News


Health inspectors shut down popular restaurant -- again

Insects, rodents found at Calafia Café in Palo Alto

The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health temporarily shut down Calafia Café at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto for a second time this month due to cockroaches.

According to the health department, inspectors discovered 25 live and dead cockroaches in various areas of the kitchen during a follow-up inspection of the premises on Nov. 8 and ordered the cafe to immediately shut down until the insect problem was corrected. Calafia reopened on Nov. 11, according to an online health department report.

Restaurant owner Charlie Ayers has been working with an exterminator to eradicate the roaches ever since the health department abruptly closed down Calafia Cafe & Market A Go-Go on Nov. 2 after discovering 15 health violations -- including the presence of insects and rodents -- during a routine inspection, according to the online health department report.

The health department determined that the food was "subject to contamination from vermin," and the business was ordered to remain closed until the violations were corrected and the health department issued a written reinstatement of its operating permit. On Nov. 3, both the restaurant and the market received passing scores during follow-up inspections and reopened. Inspectors found no evidence of roaches or rodent droppings in the market side of the business during the Nov. 3 follow-up. Some roaches were still visible in the restaurant, which was ordered to continue working with a pest control company and to seal any remaining holes, gaps or crevices in the kitchen where insects might enter, according to the report.

Restaurant employee Molly Moll said the restaurant shut down briefly due to "a repair issue," but had reopened by the next day in time for dinner service. Ayers didn't respond to a request for comment.

During a second follow-up inspection at Calafia on Nov. 8, health inspectors again ordered the restaurant to close after observing adult and baby cockroaches in the kitchen. The restaurant had corrected the problem by Nov. 11 and was reopened, according to the follow-up report.

Calafia Cafe, which readers voted a "Best Of" winner in the Palo Alto Weekly's annual survey of local businesses earlier this year, has passed eight consecutive inspections since 2015, including a follow-up inspection in January and a routine inspection in July.

Ayers, a former Google chef, opened the farm-to-table restaurant at 855 El Camino Real in 2009. Earlier this year, it became the first restaurant to feature "Sally," a salad bar vending machine aimed at reducing foodborne illnesses by assembling salads out of vegetables stored in refrigerated canisters.

Over the past six months, the health department has temporarily shut down 95 restaurants in Santa Clara County for violations including contamination from vermin, failure to properly dispose of sewage and failure to provide an adequate supply of hot and cold water.

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Comments

26 people like this
Posted by It all makes sense now
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2017 at 1:36 pm

[Post removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Sense and Sensibility
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 4, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Dang, I've gone there many times and never gotten sick!

Why keep going, Makes Sense, if you and your son keep getting sick? Does that make sense?

Why didn't the reporter go over Friday evening or Saturday morning to check things out? Doesn't seem responsible to blast a big headline and not follow up!


Posted by still the best salads -reasonably priced
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards

on Nov 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm


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16 people like this
Posted by Allen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

This article is lacking in clarity to say the least. What are the FACTS? Maybe facts are so irrelevant these days that reporters don't even try. How about a link to the health department report or a reporter checking if they are open or not.


40 people like this
Posted by Stay At Home Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Things are changing around here.
This area is becoming increasingly filthier each year as our population increases.

I never thought I would see numerous rat traps and cockroaches in Palo Alto, but we have them now.

For cost and safety reasons, our family eats at home.


50 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm

I fear that the increase in vermin and pests may have something to do with the composting bins. Now that people just dump their food waste without thought into the green cans instead of carefully wrapping them inside garbage bags and putting them in the black can, and because so many of the green cans have broken lids, it is now a wonderful buffet for vermin.

I can't say I'm surprised that there is now an increase in critters looking for pickings.


28 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Search this link:

Web Link

for Calafia Market A Go Go


55 people like this
Posted by Compost does not work
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 4, 2017 at 5:46 pm

The heavy handed compost program forced upon restaurants and homes is the cause. There has been a huge increase in vermin everywhere due to this ridiculous program. There's no way to stay ahead of the increase in rat population. Mice work city council and Green Waste.


59 people like this
Posted by Waitress
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 4, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Rats in Palo Alto are nothing new. When my family purchased their beautiful home on Crescent Drive in the 70s it was infested with rats. That was back in the days before composting and recycling and when there were more undeveloped fields along El Camino.

Palo Alto used to be crawling with all sorts of critters: bears, mountain lions, bobcats and lots of frogs. Humans killed off most animals but there are still lots of raccoons, possums, skunks, squirrels, and rats. I think pesticides and weed killers killed off the frogs that were abundant when I moved here in the 70s.

