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Old 08-16-2005, 12:54 PM   #1
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Eat At Your Own Risk

Question & venting.

There have been many news stories re restaurant ratings called "Eat At Your Own Risk."

In the U.S. restaurants post their ratings (i.e. an "A" having passed health inspection). Have seen some with a "B" posted. Would you eat at a restaurant with anything less than an "A" rating?

The venting part:
Yesterday I took out food from a Japanese/Thai restaurant. Didn't think to look at the rating. (Perhaps I missed it.) A few hours after eating my meal, I got sick. I blame myself, in part, for not looking for a posted rating. The place looked clean, but later remembered there was a curtain placed in front of the kitchen & the gal taking my order, slipped the ticket under the curtain. (The kitchen was located directly behind the ordering counter. Would you find that odd?)

So, my question is -- would you eat at a restaurant with a rating below "A"? What have your personal experiences been? Are the ratings clearly posted or posted at all in your areas? Btw, I asked for a glass of water & it was poured from a pitcher with a water filter in it that was standing behind the counter. Am I being too picky? Don't know what to think.

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Old 08-16-2005, 01:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mish
Question & venting.

There have been many news stories re restaurant ratings called "Eat At Your Own Risk."

In the U.S. restaurants post their ratings (i.e. an "A" having passed health inspection). Have seen some with a "B" posted. Would you eat at a restaurant with anything less than an "A" rating?

The venting part:
Yesterday I took out food from a Japanese/Thai restaurant. Didn't think to look at the rating. (Perhaps I missed it.) A few hours after eating my meal, I got sick. I blame myself, in part, for not looking for a posted rating. The place looked clean, but later remembered there was a curtain placed in front of the kitchen & the gal taking my order, slipped the ticket under the curtain. (The kitchen was located directly behind the ordering counter. Would you find that odd?)

So, my question is -- would you eat at a restaurant with a rating below "A"? What have your personal experiences been? Are the ratings clearly posted or posted at all in your areas? Btw, I asked for a glass of water & it was poured from a pitcher with a water filter in it that was standing behind the counter. Am I being too picky? Don't know what to think.
To the best of my knowledge, I think only California has a specific grading system like this which by law, must be visibly posted where all customers can see it. Knowing what the inspectors look for and what most restaurants usually get marked down on, I would not eat at any restaurant in California that does not have anything less than an "A" grade.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:13 PM   #3
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Not too picky. If you buy food it should be clean and healthy.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:13 PM   #4
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ironchef, you can probably answer this one for me. Handy Husband always says (he was in the restaurant business eons ago) that the first thing inspectors inspect is the can opener, because people don't think to clean the cutting edge regularly. True?
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ironchef
To the best of my knowledge, I think only California has a specific grading system like this which by law, must be visibly posted where all customers can see it. Knowing what the inspectors look for and what most restaurants usually get marked down on, I would not eat at any restaurant in California that does not have anything less than an "A" grade.
Thanks Iron Chef. I'm in So. California (L.A. County) & presumed this was the rule/law throughout the U.S. Think it should be, particularly after having seen the horrific violations of health codes - with cameras rolling - panning the kitchen. Very disturbing.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mudbug
ironchef, you can probably answer this one for me. Handy Husband always says (he was in the restaurant business eons ago) that the first thing inspectors inspect is the can opener, because people don't think to clean the cutting edge regularly. True?
The can opener is a big issue because of cross contamination. Other main things that they look for are holding temperatures for both hot and cold foods, proper storage and labeling, product rotation, sinks with available anti-bacterial hand soap with paper towels, and generally anything that could cause any type of cross-contamination beit sinks, work areas, work tools (mainly cutting boards and gloves), etc. For instance, food on shelving or carts in the fridge must be stacked in this order from top to bottom: vegetables/fruits, seafood, meats, poultry. If you have cream with a later expiration date in front of those with an earlier one, they may dock you for that as well.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:47 PM   #7
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Ironchef, I recall the News stories particularly addressing the holding temps of food (& many violation citings) in Mall/Food Courts(sp?) as well as restaurants. Dare I mention violation of restroom codes. It's something we never like to think about, but, if you don't have a rating system in your area, try to be more aware, or perhaps try to see if you can get a restaurant health code inspection started in your area.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:53 PM   #8
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mish, around here you can look up on the web which restaurants have been closed for health code violations (sorry, can't remember the website's name and it's pretty local anyway, so of no use to you in Cali).

