I don't eat out very often and when I do, the food is just as important to me as the person or people joining me. 

I'm a guy who loves to eat and I hate wasting money on food that wasn't that good. While I had many fantastic meals at area restaurants in 2016, these were my five favorite nights out. Also, they are in no particular order.

The Bone-in Ribeye at Alchemy (610 N. Bell School Rd. Rockford, IL.)


I don't even have words. Ok, maybe I do. This ribeye is the best steak in town.


Baked French Onion Soup at The 615 Club (615 Broad St. Beloit, WI.)

I have a real problem remembering to take photos of my food before I start eating. I love food way more than my phone. Believe me when I say that letting go of my spoon wasn't going to happen until this bowl was empty.


The Meatloaf Grilled Cheese Sandwich at RKFD Bar & Grill on Perryville Rd. (now closed)

At least this time I remembered to take a picture before I was finished. It's unfortunate that this cool bistro and bar is now closed, but restaurants are a tough business. They damn sure got it right on this sandwich. I hear that from time to time, the sandwich is available at another fantastic Rockford restaurant, Lucha Cantina, in the Edgebrook Shopping Center on Alpine Rd..


Steak & Shrimp Fajitas at Sabrosa Tex Mex Restaurant in (5522 Elevator Rd. Roscoe, IL.)


A couple things were at play during this dinner. There are two things I love very much; my daughter and chips & salsa. This was my lucky night. My dinner date was my daughter and the baskets of warm chips just kept coming from the kitchen. There's a great flavor coming out of that kitchen as well and I always repay the favor by sending a very empty plate back.


Surf & Turf and Shrimp Tempura Rolls at Zen Sushi (430 E. Grand Ave. Beloit, WI.)

Another night when the food was even more amazing because of my dinner companion. It was a first date too. Add to that an amazing signature cocktail called Black Orchid, and this is a night I will never forget.