I work in a restaurant at Stanford Shopping Center that I won't name... I can't believe how filthy it is. There is only one tiny sink in the kitchen where the wait staff can wash their hands, and it is filthy. The trash can is overflowing and most of the trash ends up on the floor. The servers are over-worked and rarely even have a chance to wash their hands. Once you work in a restaurant it's difficult to eat at one!


35 people like this
Posted by mattie
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm

The link provided by "Paly Grad" is interesting. Save that URL for the next time Rand Paul type tries to tell you that we don't need basic government regulations.

Based on other info from that site (link below), it appears that Calfia is not at all unique... we've had a number of Palo Alto restaurants with forced closures (most of which reopen same day or a few later) recently (page one goes back to May), including Darbar, Counter, Chantal Guillon, Spot, New York New York, and Steam.

Web Link

I'm not suggesting we should avoid these places, but it's nice to know county government is doing their job and making the results transparently available.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2017 at 9:16 am

The photo shows the Mayfield Cafe and not Calafia Restaurant.


30 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

Thanks, Paly Grad, for posting that informative link!

Agree with "Waitress": "Once you work in a restaurant it's difficult to eat at one!"

I have worked at restaurants throughout my life (as cashier, hostess, waitress) and we eat out at restaurants on weekends and some weekdays, only because I don't like to cook and my husband is super picky. After a 25 year detour of raising my children, I am working part-time at a restaurant and am reminded of the unclean practices. When you get that nice plate of food, you don't know if: the handlers had clean hands (probably not), the food fell on the floor, the raw foods were placed next to raw meat in the fridge, the produce was washed (probably not), the dishes and utensils are clean (maybe, or maybe just rinsed with water). These are just employees working for a paycheck, same as daycare workers, nannies and other blue collar jobs, and white collar jobs (how many people really love their jobs?). The restaurants run by immigrants are the ones to be most concerned with, as their countries of origin have sanitary conditions which are not up to the same standards at U.S.


26 people like this
Posted by Bella
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

Recommen the restaurant get a few kitties from the local shelter, and problem solved, seriously!


43 people like this
Posted by Restaurant worker
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Palo Altan your comments sound borderline biggoted. You are most concerned about restaurants ran by immigrants? You seem pretty confident that they have low sanitary standards in the multitude of countries these immigrants come from? News flash! Most restaurant workers are immigrants and most restaurants take food safety and sanitation very very seriously. I have managed restaurants for 16 years now and have almost always observed exemplary food safety practices in the many restaurants I have worked in. Please don't think that a few bad apples represent the entire industr. Nor should you believe that somehow immigrants take food safety less seriously than citizens.


19 people like this
Posted by I Spy Ignorance
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 5, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Managers cannot micromanage every second no matter how Type A the manager is. Some of the uncleanliness accusations are true but that’s the risk with not cooking at home. Even high end restaurants aren’t going to be sterile. And packaged food? Is the factory equipment cleaned all the time? Grow your own produce and cook at home if you want healthy food.

I waitressed in the 1980s when customer service was better. Now, it’s simply, take the order, deliver the order, no feel-good conversation. As the manager above stated, restaurant workers are now immigrants for the most part so they aren’t delivering the plush customer service of the past.

Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, China? Are those countries as clean as the United States? NO. I don’t eat at those restaurants unless the atmosphere is clean. Because if the atmosphere isn’t clean, you can assume the kitchen is worse. We are spoiled in the U.S. as far as cleanliness.


1 person likes this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Sorry to hear. I was shocked when I saw it.

Mr Ayers, is very experienced Chef and leader.

How do rodents and insects form?
How do we prevent?

What steps need to be taken?

Lessons Learned.

Respectfully


13 people like this
Posted by Crapshoot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

We don't eat out much so it was really obvious where we picked up an intestinal bug that started like norovirus and took months to shake. It really affected our lives in many lasting and negative ways. There were reported outbreaks in Palo Alto and San Jose students last year, but the outbreaks didn't hit the news until it was too late. Given that experience, I would listen to such reports and avoid going out for the duration myself, I wish public health announcements were more timely.

We got food poisoning at a local restaurant and complained to the health dept - sure enough, they found major violations, and because this apparently had just happened, they were put on spot check status. You do not know a place has cleaned up just because of an inspection. Take the time to look up restaurants on the County site.


9 people like this
Posted by Crapshoot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2017 at 10:37 am

Calafia used to have those heavy hanging metal strings in the hall coming from the bathroom area - very cool, but hard to avoid touching whatever everyone else who may or may not have washed their hands have. Have they removed those?


17 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

Anyone who's taken a vacation outside of the United States knows the hygiene habits of those visited are horrible. But for them, this is what they were raised around. If you don't think they bring their bad hygiene habits here, looking for work, you're delusional. This isn't a PC issue it's about the health and safety of a community and its children.


24 people like this
Posted by Allen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 6, 2017 at 11:31 am

Wow, I am not eating there... Rodents were the least of the issues, imho.

K07M - Improper hot and cold holding temperatures
Observation - Measured internal temperature of roast beef at 50F and turkey at 49F in cold holding prep top unit (placed in this unit at 8:30am today per PIC). Measured cooked chicken at 45F in the 2 door reach in cooler (placed in this unit at 8am today per PIC). Measured rojo chicken at 47F-49F and pasta at 45F in the 2 door sliding unit (placed in this unit at 8am today per PIC). Measured liquid eggs at 52F, cooked barley corn at 53F, boiled eggs at 48F, cheese at 51F and raw unpasteurized eggs at 55F in the 2 door reach in cooler (placed in this unit for more than 6 hours per PIC and according to labels). Measured smoked salmon at 44F and goat cheese at 44F in the silver king counter cooler (placed in this unit at 8:30am today per PIC). Measured sliced eggs at 47F, cooked chicken at 51F and cheese at 48F in the cold holding salad bar (placed in salad bar between 8-8:30am today per PIC). Measured baked potatoes at 110F in the hot holding unit near salad bar (placed in this unit at 8am today per PIC). Measured tofu rojo at 110F in the hot holding grab and go unit (placed in this unit at noon today per PIC). Measured quinoa salad and spicy napa chicken salad at 45F in the cold holding grab and go unit (placed in this unit at 11:30am today per PIC). [CA] Potentially hazardous foods shall be held at or below 41/45°F or at or above 135°F. [COS] Operator voluntarily discarded all of these items in trash.

K23M - Observed rodents, insects, birds, or animals
Observation - Major: Observed 4 live cockroaches inside 2 door reach storage compartment holding glasses at front service line. [CA] Remove cockroaches by safe and legal method. Clean and sanitize unit. Minor: Found numerous old rodent droppings on shelf near 3 compartment sink and on the floor below 3 compartment sink. Found one old rodent dropping underneath the salad bar shelving. [CA] Remove evidence of rodent droppings. Clean and sanitize area. Seal all holes, gaps and crevices to prevent entrance and harborage of vermin.

K34 - Warewashing facilities: not installed, maintained, or used
Observation - Lacking quat sanitizer test strips to measure sanitizer concentration in sanitizer bucket holding wiping cloths. [CA] Testing equipment and materials shall be provided to measure the applicable sanitization method.

K35 - Equipment, utensils - Unapproved, unclean, not in good repair, inadequate capacity
Observation - Measured ambient air temperature in the true 2 door cooler at 52F. [CA] Repair unit to maintain all PHFs cold at or below 41F.

K40 - Wiping cloths: improperly used and stored
Observation - Measured quat sanitizer in sanitizing buckets holding wiping cloths at 0ppm. [CA] Maintain quat sanitizer solution at 200ppm or as specified by the manufacturer.

K44 - Premises not clean, not in good repair; No personal/chemical storage; inadequate vermin-proofing
Observation - Found employee personal items stored on top of food/food related items in the dry storage room. [CA] Store employee personal items separate from food/food related items.

K21 - Hot and cold water not available
Observation - Measured temperature of hot water fluctuating between 102F-108F in the warewashing sink/prep sink. Measured back hand sink hot water at 65F. [CA] Maintain temperature of hot water at a minimum of 100F for hand sink and 120F for warewashing/prep sink.


9 people like this
Posted by Roland Kelly
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2017 at 11:41 am

Reports on this county site are shocking!
Search for SPOT-A-PIZZA PLACE in Palo Alto !

Multiple repeated violations, the most recent follow up report does not make it clear the violations were closed out however it still gets a Green Status and an N/A score.

Can someone explain this to me please ?

PS. Saw mice there(yes, plural) years ago, will NEVER buy their food again. Yuck !


6 people like this
Posted by Roland Kelly
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Looks like Spot Pizza Palo Alto is closed permanently.


