Flooding in West Boca Raton: Photos and Stories

We posted a few reader photos of flooding on Facebook last night. Other readers responded with more, and with stories. The flooding was so bad it got inside Town Center Mall:
mall-flood
That first photo is from our own kid getting in on the action. We also received mall photos from readers. This one is also from inside:
mall-flood2
Parking areas were also flooded.
parking-flooding

Reader Robyn Becker-Bracero sent us several photos including this one of her feet underwater.
Reader Robyn Becker-Bracero sent us several photos including this one of her feet underwater.

Robyn Becker-Bracero told us:

It was inside the mall. The water was pouring in through the employee/security entrance next to Macy’s and the Apple Store. It started coming in quick. Several people were video taping. It was even worse outside under the covered lot at Macy’s exit.

macys-entrance
We saw flooding ourselves in Town Center Circle (east side of Military south of Glades) with water up to several inches deep at its worst. Leaving that plaza we were about to turn onto NW 19th but the water looked very deep so we converted that left into a U-turn and headed south on Palmetto Park Road. There was significant flooding on Palmetto, especially on the westbound side in the right lanes both near the Kabbalah Center (just west of Turnpike) and at the intersection with Lyons Road.
Readers also reported significant flooding along SW 18th west of Powerline and near Boca Rio.
sw18th-flood
Lindsay Roffman-Schwimmer reported:

My SUV was stuck in boca pointe last night. Hundreds of cars were just sitting ducks.. some of them were floating by me. I couldn’t tell what was the lake and what was the road. I pulled into a sub development and waited in a guest spot that was raised on higher ground. My boyfriend had to come in his truck and rescue me.
Many smaller luxury cars were submerged in water up to their windows. It was literally a mini natural disaster area.. Also including SW 18th street areas. I hope everyone is safe now.

In the same area Melisa Mely said:

I have never seen more water on the 18th Street. Some cars actually got stuck. I’m glad I made it home.

There was more flooding in Watergate Estates (aka West Sandalfoot):
watergate-flood2
watergate-flood1
Also in Escondido (east side of Lyons south of Glades):
escondido2
escondido
Even the French residents got in on it, from Bensimon Nessim:

C’est catastrophique, le pire c’est que contre les inondations on ne peut pas faire grand chose
(Translation) It is catastrophic, the worst part is that against the floods we can’t do much

And there were just places where traffic went deep:
rbb2
Reader estimates of total rainfall varied from 1.5 to over 5 inches. We estimate 4-5 inches fell in Boca Falls from our own somewhat reliable method (rise in the level of our pool). For arguably more reliable numbers, we have this from the National Weather Service:
nws-rainfall
There was significant coverage of the flooding in other media. Our favorite was WPTV reporting that Boca Raton City Hall experienced flooding on both the 1st and 2nd floors. Second floor?
Update: Bonus photo from reader Samir. This one is in East Boca on Federal Highway.
samir
One other detail that was mildly amusing, where the National Weather Service posted a tornado warning recommending people go to their basements, which is not terribly practical in South Florida.
Tornado Warning issued March 24 at 6:49PM EDT until March 24 at 7:15PM EDT by NWS Miami THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MIAMI HAS ISSUED A * TORNADO WARNING FOR… NORTHEASTERN BROWARD COUNTY IN SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA… SOUTHEASTERN PALM BEACH COUNTY IN SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA… * UNTIL 715 PM EDT * AT 649 PM EDT…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER COCONUT CREEK…OR OVER MARGATE…MOVING EAST AT 15 MPH. HAZARD…TORNADO. SOURCE…RADAR INDICATED ROTATION. IMPACT…FLYING DEBRIS WILL BE DANGEROUS TO THOSE CAUGHT WITHOUT SHELTER. MOBILE HOMES WILL BE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. DAMAGE TO ROOFS…WINDOWS…AND VEHICLES WILL OCCUR. TREE DAMAGE IS LIKELY. * LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE… CORAL SPRINGS…POMPANO BEACH…BOCA RATON…DEERFIELD BEACH AND TAMARAC. TORNADO…RADAR INDICATED HAIL…0.00IN TAKE COVER NOW! MOVE TO A BASEMENT OR AN INTERIOR ROOM ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OF A STURDY BUILDING. AVOID WINDOWS. IF YOU ARE OUTDOORS…IN A MOBILE HOME…OR IN A VEHICLE…MOVE TO THE CLOSEST SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FLYING DEBRIS.

