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You Say You Want Fast Food?

November 01, 1990|CHARLES PERRY

Carl's Jr. and Arby's are trying out touch-screen ordering in our area--Carl's in Ontario and Azusa, Arby's in Century City. You walk up to a bank of computer screens and press brightly colored squares to tell it what you want; it gives you a running total on the right side of the screen and never, ever forgets to ask whether you'd like some fries with that order. A human unit takes your money and gives you your food.


This is no joke. The Pizzabot is a pizza-making robot which puts toppings on a prepared crust, places the pizza in an oven and removes it when done, all at voice commands such as "Mushrooms, pepperoni." It was designed by the Carnegie-Mellon Center for Human Service Robotics to enable severely handicapped people to run their own businesses.

Spud Update

Those saddened some months ago by the news that the Potato Museum in Washington had closed may take heart. The International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, houses numerous varieties of the noble tuber, including many wild species.

Party Down, Spot

Critter Caterers in Beverly Hills is definitely your party supply one-stop if you happen to be a dog or a cat. It's got pretzels, bagels and (carob) brownies, a bakery case with 30 flavors of dog biscuits and even doggy deli platters. Home delivery and drive-through service are available for phone (and very likely car-phone) orders. It reports that some of its animal customers have credit cards in their own names. Needed now: touch screen ordering.

Cinema Note

General Cinema Corporation has sold most of its stock in Cadbury-Schweppes, Ltd. The prospect of watching "Rocky IX" with Hazelnut Bars and Bitter Lemon recedes ever farther.

Fischer, the Beer Amorous

Last weekend the French brewing company Fischer introduced its latest product in New York: 36//15 Pecheur. It's being marketed as "La Biere Amoureuse" (in France, 36//15 is the number you call for the equivalent of one of our boy-girl 900-lines), because it contains 16 ingredients with reputed aphrodisiac properties, including myrrh, ginseng, mango and six secret ingredients. As to the flavor, the Wall Street Journal has compared it to a beer cooler. We'll see how many people will pay $6 for a three-pack, and how many will walk up to a bar and say, "Make mine a thirty-six double-slash fifteen."

Seekh No Further

Possibly aiming to outdo the world's longest sushi roll, made some years ago in Japantown, the Maharani Restaurant in San Francisco constructed the world's longest seekh kebab Aug. 15 to celebrate India's 43rd Independence Day. (Where did they get a skewer long enough for 972 pieces of lamb, and how did they get 243 linear feet of skewer into a tandoor oven? Simple: Nowhere, and they didn't. They used one-foot bamboo skewers threaded together.) The sizable seekh kabab went three times around the table in the Peacock Room, we understand.

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