18 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm

My negative experience was at a grocery store — Sprouts on san antonio. Several children were running around the store unsupervised and ran their dirty hands through the food in several of the bins of quinoa or whatever. Altough I instructed them to stop and said something to the cashier who observed what they did, he did absolutely nothing to follow up. Didn’t try to find their parents or let people know the food was contaminated. Their lack of showed in protecting their customers means they lost a customer permanently. Every time i pass by and see the Sprouts sign, I feel grossed out. Yuck.


4 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

Interesting that they passed in January and July then 7 violations in November. Composting is not the issue, 7 violations posted on Web Link Never a fan, now never will be.

Improper hot and cold holding temperatures
Observation - Measured internal temperature of roast beef at 50F and turkey at 49F in cold holding prep top unit (placed in this unit at 8:30am today per PIC). Measured cooked chicken at 45F in the 2 door reach in cooler (placed in this unit at 8am today per PIC). Measured rojo chicken at 47F-49F and pasta at 45F in the 2 door sliding unit (placed in this unit at 8am today per PIC). Measured liquid eggs at 52F, cooked barley corn at 53F, boiled eggs at 48F, cheese at 51F and raw unpasteurized eggs at 55F in the 2 door reach in cooler (placed in this unit for more than 6 hours per PIC and according to labels). Measured smoked salmon at 44F and goat cheese at 44F in the silver king counter cooler (placed in this unit at 8:30am today per PIC). Measured sliced eggs at 47F, cooked chicken at 51F and cheese at 48F in the cold holding salad bar (placed in salad bar between 8-8:30am today per PIC). Measured baked potatoes at 110F in the hot holding unit near salad bar (placed in this unit at 8am today per PIC). Measured tofu rojo at 110F in the hot holding grab and go unit (placed in this unit at noon today per PIC). Measured quinoa salad and spicy napa chicken salad at 45F in the cold holding grab and go unit (placed in this unit at 11:30am today per PIC). [CA] Potentially hazardous foods shall be held at or below 41/45°F or at or above 135°F. [COS] Operator voluntarily discarded all of these items in trash.

K23M - Observed rodents, insects, birds, or animals
Observation - Major: Observed 4 live cockroaches inside 2 door reach storage compartment holding glasses at front service line. [CA] Remove cockroaches by safe and legal method. Clean and sanitize unit. Minor: Found numerous old rodent droppings on shelf near 3 compartment sink and on the floor below 3 compartment sink. Found one old rodent dropping underneath the salad bar shelving. [CA] Remove evidence of rodent droppings. Clean and sanitize area. Seal all holes, gaps and crevices to prevent entrance and harborage of vermin.

K34 - Warewashing facilities: not installed, maintained, or used
Observation - Lacking quat sanitizer test strips to measure sanitizer concentration in sanitizer bucket holding wiping cloths. [CA] Testing equipment and materials shall be provided to measure the applicable sanitization method.

K35 - Equipment, utensils - Unapproved, unclean, not in good repair, inadequate capacity
Observation - Measured ambient air temperature in the true 2 door cooler at 52F. [CA] Repair unit to maintain all PHFs cold at or below 41F.

K40 - Wiping cloths: improperly used and stored
Observation - Measured quat sanitizer in sanitizing buckets holding wiping cloths at 0ppm. [CA] Maintain quat sanitizer solution at 200ppm or as specified by the manufacturer.

K44 - Premises not clean, not in good repair; No personal/chemical storage; inadequate vermin-proofing
Observation - Found employee personal items stored on top of food/food related items in the dry storage room. [CA] Store employee personal items separate from food/food related items.

K21 - Hot and cold water not available
Observation - Measured temperature of hot water fluctuating between 102F-108F in the warewashing sink/prep sink. Measured back hand sink hot water at 65F. [CA] Maintain temperature of hot water at a minimum of 100F for hand sink and 120F for warewashing/prep sink.

Close


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Once upon a time there was county health services and some unit called Vector Control. They were supposed to control disease vectors, like excessive rats, etc.
Example: They sprayed the storm drains/sewers in a very nice area of Sunnyvale where there was a problem with cockroaches (coming out of the sewer, a public service). (Otherwise, this was a clean reputable residential area).
In 15 years here, I see a huge increase in numbers of rats, mice, squirrels (which carry disease, plague, I believe) right here in Palo Alto.
Does Vector Control still exist? Or do they not service/pay attention to PA because we are at the very northern edge of Santa Clara County? Something on the "big governmental level" ought to be done, in my opinion.
Properly aerated and managed compost piles would not be the cause of our current constant threat of roof rats and Norway rats.
I can't speak to the cleanliness of PA restaurants particularly (doesn't sound good!), but years ago I worked as a student at a CA restaurant in another area and it was clean. I happily ate there (benefit of employment and food was good). Never saw rodent issues.
Newer persons on this forum may not know in previous years some have posted they FEED squirrels and fiercely fight to protect this vector.


