Restaurant Report Card: Houston-area eateries cited for roaches, slime, unsafe food temperatures

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Every week, the Houston Health Department Restaurant Inspectors bust their butts to uncover violations that could make you sick.

It’s a job they themselves see as invaluable.

“I think we are very, very important and I think the reason why is because most people are not aware of all the dangers that occur inside a food establishment on a day to day basis,” Houston Health Department restaurant inspector Larry Goodman said.

Speaking of dangers, we are kicking this week’s report off with one of the biggest: slime in the ice machine.

Inspectors found it at Pho Hoa and Jazen Tea located on the Northwest Freeway.

Inspectors found a “pinkish-black slimy residue” inside the machine.

One hundred pounds of ice was condemned and the machine ordered to be scrubbed clean.

Next, we went to that hamburger hot spot, the Hub Cap Grill on Prairie Street.

There, inspectors found cockroaches near the food prep area.

The exact same problem popped up at Batanga on Congress Avenue.

At the restaurant, health inspectors found a couple of cockroaches near the dish-washing machine.

Cockroaches in all stages of life were discovered at one of Houston’s oldest soul food eateries.

Alfreda’s Soul Food was written up by the inspectors after they found German cockroaches under the food prep table, under the dishwasher, in the mop closet and under the serving line.

Trouble with temperatures were found this week at Spec’s on Smith Street in Midtown.

Inspectors found guacamole and mango mayonnaise “not safe for human consumption.”

The problem? The food was stored at too high a temperature, above 41 degrees.

This week our A-Plus award goes out to the hard-working crew at the Choo Choo Japanese Restaurant on South Voss Road for knocking out a perfect restaurant inspection.

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