Dear Foodies,

When was the last time you had a good time? Think about it. If you're thinking back to your ol' college days (Animal House) or when you danced the night away at your wedding (10 years ago) -- it's been too long. One more thing ... you don't have to be teen or a "Winter Texan" to have a blast.

This is Dr. Feel Good's (Madame Gourmande) recommendation. Make plans to visit Kohnami Restaurant (McAllen) - it has everything you need to never leave.....

Kohnami's décor and design is.... (let me think for a moment) ...expressive and impressive, to say the least. Allen Jung (owner/restaurateur) probably spent untold amounts of yen (or dollars) to transform this artistic restaurant. You'll understand Allen's taste in contemporary décor if you have an appreciation for rich colors (gold / black)... tea cup sculptures, large murals, etc. There's definitely some Feng Shui going on thanks to those golden tea cups. F.Y.I. Soetsu Yanagi was a tea master who believed a "tea cup" represented serenity of the mind and of life itself.

I did notice a lonely grand piano waiting for someone to play and a stage waiting for a crooner to sing classic flavored songs. It was Saturday! Where were the Yo- Yo Ma and Ella Fitzgerald impersonators?!

I know what you're's another sushi place offering the same Japanese rolls, etc. Well, not exactly. That's because the same dish will (always) seem different depending on who prepares it (we all know when the Chef is on vacation), and a slight difference in the spices or methods of preparation used will make all the difference in the world.

People of all ethnicities have taken up a love for the delicious concoctions of fish and rice. You will find "new age" sushi rolls with names such as: Mexican Orgasm, Spicy Angel, Play Boy, and French kiss (wow, all that comes in a roll?). Whatever floats your boat...they have it!

I wasn't a fan of Saba (mackerel) until I discovered that this rich, oily specimen doesn't have to be overwhelmingly fishy or briny. It was lighter and more tender than just about any mackerel I've had in McAllen. A lovely o - bento of salmon teriyaki came in a close second (lunch special $7.50), thanks to the sweet sauce glazed on the moist fillet. Between that, a mound of steamed rice, egg roll, vegetable gyoza and California roll (1/2), it was a feast fit for a shogun.

In addition, many of the cooked items on the menu were quite yummy, such as the Hamachi Kama (broiled yellowtail collar with ponza sauce- $7.50) which was rich and fatty.

The sushi bar itself is famous for a good reason- there's fresh octopus, white tuna, sea urchin, abalone and the list goes on. The entrees at Kohnami are mostly traditional Japanese cuisine, though they do also have some Korean entrees such as bulgokee.

The bar houses an impressive shelf of exotic sakes that caters to new tasters as well as sake connoisseurs. Pairing sake and food; no match is perfect, it is a matter of what you like. Sometimes sake awakens you out of a slumber, with an acidity or sweetness exploding across your palate. Sometimes it's gentle and is only there for a few seconds, other times it can be strong and have staying power of a few days.

Among our human needs, food is certainly a biggie but, we need to embrace other needs as well. This is where song and dance come in. Foodies, you don't have to be a shower singer anymore. Kohnami has the ultimate party rooms available for your entertainment! Private (very intimate) karaoke rooms come complete with the latest technology: giant T.V. (monitor), large sound system with more than 2,000 songs and leather couches surrounding the walls.

Allen (Korean) knows karaoke is serious business in the Asian culture - for a good reason. There's no stage fright when amongst friends, and you can sing with abandon. Put those fears aside and be adventurous! Imagine...uninterrupted fun complete with table service. I highly recommend all forms of singing as a form of soul food both for yourself and your surroundings.

Oh, I almost forgot! There's even a bar/disco playing Latin music (and live band - cumbia, salsa) - remember dancing in Reynosa back in the '80s? Well, imagine Trevino's and the Alaskan (with a different crowd) together in one place - and there, you have it.

I will survive,

Madame Gourmande

Kohnami Restaurant, 2005 W. Nolana, McAllen. 956-630-1111.