6 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 6, 2017 at 12:41 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

@Neighbor - Totally agree on the open bins, I have even seen adults putting their hands in candy bins for a sample. The only bins that should be permitted for dry goods like cereal, nuts, candy are the type that have a wide spout, you hold a bag under it to dispense the item, also knows as 'Gravity Bins'. I feel the same way about self serve foods, salad bar, hot foods etc. I guess hot foods are less likely to be contaminated but nevertheless the 'gross factor' is hard to ignore.


4 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

Paly Grad, thanks for posting that link... they also list all SCC restaurants closed for violations over past 6 months, sorted by date. Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Yes, Santa Clara County Vector Control still exists:

Web Link

Vector Control is funded by a Parcel Tax. The current parcel tax for Vector Control is $5.08 per year.

There is also a separate Parcel Tax for Mosquito Abatement. The Mosquito Abatement parcel tax is 8.36 per year.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2017 at 2:22 pm

"Hot things hot and cold things cold" is pretty basic in food preparation-- they used to teach about holding temperatures to everyone who was permitted to prepare food. Is that training still required?

Roof rats, brought up by some posters, are another issue. There certainly has been an apparent population increase lately. I even see them "go jogging" at dusk sometimes. But, I wouldn't be too quick to assume what the cause is without some scientifically-minded study.


13 people like this
Posted by Regular
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm

I'm a regular and was told by the owner the reason they were closing was because of a small fire that was no big deal. To be lied to is bad enough. For it be something like this, disgusting. I'm angry.


6 people like this
Posted by M. Pulvers
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2017 at 4:24 pm

I saw mention of Sprouts super market in this discussion, and it reminded me that quite recently (within the past two or three months) I walked into that store to
purchase something and was nauseated by the smell. Clearly there was a long standing issue with rotten meat and possibly other items. Of course, I hurried back out, but I wonder how the store's management and staff get desensitized to such a strong smell when they first walk in each day.


5 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Fwiw, I waitresses in two restaurants and both were clean. The second one was run by and immigrant and the kitchen was immaculate.

Does anyone recall years ago when Liddicoats closed due to vermin?


7 people like this
Posted by zap
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm

regarding roof rats: I haven't seen an increase...but I'm not in downtown PA.....I have the same old activity I've seen for years which is a lot. I finally got sick of it and found that the electric traps from amazon (or wherever, but most stores do NOT have them) work really really well. I've caught over a dozen this week, between the two brands I've used. Peanut butter and dry cat food as bait.

Also- NO you do NOT need to "wait a week for the trap to work because of human smell" Stupid thing for people to say considering rats will run ALL over any kitchen and serving area, as we have seen here...

If it doesn't catch anything in a week, move your trap... alongside the walls is best.

There is a fancy hotel downtown ...near a former bookstore... It has had those poison bait traps in back for well over 10 years...so to an extent...the rat problem is nothing new downtown.


6 people like this
Posted by Infestations at Schools
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 6, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Imagine, at Ravenswood Schools (E. Palo Alto) some schools have roaches and rats, but parents do not even know about it. I know teachers tried to do something about it, but the superintendent does not listen to them.
At least this is in the news and people can decide if they come back to the restaurant or not, but in East Palo Alto parents do not have that choice.


5 people like this
Posted by It all makes sense now
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2017 at 10:54 am

@zap, what brand electronic traps are working well for you?


@moderator, why was my post removed (first one in the thread), it stated nothing but the truth, that I have gotten I'll several times eating at Calafia and given the information exposed in this article and other comments I may have an explanation why.


4 people like this
Posted by Flamingo
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Saw some negative comments re Sprouts at San Antonio in Mountain View. I lived in Mountain View for 3 years and this was my grocery store. Never had any problems at all. When I'm in that area, I still swing by.

Not denying that someone witnessed unruly children or experienced an odor, just saying that I've never had the slightest problem. My experience shopping at Sprouts includes the rotisserie chicken, sliced cheese, sliced and fresh meats, fresh fish, dairy, etc.

