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Ode to Shiki

Adrian Hale: I could hardly believe that a client of our lost Shiki could even begin to call the current situation "happily ever after" ["Big fish stories," Dining, Oct. 27]. I too remember the place that for 19 years gave Orlando/Winter Park a taste of what most of the country already had: good food. As a transplant from the Northeast, I can tell you that I have tasted my fair share of sushi, and Shiki went far beyond even out-of-state competition. I think that it is poor judgment on your part to even hint that Sakura could walk in the shadows of what was 525 S. Park Ave.

I too went to Sakura; in fact, I took my whole family, and we were all terribly disappointed. My 5-year-old old had loved Shiki's shrimp tempura: sweet, plump shrimp in a batter that must have been a secret because I have yet to find a sushi place that can duplicate it, served atop tempura-fried vegetables with a fan of tempura spaghetti to silhouette the creation. Sadly, Sakura's tempura was greasy and the shrimp were only half the size of what we had been accustomed to, plus the presentation was boring and unimaginative.

My oldest son always loved Shiki's Ultimate Tuna roll, Tuna Crunch roll, Dragon roll and the Spicy Conch roll – gone, gone, gone – and when we finally found something similar in that ridiculous monstrosity that Sakura calls a menu, nothing had the same crisp, clean flavors of our dear Shiki.

The fact is that Japanese food has one basic tenet: fresh, distinct flavors. Sadly, what we found at Sakura is what can be found in nearly every pathetic storefront in Orlando: disguise and compromise.

No, I wouldn't call things "happily ever after" – maybe that's just the Disney in you trying to imbue truth with fantasy. If I were to describe things I would use the terms "dark" and "hollow"; dark because of the mourning that must occur when something we love is gone, and hollow for the hunger that can never be satiated. We have ultimately lost something that can never be retrieved: authenticity.

Alda Rees, Orlando

What happened to America?

I'm sure you've gotten a lot of e-mail over this ["Gore? OK. Sex? No way," Oct. 13]. I must say that, at least, this is a gas. I can't even believe that anyone could be arrested under the circumstances this site is based on. Beyond porn, there are many sites just like this one. How can any one man be charged with something as lame as this? People post pictures, stories and the like to millions of websites every day that are very relative in nature to anything I have ever seen on this site. What ever happened to the Constitution? Don't people still have the right to freedom of speech, or did they take that away too when I wasn't looking?

This is truly sad. I can't figure why this country wants to charge or arrest someone over anything the government doesn't deem fit. It's pretty bad when countries that have half the freedoms we have as American citizens have more freedom than we have. Just take a look at everything. Some countries air daytime soap operas with nudity and game shows with nudity. Think you would ever see that here? Hell no! Because someone thinks they know what I want to see. If soldiers want to post what is really going on "over there," is that not the American right they are defending? When this "war" started, all the media talked about was how it was the greatest thing to have reporters embedded in the "front lines." However, once the "real" stories came out, it was all the government could do to hide it.

Why are we arresting people over dumb stuff like this, but a man that murders his entire family and rapes a 5-year-old child in the process can spend a few years in the pokey, then live in the same neighborhood as my 3-year-old son, so long as he knocks on every door and says, "I'm a child molester"?

Marcus Theisen, via the Internet

We rule

You guys (or gals) have a real nice publication. Keep up the good work, especially the columns and the alternative info.

Kelly Reed, via the Internet

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