 4 high priority
Embassy Suite, NW 53rd St: 9 violations with 6 high priority
Other inspections of note:
Flakowitz, 1999 N Federal Highway had only 3 violations, all corrected on site. The biggest problem was the “matza balls” weren’t hot enough at only 117º. Seriously?
Blue Martini at 6000 Glades (Town Center) had only 3 violations, all corrected on site. Grand Lux there had 5.
Hooters at 2240 NW 19th had 5 violations. This will discourage exactly zero men from going there.
Corner Bakery in the same plaza had 6 violations. C R Chicks there had 4. Gyroville had only 2.
Shake Shack at 1400 Glades had 4 violations. In the same plaza J. Alexander’s also had 4 violations including 3 high priority ones that were corrected on site. Mario’s Osteria there had 7 – we ate there 10 days later and really enjoyed our meal.
Trulucks in Mizner Park had only 4 violations, with one high priority.
Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 4.40.37 PM
Tanzy at Mizner Park (with the iPic) had 7 violations including 2 high priority. The iPic Theaters had only 3 violations.
Sloan’s in Mizner (the ice cream and candy place) had one high priority violation (live small flying insects in food storage area) and no others.
Le Rivage on NW 20th had only four minor violations.
Tomasso’s Pizzeria, 1229 W. Palmetto Park, had 8 violations.
Bluefin Sushi & Thai, 861 Yamato, had 8 violations, all minor. A complaint inspection was just filed today showing only 5 violations.
Millers Ale House at 1200 Yamato also had 8 violations. Palm Beach Bagel in the same plaza had 7 – we had breakfast there a few weeks later and it was good.
Strikes @ Boca (the bowling alley) had only 4 minor violations.
The Muse on Beracasa Way had 7 violations, all minor.

For previous restaurant inspection reports: Late March, Early March, February, and early 2014.