What happens next is something of a miracle for you, as you bite down into the ceviche roll: Japanese snapper diced and tossed in lemon, lime juice, cilantro, truffle oil, and ohba. Rolled in a neon yellow soy-paper wrap that reminds you of lemon-lime cellophane, topped with tobiko and radish sprouts, the roll is a beauty. The tobiko pops under your teeth, and the cilantro dives in and around the citrus effortlessly. The snapper is like a breath of fresh air, and the roll disappears.

A middle-age couple next to you leans over, looking to bond over the raw fish, and soon takes it upon themselves to send you somewhere for a brilliant dessert. They describe something called the Back Bay Grill, and another place called Five Fifty-Five, before traipsing out the door.

You hit the pavement again. The streets are spookily empty, and by the time you roll up at Back Bay Grill, it is too: closed! You wander back past abandoned office buildings to find FIVE FIFTY-FIVE, where you stand awkwardly in the doorway. There are only a few people nursing drinks, but no one notices you. Eventually, the bartender, feeling bad for you, approaches.

You decide to forgive the weird entrance after the plates arrive, since he's picked the Devil's Food cake to start. The deeply chocolaty, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth cake comes adorned with bruléed apricots and Szechuan-cinnamon ice cream, topped with chili threads. It's spicy in all the right places, each bite cooling and reheating your tongue. Next is the stone-fruit shortcake: plums, immersed in a ruby-port blackberry sauce, sandwiched between two just-dense-enough cakes. A plume of whipped crème fraiche rests on the side. This will certainly do.

You make your way home, and fall into bed, surrounded by chintz. A job well eaten, you think, as the desserts weigh heavily on your eyelids.

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