Last year I was finishing another great meal at Daikokuya, one of my favorite ramen joints in Little Tokyo, when I looked up to see a bright red “C” hanging in the front window.
Now I am no ratings snob. I’ve eaten at roadside shacks in rural Thailand. I’ve consumed sausage from a vending machine in Sweden, and I’ve knowingly dined at plenty of “B” establishments before. However, a “C” rated restaurant in Los Angeles? Never.
As soon as I got home that night I went straight to the Google. That’s where I found something that would continue to haunt me for the next few months: A database of Los Angeles County restaurant ratings, including the reasons for each score.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has a simple web site, lapublichealth.org/rating/, which allows you to search by restaurant or facility name, or you can search all of the restaurants in any given area.
“Information is power!” I thought. Feeling smug and empowered.
Once I found the database, I compulsively searched all of the restaurants that I dine at regularly. When that failed to reveal anything horrifying enough, I searched more. All of the restaurants in my zip code. All of the restaurants in the city. Scanning scores, looking for “C” ratings or below, obsessed with knowing why. Even when I found what I was looking for, I kept searching for more. I finally reached maximum overload when I Continue reading “Making the Grade”