(Note: do not read if squeamish.)
August must have been a cruel month for the local restaurant world, which seemed to be plagued by a veritable swarm of vermin infestation. Among the beloved L.A. eateries which were closed for a day or two each to rid them of their little beasts:
Zankou on Sunset
Daikokuya in Little Tokyo
Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles on Pico
Fred 62 in Los Feliz
Posh places did not go unscathed: Both the Bel Air Hotel and the Beverly Hilton had infestations, as well as the governator's own Schatzi on Main in Santa Monica. The inspectors must have been working overtime in the city by the bay: They also shut down the Buffalo Club and the Main St. Coffee and Tea Leaf. Read the most recent report here and weep. I'm no alarmist when it comes to cleanliness, though -- I'm just presenting this because people like to be informed, but I'll continue to eat at all these places.
I guess there's a few ways to look at these closures:
-One theory says that every restaurant has a certain amount of exposure to dirt, vermin, etc., but that the ones that got busted will now be even cleaner than the ones that didn't.
-Another theory says, the better the food, the lower the rating. This could well be true, since at the moment Ruen Pair and New Concept are both sporting C's.
Speaking of squeamishness, where do you stand on double dipping? (When someone bites off a tortilla chip and then sticks it back in the guacamole for a refill, for example.)
Here's a hilarious recent thread on Chowhound that illustrates how diverse opinions can be on cleanliness:
Original post: "I'm not finicky but I don't like communal eating from the same bowl when people are dipping chips into their mouth and using the same chip to dip again into the bowl. It's gross. Earlier this week I was at a Mexican restaurant with business acquaintances and we ordered a bowl of guacamole and the chips were so large that each chip required two bites to finish and two of the guys were double-dipping. It was too late to ask for a separate bowl for dipping but I don't know why restaurants just don't bring small separate plates like they do in Italian or Mediterrean restaurants for olive oil and bread dipping. I didn't say anything as I'm not going to get together with these people again but I'm sure it's a common occurrence. Has this happened to you? How have you handled it?"
One amusing reply: "I know - it's awful! Another thing is, how do you get people (politely) to not use their hands to get the chips out of the bowl in the first place? I mean, they're just digging around in there with fingers that have just been near their mouths, touching every other chip - until restaurants start providing individual chip-tongs for this, I'll have to keep bringing my own pair - but that still doesn't help me with my dining companions who have already infected the chips. Until restaurants start providing individual-sized hermetically-sealed portions of chips and salsa, my stopgap solution is to re-dip (with chip-tongs) each chip I take from the microbially-swarming communal bowl into a dilute bleach solution lightly flavored with cilantro (I find fresh cilantro best complements bleach flavors - dried won't really work, use any other fresh green herb instead)."
Another reply: "Have you tried inserting the tines of your fork (gently) into the back of the hand of the offending dipper. Works for me."