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Tabletop s'mores, $6.95.

Image: Alice Levitt

Remember Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants? Even if you don't recall the name Stella Liebeck, you almost certainly remember that some idiot (or genius?) sued McDonald's in 1994 for serving its coffee too hot, causing her to scald herself. She was initially awarded $2.86 million by a jury of what was obviously very accurately described as her peers. A judge later lowered her payment significantly, but you get the idea. 

I'm reporting this more than 20 years later because I'm a little startled at Amazón Grill's bravery in not only serving a flaming dessert, but giving it to customers with no instructions or observation. And as far as I know, there have been no injuries or lawsuits. Score one for humanity.

Of course, you probably should have already added a point for our species with the very existence of tabletop s'mores. I don't know about you, but my neurotransmitters light up like a night at the carnival when presented with pretty much any make-your-own situation at a restaurant. I don't care how bad that Mongolian barbecue is, the rush of dopamine I experience is so strong, I end up thinking I love it. And when the foodie foreplay involves roasting marshmallows on my table after eating a very satisfying steak, cilantro rice and maduros, I am guaranteed to cheerfully overeat.

That said, I was a bit disappointed to see the reality compared to the blazing flame and ample pile of marshmallows and chocolate in the restaurant's own photos. I struggled to take a photo that showed any dancing light coming from the blue, well-worn candle in the center of the sectioned wood bowl that held my ingredients. The weak fire meant that I had to hold the marshmallows very close to it to see any results, which unfailingly led to setting them aflame.

So not ideal s'mores circumstances. But I didn't care. Even though I can make them perfectly every time under my broiler using Vosges chocolate instead of Hershey's, I will face singeing my finger tips or setting my hair on fire (I achieved the former, thankfully not the latter), for that special thrill of kicking it old-school and in public. And I will be counting the moments until I can tempt fate at Amazón Grill again.

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