CREATED Apr. 24, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It's double trouble this week with two restaurants tying for the top spot on Dirty Dining.
Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears covered the county from North Las Vegas to Mesquite.
Two restaurants were almost shut down after receiving 39-demerit "C" grades.
Our quest for answers took us first to Mesquite where the owner of La Fonda restaurant took offense to the term "dirty dining."
"It was some regulations that the Health Department required that was not done properly, I guess, but it's not because it was dirty," said Rosa Kundev.
She and her husband own the restaurant on West Pioneer Boulevard.
Rosa says the Health District came by the day after the couple came back from vacation.
"Because we were not here, even though we train these people, sometimes they don't listen. And they were really busy the day before, so I guess they overlooked things. But usually we're on top of everything."
Health inspectors found food handlers not washing their hands, dirty wiping cloths on cutting boards, ice buckets stored face down on the floor and black mold in the ice machine, which was under repair when we got there.
"Pastor chili sauce that was two weeks old. The date label on it was two weeks old. Why would that have still been in the kitchen?" Spears asked.
"We check all the dates on a daily basis. My husband, he's in charge of that, and also all the cooks," said Rosa.
Again, she blames employees who she says got lazy while the owners were gone.
"We had a meeting with all the employees and we let them know that is really bad what they did."
Like thawing shrimp in a sink with dirty dishes and keeping tomatillos too close to chemicals.
Rosa: "I guess we can't go on vacation anymore."
Darcy: "Oh, you've got to go on vacation every once in a while, come on now."
La Fonda is still operating under a "C" grade.
Our second stop was China A Go Go in North Las Vegas on Ann and Decatur. Health inspectors say the restaurant was "excessively soiled with food debris buildup."
Translation -- it was really dirty and hadn't been cleaned in a while.
The food-caked faucet handle on the hand sink was nothing compared to the wheel of a cart in the kitchen that was almost indiscernible underneath layers of yuck.
And they were using a wok to hold up a drain pipe.
Multiple foods including raw chicken and raw beef were left out at room temperature, food was stored uncovered and left open to contamination, and an ax and wire was found in the kitchen.
When Action News visited the restaurant on Monday, the Health District's grade card was nowhere to be seen.
Grade cards are required to be posted conspicuously at all times, but many restaurants hide their card from the public when that grade is a "C," which is the worst grade the Health District gives out.
When Action News pointed out that it was missing, it mysteriously reappeared from under a counter, and the manager put it back on the wall.
Inspectors found China A Go Go storing food on the floor, including eggs right next to the trash and an open bag of carrots.
Action News spoke to the owner on the phone who promised to go on camera the next day, but he never did.
China A Go Go is now back to an 8-demerit "A" grade.
La Fonda is not yet scheduled for re-inspection.