Many of us scoff at those who pay $100+ per tasting menu – it’s an entire day’s pay for many cooks. Instead, we proudly shadow Anthony Bourdain in search of our own treasures - the cheapest and even more delectable fare that’s only
tucked away in the darkest corners of the city.
We all have them: our favorite hole-in-the-walls, those we’d trek fifty miles to get to because this
is where the Vietnamese live and only this
place makes the best pho
. And it’s that chase, that adventure, for the very best banh mi, chimichurris, papusas
, and pizza that’s out there. And even better, it’s dirt-cheap! But maybe that’s the problem – it’s just too cheap! Blasphemy, right? Well just be careful because you could one day find yourself bed-ridden, stricken with diarrhea and vomiting, sucked bone dry because you can’t keep anything in, and faint with a 102 degree fever.
Fact #1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
states that roughly 76 million cases of food borne illnesses occurs in the US yearly.
In total there are an estimated 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths related to food borne illnesses.
From how food is stored, to the temperature food reaches when cooked, to an employee not washing their hands between tasks, especially after using the bathroom, are factors in the development of food borne illnesses says an environmental health inspector in California. This health inspector told me the most common violations among restaurant kitchens:
1) No soap or paper towels in the wall mounted dispensers at the hand wash sink.
2) Lack of proper chemical concentration in the sanitize buckets (for wiping cloths).
3) Lack of sanitizer concentration rinse in the three-compartment water wash sink.
But since we’re also consumers of the restaurant industry, and probably don’t want to be health inspectors as well, she also gave me some crucial signs to look for when we find ourselves on the ‘other’ side, enjoying the day off with the rest of the world.