A couple of weekends ago, we drove up to Orlando to visit family. My grandfather's 78th birthday was Monday, but the family celebrated on Saturday night. We ate pizza, talked a bunch of crap, the girls got their Wii on and I introduced the family to Dark and Stormies.

I read recently (on Wikipedia) that Barritt's Ginger Beer is the ginger of beer of choice in Bermuda, and that it is better for the drink than Jamaican ginger beer, as it's too spicy. Being in Miami, the easiest ginger beers to find are Jamiacan or Jamiacan style D&G (Jamaica), Jamaican Country Style (Miami/Jamaica) and Goya (US). (My usual ginger beer of choice is D&G).I found a couple six-packs of Barritt's in a liquor store down the street from Mom's house. I grabbed them and a bottle of Gosling and spent the evening mixing drinks.

Sunday night, we met up with my friend Scott, whom I had not seen since just before moving to Florida. He and his wife Becky were down for a few days visiting her family. We met at their hotel on the south side of Orlando and went in search of Hanamizukai, which I had read was the best Japanese in that area. We had a little trouble finding it as I hadn't really written the directions down. After driving all the way up to the outlet mall (some 2 miles or so past the restaurant), we found it on the way back south.

First course was a squid sunomuno. This was the best squid I've had to date. Firm without being rubbery, with a hint of vinegar.

Main course was one of the sushi combination options. Tuna roll with chef's choice of nigiri. Ama Ebi was one of the nigiri pieces. Eventually, the deep fried head was served, as well. The nigiri was all very good, and pretty much all of my favorites were accounted for (hamachi, sake, maguro, ikura, saba).

The interesting thing is that the first place I was served Ama Ebi was across the street at another Japanese place that James and I visited a year or so ago when he was visiting Mom. We drove up from the airport and stopped somewhere that looked interesting.

Dinner was excellent, all around. Excellent food, excellent dining companions. We got a bit rowdy eventually, as we recounted stories of the old days for Becky (Liz has heard most of them already or was there, although there were a few new bits). Most of them were old band stories (Scott and I played together in The Fink Squad (WARNING: Ugly website) and other associated acts. It was really great to see them and hopefully it won't be quite so long before we catch them again.