I try not to worry about contamination too much. There are so many opportunities for trouble it will make you crazy. How about restrooms at concerts, for example? Holding on to the railing of the escalator and then wiping your mouth? Receiving change from the cashier - how many hands have handled that dime or quarter or that limp fiver?

Sorry, mish. I'm not trying to belittle what happened to you at all. If I were you I would be very cautious in the future as well. Maybe it's just that I grew up in a very large household with only one bathroom, so I tend to not worry about germs too much.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:54 PM   #9
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Honestly, I've never noticed a restaurant posting their rating. I wouldn't want to eat at a restaurant that has less than an "A" rating. It is odd Mish that there was a curtain at the ordering counter. Wonder what they are hiding? Are the ratings typically posted in an area that is visible to the public and where would it be located?
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:12 PM   #10
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Mud, think you're describing OCD Cancel my fine dining experience at the rock concert You reminded me of one of my favorite movies (with Jack) "As Good As It Gets." Can I have my plastic cutlery wrapped up in plastic, please? I've heard about the site, but you know how it goes...you're in a hurry, that Pad Thai with shrimp looks pretty good, wrap it up!

Amber, ironchef is correct, all ratings must be clearly posted, here at least. Just something to be aware of. I never thought too much about it until I became ill.

P.S. Mud, I'll have to remember not to be too intimate with escalator railings. LMAO!!!
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
or that limp fiver?
EWWWWWW Gross You have a way with words Mudbug. That really did it for me LOL.

I have to say that I subscribe to your way of thinking though. I have eaten at restaurants that very visibly questionable. I do so because the food is just so good that it is worth the risk. I can say that because I have never gotten seriously ill from food. I am sure that if/when that ever happens then I will very quickly change my tune.

We do not have any sort of rating system here like you have in CA mish. If we did though I would be wary of places that did not have a rating of A. That does not mean I would not eat there, but I would probably at least think twice.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:19 PM   #12
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As far as I know ratings are all over the country. Not sure about other states, but here they got away from the letter grading (A, B, etc) and now use a numeric rating (100, 99, etc). They have to be posted where the public can see them.

There are many things that an inspector looks for and can ding you for. Things that reall have nothing to do with the safety of the food or being clean. Things like light bulb brightness.

Usually when you get sick from eating out, it is probably due to food being time & temp abused. Which is very hard to do when trying to hold foods for a period of time, i.e. buffet.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:25 PM   #13
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Things that reall have nothing to do with the safety of the food or being clean. Things like light bulb brightness.
I would think this actually has a lot to do with food safety as well as worker safety. If the light is not bright enough then accidents can happen. Also things could make their way into food that would not have slipped in if the light was bright enough. A hair, for instance, could easily be overlooked especially if the light was dimmer than it should be.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:28 PM   #14
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EWWWWWW Gross You have a way with words Mudbug. That really did it for me LOL.
LOL. I always give instructions to leave the "limp fiver" on the dresser.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:45 PM   #15
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I know that Hawaii, Oregan, and Washington (at least the last times I was there) do not have a visible rating system. You're either open or you're closed down by the Dept. of Health. If a restaurant in Cali has no visible rating, or none when you even ask about it, basically the Dept. of Health did not even issue one since they scored so low. The lowest possible rating that a restaurant can show is a C grade, which is pretty bad regardless. If it's even lower than that, well, run for your life.

