Entries in Caviar (2)


Caviar Vending Machines Unveiled at California Malls

Beverly Hills Caviar(LOS ANGELES) -- It’s not uncommon for people to have champagne wishes and caviar dreams, even if they live on a beer budget. But a new invention from Beverly Hills Caviar is helping to make those highbrow fantasies more attainable to the regular blue collar crowd.

Kelly Stern and Brian Scheiner, husband-and-wife caviar connoisseurs, have developed a caviar vending machine. The first were unveiled Nov. 23 at Westfield Topanga, Burbank Town Center and Westfield Century City shopping centers in California.

“What I want to do is make caviar affordable for everybody,” Stern told ABC News. “What’s the point of being in business in America if you can’t sell to all of America? We decided to choose three separate malls because any normal person with kids is not living in West Hollywood. Normal people live in the suburbs. The caviar is accessible, not next to Louis Vuitton and not next to Armani or Burberry. It’s in a convenient place where you’re not uncomfortable with someone looking at you checking out.”

Stern said she wants their customers to be at ease while choosing the products they’re buying.

“We want everybody to just go there and play with it and have fun with it and buy what they want. Buy stuff for $50. Buy stuff for $5,000. No one is judging you,” Stern said.

The idea for the vending machines came innocently enough, from their now-5-year-old daughter’s obsession with cupcakes.

“Our daughter was three and half, and she came up with it when we bought a cupcake on the Sprinkles machine,” Stern said. “She looked at me and said, ‘Mommy can we put caviar in the machine?’ My husband was like, ‘Hmm, that’s a very interesting idea.’  She’s 5 today and here you go. We have the first caviar machine and they’re pretty amazing.”

The vending machines offer a range of caviar, from an Imperial River Beluga Caviar at $500 per ounce, down to actually-affordable Wasabi Tobiko caviar for only $10 an ounce, which has been much more popular with the crowd.

Caviar isn’t the only delicacy being offered. A full selection of other unusual gourmet foods, not typically found at your supermarket, include items like escargot, gourmet salts, and truffle oils. For your four-legged friends, there’s even a special assortment of caviar just for your dogs and cats.

The caviar is guaranteed fresh, too. The goods are dispensed in insulated boxes, and need about 30 minutes to defrost for the optimum dining experience.

“The caviar is preserved in perfect temperature and definitely no moisture,” Stern said. “It’s not manhandled, because you don’t want people to touch it. You don’t want a high-ticket item to be handled by people. We are trying to keep it as sanitary as possible. It comes in a sanitary bag, in a sanitary box with a mother of pearl spoon so it’s ready to eat.”

The total inventory retail worth is about $50,000, which also raised concerns about security and the possibility of items being stolen. Three cameras were installed in each machine to take your picture as you purchase.

“We have a lot of eyeballs on the machines,” said Stern. “A lot of people are looking. Even if it takes them a long time to make the move, we know as soon as they will, they’ll be clients for life. They were told all their life this wasn’t attainable, and now it is. We are here right now to just convince everybody to try it once.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$1,200 Dish at New California Restaurant

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS GATOS, Calif.) -- What would you do if you sat down to try the new restaurant in town and noticed a $1,200 dish on the menu?

Some people may be a little discouraged, but what if that dish consisted of some of the finest caviar out there?

A high-end Japanese restaurant, Katsu, has just opened in the northern California town of Los Gatos. First thing on the menu is a dish called the Decadence Staircase, featuring Russian Sevruga, Osetra, Golden Osetra caviar and premium Beluga caviar, descending along bamboo stairs.

It also includes Pacific spiny lobster sashimi, Japanese Wagyu shabu shabu — and what better way to top it all off than with 24-karat gold leaves?

The restaurant’s top chef and part-owner, Chef Katsuhiko Hanamure, used his worldly experience in high-end kitchens and personal training by famed chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa to craft the menu at Katsu.

“I would like to attract many different people who are craving high-quality ingredients,” he said.

And for the prices they charge, there are definitely some high-quantity ingredients imported from all over.

“Pricing is based on market supply and scarcity of products that are difficult and costly to import,” said Derek Schuette, the restaurant’s general manager.

Local resident Hida Baghbni said she was a little hesitant to attend the restaurant at first, but she said her experience at Katsu was incredible, with dishes that are hard to find in the United States.

“It was the real stuff, I was pretty impressed,” she said. “The fish just melted in your mouth.”

Los Gatos local Bob Dobkin heard a lot of hype about the new restaurant and showed up on opening night, but said he was not impressed with all the restaurant had to offer.

“First thing that greets you on the menu is a $1,200 plate, and that doesn’t make you feel too comfortable,” said Dobkin. “I wouldn’t go back unless they cut their prices in half.”

The menu also includes an item called Serendipity that includes Wagyu beef — American, Australian and Japanese — for $400.

Another pricey dish is the Japanese Kegoshima Prefecture Wagyu New York strip for $200.

Schuette said Los Gatos is an intimate, high-end community that has some of the greatest chefs in the world but it was lacking something.

He said Katsu was an opportunity to bring something new to the area for residents to explore and indulge in.

Another local, Mike Cooper, said he’s been to the restaurant a few times since they opened. He said he enjoyed it and recommended it for a younger, more upbeat crowd.

“It’s great, very N.Y.C., L.A. vibe, great down-tempo music that picked up a bit later,” he said. “Hollywood is here!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio