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China Palace: Masters of disaster

My wife has a taste for Chinese food, so I try to indulge her on occasion and so on those evenings we find ourselves stopping by the China Palace on Old State Street in Eagle.

 

Lately, there have been a few troubling signs showing up, which has culminated in me looking them up on the Central District Health department website, where they allow you to browse the results of health inspections of your favorite eating establishments.  I’ll show you those results at the end of this article.

 

We’ve been eating here for about 4 years now, and over the past year or so, we’ve noticed a steady slide downward in the quality of the food they serve.  Being the only Chinese food in the area, we continued to eat there because the service was reasonably good and the waitress was very nice and accommodating.  That all changed some months ago when the “Rice” opened up over by the Eagles Albertson’s and we discovered our favorite waitress serving us there when we went to try it out.

 

Unfortunately, that left a void at the China Palace that has not been adequately filled.  As ide from a polite smile, the service has become rather slow, and the food portions have begun to shrink without improving in quality.  When orders are called in, they often get them wrong and we usually end up explaining our order at least twice when we opt to dine in.

 

The food itself is average Americanized Chinese fare with the usual staple offerings, nothing outstanding, but not too bad either; kind of a study in middle-of-the-road adequacy if you will.

 

So why does this rate such a review as this?  Well, that’s where we come to the most unwelcome surprise of all.  The health inspection results:  In 2012 they were inspected a total of 5 times due to failing so badly that they had to re-certify in order to keep their license.  In total, 14 violations of the health code were found at the China Palace in 2012.  In 2013, they made some improvements and were only found to have violated 7 health codes.  I say this a bit tongue-in-cheek, because that remains an enormous amount of violations and it is a marked improvement by half over the year before.  Needless to say, dine-in Chinese has been taken off our menu for quite some time.

The Health district search page:  https://secure.cdhd.idaho.gov/cdhpublic/LicenseBrowser.aspx

Just my view, from the cheap seats…

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3 thoughts on “China Palace: Masters of disaster

  1. AS of last week, China Palace has wracked up a staggering 27 health code violations in 2013 and 2014.

    I actually contacted Tom Schmalz,the Facility Based Program Manager at the Central District Health Department and asked him how a record like this does not get a restaurant shut down.

    Here is his reply:

    “Mr. Duker,
    Thanks for contacting the Central District Health Department and inquiring about this establishment. When the Central District Health Department conducts inspections, a facility operator is given the opportunity to correct violations at the time of inspection or within a specific period of time. In reviewing the inspection history this operator has corrected violations observed at the time of inspection or at the required time determined by the health inspector.

    The Idaho Food Code does not require an establishment to post their inspections for the public. The Idaho Food Code does require the Food Establishment License be posted in the establishment and visible for the patrons.

    Food establishments are required to have a routine inspection one time per calendar year. When the health department witnesses a food establishment that is having multiple violations the health inspector may increase the number of facility inspections.

    In this case the health inspector has increased the frequency or inspections. For the years 2013 and 2014, Central District Health Department has been in this facility 7 times for routine and follow-up inspections. In the year 2015, an increased number of inspections will be occurring also.

    Central District Health does have the authority to close establishments and will do so when there is an imminent health threat to the public.
    If you have additional questions, contact me.”

    So, let’s put this in perspective: They get caught violating health code, they get a number of days to fix the problems, which we assume they fix, then they get reinspected immediately thereafter. Rinse and repeat…

    Let’s take a look at how this plays out:

    Actual “official” inspection history for China Palace in Eagle, Idaho

    10/15/2014 Follow-up Inspection on-site violations: 0 Critical:0 NO VIOLATIONS

    10/3/2014 Inspection violations: 11 Critical: 6
    05 – Clean hands, wash (2-301.11-.14)
    07 – Handwashing Facilities
    08 – Food from Approved Source
    11 – Food segregated
    12 – Food surfaces clean
    17 – Cooling
    28 – Water source and quantity
    35 – Equipment for temperature co

    12/9/2013 Follow-up Inspection on-site violations: 0 Critical: 0 NO VIOLATIONS

    12/2/2013 Follow-up Inspection on-site violations: 1 Critical: 0 30 – Food contact surfaces-construct…

    11/22/2013 Inspection violations: 9 Critical: 5
    07 – Handwashing Facilities
    08 – Food from Approved Source
    11 – Food segregated
    12 – Food surfaces clean
    25 – Toxic substances identified
    29 – Insects/Rodents/Animals
    30 – Food contact surfaces-construct…
    31 – Plumbing i

    6/25/2013 Follow-up Inspection on-site violations: 0 Critical: 0 NO VIOLATIONS

    6/18/2013 Inspection violations: 7 Critical: 5
    07 – Handwashing Facilities
    12 – Food surfaces clean
    19 – Cold holding
    20 – Date marking/disposition
    25 – Toxic substances identified
    30 – Food contact surfaces-construct…
    31 – Plumbing installed; cross connection; back flow

    11/8/2012 Follow-up Inspection on-site violations: 0 Critical: 0 NO VIOLATIONS

    10/31/2012 Inspection violations: 6 Critical: 4
    05 – Clean hands, wash (2-301.11-.14)
    07 – Handwashing Facilities
    12 – Food surfaces clean
    19 – Cold holding
    29 – Insects/Rodents/Animals
    30 – Food contact surfaces-construct…

    2/17/2012 Follow-up Inspection off site violations: 0 Critical: 0 NO VIOLATIONS

    2/3/2012 Follow-up Inspection on-site violations: 1 Critical: 1
    01 – Certification/Demonstration

    1/25/2012 Inspection violations: 8 Critical: 5
    01 – Certification/Demonstration
    05 – Clean hands, wash (2-301.11-.14)
    07 – Handwashing Facilities
    11 – Food segregated
    12 – Food surfaces clean
    30 – Food contact surfaces-construct…
    31 – Plumbing installed; cross connection;

    7/12/2011 Follow-up Inspection off site violations: 0 Critical: 0 NO VIOLATIONS

    7/7/2011 Inspection violations: 4 Critical: 3
    07 – Handwashing Facilities
    11 – Food segregated
    12 – Food surfaces clean
    31 – Plumbing installed; cross connection; back flow prevention

    7/7/2010 Follow-up Inspection off site violations: 0 Critical: 0 NO VIOLATIONS

    6/30/2010 Inspection violations: 4 Critical: 2
    19 – Cold holding
    20 – Date marking/disposition
    45 – Wiping cloths
    49 – Other

    Your tax dollars at work: It appears that in Idaho, you can serve food off the floor if you like, as long as you pass the re-inspection 2 weeks later and then go back to serving food off the floor. (yes, this a metaphor)

    You can continue to feed people off the floor and not ever be forced to inform your customers about how filthy your establishment truly is!

    To be fair: Tom doesn’t make these rules, he just enforces the policy and goes about his day. You made these rules, your votes made it possible and your complacency allows it to continue.

  2. OK, so the 2014 numbers just came in and China Palace in Eagle Idaho got another 11 health code violations this year!

    How is this place not shut down? Is Idaho the state of filthy restaurants then? should we be proud of this kind of performance? This is disgusting! and unlike other states, Idaho does not require food establishments to post their health grades in public view…

    Absolutely disgusting!

  3. China Palace Update!

    There is still no safe place in Eagle Idaho to get your Chinese food fix: China Palace, on old State St. got another 9 health code violations since this article\’s release.

    So far they have not been inspected in 2014, but 2013 was the worst set of health code violation of any eating establishment in the entire Ada county with a grand total of 17 health code violations within the calendar year.

    Don\’t walk, RUN from China Palace!!!

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