As far as I know, I think Cali is also the only or one of the few states that requires all Chinese restaurants to serve their dim sum in stainless steel steamer baskets as opposed to the normal bamboo types. This is mainly in the Los Angeles area but I think it enforced mostly everywhere in the state. I do remember eating at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco and the dim sum being served in SS steamer baskets.
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ironchef
I know that Hawaii, Oregan, and Washington (at least the last times I was there) do not have a visible rating system. You're either open or you're closed down by the Dept. of Health. If a restaurant in Cali has no visible rating, or none when you even ask about it, basically the Dept. of Health did not even issue one since they scored so low. The lowest possible rating that a restaurant can show is a C grade, which is pretty bad regardless. If it's even lower than that, well, run for your life.

As far as I know, I think Cali is also the only or one of the few states that requires all Chinese restaurants to serve their dim sum in stainless steel steamer baskets as opposed to the normal bamboo types. This is mainly in the Los Angeles area but I think it enforced mostly everywhere in the state. I do remember eating at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco and the dim sum being served in SS steamer baskets.
ironchef, you reminded me of an outstanding little restaurant I loved in San Fran (years ago) called The Potsticker. The dumplings were served in the wicker bamboo/steamer(?) as I recall. The food was wonderful, service impeccable, (as were almost all the restaurants I visited there)...& no rating system. The lemon chicken was superb! Interesting to get feedback from around the country & the world & food servers.

Re the light bulb...thought that was only used in places like Denny's? Is the purpose to keep food warm?
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:22 PM   #17
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Recently I dashed into a loca pizzeria in my lunch time and ordered a sandwich to go. While waiting, I happened to notice that a gentleman standing next to me was drying side plates with a cloth that was absolutely disgustingly filthy. I left with my sandwich but couldn't eat it. My mom (sister, gran, aunties et al) always said that a dirty dish cloth is shameful and a very very bad sign. I didn't look for a rating, but if I was a food inspector and saw a filty cloth like that.....-Sandyj
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:23 PM   #18
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I'm in Oregon, also have never noticed a grading system.

Don't most Japanese places have the little curtains hanging everywhere? Though I've never specifically noticed, I thought I remember they have those little curtains around as decoration. Places I have gone to do that, I think it's so that customers don't have to see the bustle in the kitchen. Maybe they think the little fabrics somehow make it more aesthetically pleasing. (?)
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:31 PM   #19
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Yikes. We have no tiers here at all. You either pass ALL the inspections or you are closed. You get a warning to fix whatever they found wrong within 24 hours and then if it isn't done, WHAM, you are closed.

Trying not to let my own OCD tendencies come racing to the forefront after reading this thread. *where's my hand gel???*
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mish
Question & venting.

There have been many news stories re restaurant ratings called "Eat At Your Own Risk."

In the U.S. restaurants post their ratings (i.e. an "A" having passed health inspection). Have seen some with a "B" posted. Would you eat at a restaurant with anything less than an "A" rating?

The venting part:
Yesterday I took out food from a Japanese/Thai restaurant. Didn't think to look at the rating. (Perhaps I missed it.) A few hours after eating my meal, I got sick. I blame myself, in part, for not looking for a posted rating. The place looked clean, but later remembered there was a curtain placed in front of the kitchen & the gal taking my order, slipped the ticket under the curtain. (The kitchen was located directly behind the ordering counter. Would you find that odd?)

So, my question is -- would you eat at a restaurant with a rating below "A"? What have your personal experiences been? Are the ratings clearly posted or posted at all in your areas? Btw, I asked for a glass of water & it was poured from a pitcher with a water filter in it that was standing behind the counter. Am I being too picky? Don't know what to think.
Mish,
hope you are feeling better. No I don't think you are being to picky..I'm so picky that sometimes my kids will grab my hand if they see I'm going to push away the silverware if it's on anything but a napkin, can't help it. I look the knife and fork over before I use them, because I've found dried on food stuck to them and no way do they go into my food or my mouth. Same with a glass, I hate getting a lipstick rimmed glass or coffee cup, or a hair in my food...YUK, phooey...I have a few favorite places and have no problem eating there, if the place is new to me, I look things over really well...I have been lucky only once did I get ill, and I'm sure it's because the food wasn't kept at the proper temp before cooking...So, don't worry about being picky, be as picky as you need to be...
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