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Mar 24, 2014 09:40 PM

How do you feel about posting street food/unlicensed vendors?

I'm somewhat torn. On the one hand, some of the best food I have ever eaten has been street food, and I want to share that with people here, but on the other hand I don't want the attention to bring the health dept down on them. I live in Los Angeles, and I know that this has happened at least once to a well known food gathering, which makes me hesitant to hype up anything else.

Obviously, this matters more in certain countries than in others, but what do you do: Do you talk about them and (possibly) send more money to good people serving good food, or do you keep quiet and save them from a (possible) health inspector visit?

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  1. I thought that the reason for this site was the opportunity to spread the word about culinary finds? I do not normally check the legality of food purveyors or their recent grade on health inspections. Trusting soul that I am.

    Is it part of your restaurant experience to check the documentation of workers in both the front and the back of the house?

    1 Reply

      I've never checked anyone's documentation, but I'm not talking about places that even have a "front and back of the house" I'm talking about the woman at the bus stop with the cooler of tamales, my neighbor who makes sopes in her front yard or the women on the corner selling ribs out of their smoker.
      I doubt these people have been graded by the health inspector.

    2. ASK THE VENDOR>>>>>>>>>>>>
      tell them you want to spread the word, but don't want to cause them trouble.
      They can make the decision and you will have no feeling of guilt if there are legal consequences for them.

      That said, as an attorney, and an officer of the court I don't support those knowingly breaking the law (no, I don't do criminal work <VBG>). It is not my obligation to check the licensing and immigration status of the employees where dine, BUT if I know it's illegal, I don't dine there.

      We can make these choices without causing legal harm to the small businessman. Yesterday, our landscaper stopped by to schedule spring cleanup after a tough winter. He quouted me a price that was 25% higher than last year, telling me that rates have gone up at the 'laborline' where he picks up the illegal day workers. I told him that I needed a price using legal workers and that he would be doing no business activity on my property with illegal workers.
      I can't change what I don't know, I'm not a government investigator, and sometimes "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is the best policy.

      1. Good chow is good chow so, yeah, I'll recommend them. Honestly, I have no idea whether places I frequent are licensed or not. I kind of assume they are but certainly don't check.

        1. Well I don't think anyone should be doing business with the intent of "escaping" health inspections to begin with, so I don't see the problem? Nor would I recommend you eat from any vendor who isn't prepared for or welcome to an inspection. I don't see your dilemma.

          1. We used to remove posts about unlicensed businesses, but we stopped a few years ago when it seemed like every underground supper club had its own Twitter account. It felt pointless to be actively protecting people who clearly wanted to be promoted instead. So now, as moderators, we leave those posts alone unless the business runner themselves contacts us asking it to be removed, but as users, it's good if people use some discretion in this area. It's often fairly easy to tell whether someone is courting publicity -- do they have a name, a logo, a twitter account? -- or trying to fly under the radar.