Corner Bakery Cafe Near Town Center

All photos copyright Warren Redlich 2016; free to share if you credit West Boca News.
All photos copyright Warren Redlich 2016; free to share if you credit West Boca News.

Corner Bakery Cafe is a nice little spot just east of Town Center Mall on the south side of Glades Road. If you’re familiar with Panera, it’s similar in style but it’s a step up in atmosphere and quality.
Image and map data by Google
Image and map data by Google

We were invited to try out some dishes there and as usual we liked it. Their most popular item is the Chicken Pomodori sandwich (they call them Panini). Here are a couple pictures, from above and inside the sandwich:
pomodori
pomodori-inside
The Chopped Salad was huge, fresh and delicious. They had me at bacon.
chopped-salad
Please note that although the salad was very good at the time, it doesn’t keep for long if you bring it home. That’s a problem with any dish that has fresh tomatoes. We brought most of this home and ate it that night, and it was still okay but it would not have been any good the next morning.
The Cuban Press sandwich, on the other hand, was still good the next morning when I ate the second half of it. This is not a traditional Cuban but I liked it better. Both the cheese and the ham seemed to be a better grade than what I’ve had in Cuban places in Miami. The bread was also excellent.
cuban
We also got a “trio” of sides including hummus, cavatappi pasta salad, and Southwest Avocado. The avocado was our favorite.
trio
There’s a lot of room inside for dining, and a few tables outside as well.
corner-bakery-inside
corner-outdoor
We also understand that they like doing fundraisers for local schools and groups, especially at dinner time.
Corner Bakery Cafe is at 2240 NW 19th St, Boca Raton, FL 33431.

Roaches, Rodents and Mold on an Epiphany? Restaurant Inspections for East Boca

villagio
Update: Villagio in Mizner Park was temporarily closed on May 20th due to roaches, and there was also a stop sale due to raw beef being left out all night. They had a total of 23 violations.

High Priority – Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. Observed approximately 10 inside a broken oven that is not in use on the cook’s line.
Stop Sale issued on potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food due to temperature abuse. Piece of raw beef left at room temperature all night.

stir-combine
Stir Crazy at Town Center has had a string of rough inspections over the last several months. The worst of it, recently, was on April 27th when they were closed by inspectors for the day due to both roaches and rodents.

Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. Observed approximately 10 live roaches by the walkin cooler, 3 live roaches by dry storage shelving, 10 live roaches by the dish machine, 16 live roaches by the cookline area, 1 live roach at the employee restroom and 2 live roaches by the mop sink.
Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Observed approximately 15 dry rodent droppings in upstairs storage room.

The restaurant appears to struggling with inspections. We count six inspections since February with four requiring follow-ups. Four of those inspections happened in the last three weeks. Their first inspection in February found dead roaches and as we reported in August, they had problems with rodents on an inspection in July.
Usually when we see a place have a bad inspection they respond with near-perfect inspections for at least a little while. Stir Crazy seems to be having trouble getting things right. The April 27th inspection found 17 violations and only couple weeks later they had 16 violations.
While that was probably the worst inspection in this report, it is not the worst number. Yakitori Sake House in Royal Palm Plaza “wins” that prize with a total of 40 violations including 8 marked “high priority,” some of which are a bit unnerving:

Dishmachine chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength. Discontinue use of dishmachine for sanitizing and set up manual sanitization until dishmachine is repaired and sanitizing properly. 0 ppm chlorine, corrected to 100 ppm chlorine. **Corrected On-Site**
Employee handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands. **Corrected On-Site**
Employee handled soiled equipment or utensils and then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment or utensils, or touched unwrapped single-service items without washing hands. Dishwasher from handling dirty equipment to handling clean plates without washing hands first.
Employee washed hands with no soap. **Corrected On-Site**
Food stored in ice used for drinks. Water bottle and apple at bar.
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) hot held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Sushi rice at 109° F in sushi bar area under no temperature control. Rice time marked. Assisted operator in completing application for time as a public health control. **Corrective Action Taken**
Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. Raw shrimp over prepped veggies at walkin cooler. Raw fish over cream cheese and krab at sushi bar cooler. **Corrected On-Site**
Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in reach-in freezer – all products not commercially packaged. Raw chicken next to and touching raw beef at Whirlpol cooler. Raw chicken over raw shrimp at Whirlpol cooler.**Corrected On-Site**

Yakitori Sake House did follow up with a near-perfect inspection a week later.
Second worst in total number was Chick N Chop on Federal Highway with 31 violations including the most interesting one we’ve ever seen:

Food with mold-like growth. See stop sale. Observed a gray mold growing on an epiphany in a case of eggplant in the rear prep area. **Warning**

We’re not sure how an epiphany would get into a case of eggplant, what it would look like, or how mold would grow on it. But we don’t think we’d want to eat that.
ninos2
Another bad one goes to Nino’s of Boca II on NE 5th Ave (east of Federal Highway north of Glades). They had 13 violations and some kind of emergency order recommended. They’ve had some bad inspections as we mentioned in March, and October. This may have been the final straw because it looks like the restaurant has closed. Their website is gone and their phone number is disconnected. Because they’re closed we can’t find the latest inspection report, though it was covered by BizJournals.com:

ordered to close temporarily for a fourth time this year on March 16 for rodent problems, when inspectors found rodent droppings near cooking equipment in the kitchen

Now for the real winners:
Several places had perfect inspections, including the Cinemark theater, Strikes bowling, PF Chang’s, Estia Greek Taverna, Amitie Cafe, Lion & Eagle Pub, Funky Buddha Lounge, Skyview Cafe, Little Caesars, and several places within the Boca Raton Resort.
Other notables with good numbers include Shake Shack on Glades and Sushi Ray in Town Center Circle with just two violations each. Morton’s of Chicago in Town Center Circle had only three minor violations.
Others with 10 or more violations were:
Federal Highway:
Renzo’s Cafe Pizzeria, Sushi of Boca Raton, Taverna Kyma (including a stop sale due to temperature problems), Sinful Sandwich, Piezano’s Pizza & Pasta, Sonny’s Gelato CAfe, adn Sakura Thai & Japanese.
Mizner Park & Royal Palm Plaza:
Dubliner, Sapphire Indian, Casimir Bistro, Lemongrass
Other:
Dean Anthony’s Express Pizza (Yamato), Cheescake Factory, DaVinci’s of Boca (Town Center), Boca’s Best Pizza Bar, and Bogart’s Bar & Grille
As usual, our full spreadsheet is below.
[gview file=”https://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/eastboca-5-2015.pdf”]

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.
ninos2
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:
[gview file=”https://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/eastboca-early-2015.xls”]

Zinburger? Wine & Burger Bar Coming to Town Center

ZINBURGER-AMERICAN STYLE KOBE-WAYGU
Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar, a small but growing chain, will open in Town Center in mid-March, according to a company spokeswoman. In preparation they are conducting a job fair at the mall in room 1008C, from 9am to 7pm through February 23rd. They aim to fill nearly 150 positions, “including bartender, server, front desk host/hostess, busser, line cook, prep cook, dishwasher and meat grinder.”
Zinburger Cherry Hill - interior
Customers can enjoy “made-to-order gourmet burgers, hand-dipped shakes and floats, decadent pies and 23 wine varieties.”
To apply for jobs go to Zinburger.wyckwyre.com. For more on the company see Zinburger East.
ZinBurger Logo_4C