The Dirty Near Dozen: Restaurant Inspections

Since we originally posted this article we received a response from Terra Fiamma:
At this writing we cannot confirm their claim of a perfect inspection on August 4th. It does not show up on the inspection page:
It appears any inspection on August 4th would be a follow-up inspection. The bad inspection we reported on was from June 1st, and there was a follow-up on June 6th that still required a further follow-up. We do not consider follow-up inspections to be as significant as routine inspections or complaint inspections because the restaurant has more warning and has had a wake-up call. A good restaurant should notice these problems before the inspector does.
With all that said, we like Terra Fiamma. We have eaten there in the past and will do so again.

Nearly a dozen restaurants received 20 or more violations in our latest restaurant inspection report. The worst of the pack in total number were Terra Fiamma in Delray Marketplace and Sergio’s Americas Bakery in Northwest Sandalfoot Plaza. Each had 29 violations.
On the bright side for Sergio’s, there was only one violation marked as high priority. By contrast Terra Fiamma had 8 high priority violations on their June 1st inspection including dozens of live flies:

  • Chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength for manual warewashing. Do not use equipment/utensils not properly sanitized. 0 ppm chlorine at 3 compartment sink. Corrected to 100 ppm chlorine. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
  • Employee ate then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment without washing hands. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
  • Employee dried hands on soiled towel after washing. Re washed hands. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
  • Live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area. Approximately 50 live flies inside restaurant in cookline area/prep area/ server stations/ bar / dining room/ dry storage area. Approximately 100 live flies just outside back door . **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
  • Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh garlic and oil at 70° F in servers station area near pizza prep area. Time marked. Repeat Violation. Over stacked veil at cookline cooler at 62° F. Over stack removed and placed inside cooler. Milk and creamer at 67° F in servers station. Added ice to food level. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
  • Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. Raw chicken over veggies at cookline cooler. Raw veil over dough at walkin cooler. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
  • Toxic substance/chemical stored by or with food. Butane in food storage shelving. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
  • Wiping cloth sanitizer solution exceeds the maximum concentration allowed. Over 200 ppm chlorine. Corrected to 100 ppm chlorine. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**

We’re changing the way we do inspection reports. We separate our reports into areas – West Boca, East Boca and “Near Boca.” Now we’re combining them into one report hopefully each week.
Others in the dirty near dozen, with 20 or more violations, include:
West Boca
Long Island Bagel (441 near Target)
Bamboo Wok (Glades Road west of Lyons)
Lucky Palace (441 near Target)
El Balcon De Las Americas (441 at Sandalfoot)
Mozart Cafe (west side of Powerline at Camino Real)
East Boca
Canton Garden (Spanish River Blvd)
Near Boca
La Bamba (Delray)
The Palm Grill (Delray)
Mama’s Pizza (Deerfield)
There were also some perfect and almost perfect inspections:
West Boca
Domino’s Pizza (441 Mission Bay)
Yogurt Zone (Somerset Shoppes)
Jet’s Pizza (Somerset Shoppes)
Burger King (441 near Target)
East Boca
Hooters (Glades east of Town Center)
Chef Tai’s (NW 2nd)
McDonald’s (Federal Highway)
La Rosa Nautica (NE 20th)
Five Guys (NW 19th)
Bagel Wit Schmear (Federal Highway)
One other notable lowlight was Sushi Masa on Glades Road in East Boca, which had four inspections in a 9-day period in late July because of continuing problems with food temperatures. Another follow-up inspection is expected.
Our spreadsheets for this report are below:
West Boca
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East Boca
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Near Boca
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Japango or No Go? Two Bad Inspections

Japango in Boca Raton; image by Google.
Japango in Boca Raton; image by Google.

Japango in Regency Court (northwest corner of Yamato and Jog) had the worst numbers in our latest restaurant inspection report for West Boca. In early July they had 30 total violations, only 5 weeks after a previous inspection with 27 total violations. Usually we see places clean up their act after a bad inspection but that didn’t happen here.
The four high priority violations on the late May inspection were:

  • Food stored in ice used for drinks. See stop sale. Lemon wedges for drinks
  • Live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area.
  • Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food in reach-in cooler. Raw shelled eggs over ready to eat **Corrected On-Site**
  • Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in cooler. Raw chicken above raw beef and sea food

The more recent July 2nd inspection also had four marked high priority:

  • Nonexempt fish offered raw or undercooked has not undergone proper parasite destruction. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded. … Fresh Scottish Salmon is being used for sushi.
  • Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food identified in the written procedure as a food held using time as a public health control has no time marking and the time removed from temperature control cannot be determined. See stop sale. … Sushi rice no time control
  • Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. … Cook Line Undercounter Cooler, raw she’ll eggs over ready to eat uncovered sauces. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Vacuum breaker missing at hose bibb or on fitting/splitter added to hose bibb. … Rear exterior of building AND at interior mop sink.

Incidentally we’ve never understood why a vacuum breaker is a high priority violation, while other violations rated “intermediate” seem more disturbing, such as these:

Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.
Certified Food Manager or person in charge lacks knowledge of foodborne illnesses and symptoms of illness that would prevent an employee from working with food, clean equipment and utensils, and single-service items.

