Anyway, my top five places to eat? Hmm... I have a lot of favorites, but I'll narrow it down.
1. My absolute favorite has to be right here at home. My wife is an incredible cook, loves cooking a wide variety of foods and is not afraid to try new things. She makes awesome rib roast, her Beef Wellington is FANTASTIC, and she did this nut/herb roast thingy with the filet from the deer I bagged last fall that just made it frigging melt in your mouth. She makes her own salad dressings from scratch, and has this uncanny knack of knocking out awesome meals with what we have on hand, and on our tight budget. The kids agree that "Momma's Kitchen" is the best food around.
2. My wife introduced me to sushi a couple of years back (I had obviously heard of it prior to that but was always leery of eating raw fish. It did not appeal to me at all) and I've been hooked ever since. Good sushi is like crack for your tongue; the thing is, it has to be good sushi. Since surrendering to my addiction, I've tried sushi in a bunch of different places, some good, some not so much; but I always return to our local place. It is honestly the best sushi around and if you ever have the misfortune to wind up in our town, you could do a lot worse than grabbing a couple of rolls at Matsuri's. No link, because they don't have a web site - it's a little mom n pop place - but if you like sushi, you won't be disappointed.
3. No list would be complete without a good steakhouse, and there's one right down the street here that makes an awesome one. It's marinated (which I know will turn off some purists here, but whatever) and they bring it to your table sizzling. A really nice, unique flavor, and not real hard on the wallet. They're not huge, but there's plenty: a no-nonsense meal; steak, potato, cheese bread and salad, rounded out with a 30oz beer. Every time my folks are in town, my dad insists on going there. The name of this place? Steer n' Stein.
4. My wife's parents have a condo down in Oceanside that they spend a fair bit of time at, and one of my favorite places to grub down there is the Monterey Bay Canners. It's a seafood restaurant right there in the marina, that just makes some of the best seafood I've ever had. It's a great place with a nice atmosphere; kinda spendy, so we don't visit as often as I'd like.
5. This one's a bit of a tear-jerker, at least for me. By far, my favorite food is Indian. I cannot pass up a good curry, the hotter the better. There was a small hole-in-the wall place over by UCR called the Bengal Kitchen, and I used to go there for their lunch buffet whenever I could. Their array of foods, from dal to naan bread to tandoori chicken was fantastic, and I would gorge myself whenever I was there. If I ate there, I'd be done for the day. I was totally hooked on their grub, but alas, the place closed down to my eternal sorrow, and there's no other Indian places locally that I can find solace with. It looks like I have to go into that cesspit L.A. if I ever want to satisfy my curry fix in the future ( at a restaurant anyway; my wife can knock out some great Indian food, when she is so inclined).
So there's five places I would strongly recommend ( well four I guess, since the Bengal Kitchen closed, dammit!) and now to the final part of the task set me by FHB: pass this tag on to five more unfortunate souls...