Never had any problem with perishables either - but it behooves the customer to check the expiration dates (that's my only caveat for Sprouts.)


7 people like this
Posted by Carlitos Waymann
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2017 at 12:12 am



What I do when choosing where to eat out is to check the County Health Department rating of Restaurants; the ones that consistently pass with flying colors get my money, that way they get rewarded for the good job they do running a food establishment.

There is no question that cleanliness and sanitation standards differ in other parts of the world and leave much to be desired, I have experienced them first hand because i have lived with Stanford students, researchers coming from abroad, specially from Asia.

In the past I worked in the food service industry as a dishwasher, busboy, waiter for 20 years, in California cuisine restaurants, French restaurants, and i know of all the hard work that needs to be done for a restaurant to be clean and in sanitary tip top shape, from clean stocked bathrooms,very crisp and fresh greens for the salads, different types of meat, fish and shellfish, properly maintained and handled, to very crisp personal appearance and grooming. And we were trained by management,on a consistent basis.

It seems that nowadays training is nonexistent.






1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2017 at 8:58 am

My earlier question is answered here:

Web Link

"To comply with California Law, every retail food facility must ensure that:

At least one employee be certified in food safety by passing an approved Food Safety Manager Certification, and
All other employees involved in the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility must obtain a Food Handler Card"


8 people like this
Posted by Worked in restaurants
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2017 at 12:56 am

Just because a restaurant passes a health inspection doesn’t mean it’s well run. In high school, I worked in an Asian place which passed but the every day operations were atrocious. No hand washing, utensils and other things that should stay clean would fall on the floor and be picked up, not washed. Raw meat and prepared food sat out for hours. As all-you-can-eat said above, you are delusional if you think immigrants aren’t bringing their unsanitary habits with them.

You are safer eating at an American chain restaurant, where it’s big business so they can afford some wastefulness for more sanitary practices. But any restaurant doesn’t wash their produce because it’s too time consuming.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm

I suggest rebranding Calafia Cafe to:

Cucaracha Cafe.


3 people like this
Posted by Local
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 14, 2017 at 6:24 pm

I love Califia and will continue to eat there. Why does the PAO continue to slam Califia with this article? I bet 50% of the restaurants in Palo Alto have this same issue.

Will you report and write up EVERY restaurant that this happen to?


2 people like this
Posted by To LOCAL
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 14, 2017 at 11:50 pm

LOCAL: you can bet and be wrong that 50% of the restaurants have this problem.

The truth is that it is not difficult to order a pest control service to prevent this problem from ever happening. However, just like a lot of things, it is a cost that this restaurant does not want to incur. [Portion removed.]




4 people like this
Posted by Citizen Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:01 am

There was a time when we didn't have cockroaches in this city, nor the worry of bedbugs in our libraries, or the site of rodent traps throughout our downtown areas.

These creatures don't stay in one place inside a building or housing complex - they travel throughout the walls and infect all the other units.

I prefer not to eat or live in places which have been sprayed with insecticides.

The whole place has gone to hell.

Not shopping or dining at anyplace in T&C.




2 people like this
Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 15, 2017 at 8:49 am

Many replies above are either nostalgic ("Palo Alto used to be roach free") or borderline xenophobic ("immigrant restaurants"). Putting these two together, we have a very interesting picture of modern Palo Alto.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 16, 2017 at 3:28 am

Someone mentioned the salad bar and prepared food stations that are popular today.

I notice that in many of these places the utensils used to serve food are never cleaned
or monitored.

I go to Whole Foods a lot and see holding trays that are not monitored. The spoons
or utensils used have handles that fall in the food or go missing a lot. No one
monitors or notices.

When they put on tray way back under the sanitary shield, people then scoop the
food and it falls into the trays where other food is.

This is often user/customer error.

I like the freedom of making my own portion and picking what I want or occasionally
avoiding what I do not want or cannot eat, but who knows about the hygiene of these
places.

I was sad to read this about Calafia. I don't go there anymore since it has become
so crowded, noisy and expensive, but I did appreciate the amazingly clean restrooms
there. Are they still so clean and spotless? They had the cleanest restrooms of
any place I have ever seen. Maybe they need to cook the food in the restrooms! ;-)


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:53 am

Like the above poster, I am always judging an establishment (not just restaurants) by the cleanliness of their restrooms. Another aspect is the state of their silverware (sit down restaurants), so many have forks with bent tines or taste very metallic. A restaurant that has poor restrooms or silverware rarely gets a second visit from me.


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