Luxe caviar from a vending machine
In case thronging shoppers aren?t indication enough of an economic rebound, look for signs in the food court. In Burbank, Century City and Topanga malls you can find Exhibit A: caviar-dispensing vending machines.
Operated by Beverly Hills Caviar, the machines are the size of two side-by-side soft-drink dispensers. They sell myriad caviars, including ounces of Imperial River Beluga ($500), American black caviar ($25), black whitefish caviar ($17) and red salmon eggs ($8). We liked the way the touch-screen recommends how to serve each type, suggesting that spicy black caviar ($30) tastes good in pasta, or that wasabi tobikko ($13) is used for sushi. All servings come insulated enough to give you three hours until they need to be refrigerated.
There?s also a full complement of accessories (including a $5 mother-of-pearl spoon) and other gourmet wares ($15 truffle oil, $45 escargot). While we give the enterprise top marks for convenience, we?d vote to upgrade its cheesy displays (a video of a chap spooning roe into a lady?s mouth, a glassy-eyed cat mesmerized by $32 salmon eggs for pets), which momentarily made us forget our hunger due to our giggling.
Beverly Hills Caviar, Westfield Century City, Level Two, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd.; beverlyhillscaviar.com