But now that we looked it up, we understand why a vacuum breaker might be important:

[A vacuum breaker] prevent[s] potentially contaminated water from flowing back up a hose, faucet, pre-rinse, or toilet fixture and into the potable water system in your restaurant. Waste and sewage water is rich with microorganisms that can quickly infect an entire water supply, and that’s why these plumbing valves like this brass ball valve that allow for the complete shut off of flow, are so important.

Sandalfoot Bagel; image by Google
Sandalfoot Bagel; image by Google

Next worst in this report goes to Sandalfoot Bagel with 27 violations on July 7th. The high priority violations didn’t look so good:

  • Employee failed to wash hands before changing gloves and/or putting on gloves to work with food. … Cook changed gloves multiple times, all without hand washing. **Repeat Violation** **Repeat Violation** **Repeat Violation** **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
  • No proof of parasite destruction or aquaculture documentation for cold smoked salmon served raw or undercooked. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded. … **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
  • Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. … REACH IN COOLER… (3 Door Jordan) soup 48° pooled eggs 50° corned beef hash 54° AMBIENT TEMPERATURE 48° **Repeat Violation** **Warning**

Two others with 20 or more violations were:
China Spring on 441 (25 violations including 4 high priority)
Boca Pita Express on Beracasa Way (20 violations with 1 high priority)
Between 10 and 17 violations:
On/Near Palmetto Park
New Golden China Inc
Sushi Yama Japanese Restaurant
Sal’s Italian Restaurant
Hong Kong Palace
Mama’s NY Pizza Inc
China Wok
Pizza Thick And Thin
On/Near Glades
Brooklyn Boys Pizza
Einstein Bros Bagel #845
Duffy’s Sports Grill
China Ming
Tempura House
On the positive side the licensing inspection for the new Chen’s Yokohama (replacing Yokohama Sushi) in Boca Lyons Plaza was perfect. Other perfect inspections included Yogurt Zone in Somerset Shoppes, Hurricane Grill in Mission Bay, and Moon’s Tavern in Boca Greens. Moon’s also had a perfect inspection last year.
Near-perfect inspections included Vinny’s All Day Cafe, Outback Steakhouse and La Ferme.
Our spreadsheet for this report is below:
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Restaurant Inspections: Mostly Good News. Mostly.

Our latest restaurant inspection report for West Boca is mostly good news as several restaurants had perfect inspections. But we’ll start off as usual with the worst of the pack.
Kagura Japanese in the Polo Club Shoppes (Military Trail north of Clint Moore) was hit with 19 violations in early March. The worst of it was this, and it’s really not that bad:

Employee began working with food, handling clean equipment or utensils, or touching unwrapped single-service items without first washing hands.
Employee touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands – food was not being heated as a sole ingredient to 145 degrees F or immediately added to other ingredients to be cooked/heated to the minimum required temperature to allow bare hand contact. Establishment has no approved Alternative Operating Procedure.
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food identified in the written procedure as a food held using time as a public health control has no time marking and the time removed from temperature control cannot be determined. Sushi rice

Kagura’s previous inspection in October had only 8 violations, and they had a perfect one a few months earlier in July of 2014.
Another Japanese place, Tempura House in The Reserve (Clint Moore and 441), had the next worst inspection with 14 violations including:

Cooked rice/pasta cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Rice 70°, moved to walk-in cooler, corrective action taken
Fresh garlic-in-oil/margarine/butter or product containing fresh garlic-in-oil/margarine/butter mixture held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil and garlic at 80°on the cook line kitchen area, moved to reach in cooler corrective action taken
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Pork 52°, beef 53°, chicken 51°, raw pork 49°, shrimp 45°, scallop 52°, iced items and moved some to another reach in cooler, corrective action taken
Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food in reach-in cooler. Raw eggs sitting on top of ready to eat foods

Tempura House also had a bad run last year with two rough inspections in April and June.

On the plus side, many restaurants had excellent inspections. To be clear, what we look for are routine and complaint inspections so we are not including call-backs and licensing inspections in this list.
Perfect inspections – Zero violations
Brooklyn Boys Pizza (Shadowood)
IHOP (near SW corner of Glades and 441)
McDonalds (Clint Moore & Jog)
Domino’s Pizza (Boca Grove and also Mission Bay)
Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ (Woodfield)
Sybarite Pig (Shadowood)
TW’s Lounge (west side of 441 near SW 18th)
House of Dog (Boca Grove)
Voodoo BBQ & Grill (Polo Club Shoppes)
Chez Marie Bistro (Polo Club Shoppes)
Giovanni’s Pizza (Powerline)

Mozart Cafe would have made the list but they had another inspection later in the month with several violations. The new Jet’s Pizza also had a perfect inspection but it was a licensing inspection and those are usually clean.
Others were near-perfect. Fit Foodz Cafe had only one minor violation. Twenty places were reported with just two violations including Nikuya in Logger’s Run.
For our full spreadsheet, see below.
First in pdf:
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And next in Excel for those who like to play with the numbers:
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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.