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It's never a deal, but expense really isn't the problem with caviar. It's availability. Unless you're all dolled up for a night on the town, you're not going to find caviar on the menu. Why should caviar require a coat and tie to eat? Yet nobody serves it except fancy restaurants--usually as a big-deal garnish signifying expense, or an appetizer without a price listed. I resent the eliteness of it. So I was happy to find caviar on the Martini Ranch menu, half an ounce of osetra for $9.75. No sour cream or egg or onion, just eggs and toast, plain and wonderful.

Martini Ranch, 2816 Cedar Springs at Fairmount, 220-2116.

--Mary Brown Malouf

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