I must admit, I eat out a lot. To me, food is about connection, it brings people closer together in so many ways. Needless to say, my meals are always shared with others, and having food-loving friends all over, it is never difficult to find someone to eat with. However, the same isn't always the case when it comes to the eateries themselves. Just because I eat out a lot doesn't mean the meal is always good. Sometimes, it can be rather dismal too, but you won't be hearing about them here. So what makes a place stand out? For me, it's one where I will return to over and over again, or, one I just can't out of my mind because I had an incredible experience there. Here is a selection from LA, OC and San Diego. Dominique's Kitchen in Redondo Beach was a definite hidden gem. I was so blown away by the bistro French menu I've been plotting my return. This husband and wife run restaurant offers delicious fare at astonishingly reasonable prices. My favorites were the chicken liver pate and the escargots. You can read more about it here. A Restaurant in Newport Beach is no stranger to the food scene, however, the menu has definitely taken a turn under the helm of Executive Chef Jon Blackford. You will still find classics such as steak tartare as well as steak and potatoes, but comfortably alongside are Tuscan black kale salad and the incredibly light seared ahi tuna. One of my favorites is the veal chop which proved to be the piece de resistence of my meal. You can read more about it here. Prepkitchen has several locations in San Diego and although the menus are the same, you will find a few dishes exclusive to each specific location. Utilizing the farm-to-table concept, we loved the Carlsbad mussels which are delivered daily and then lovingly prepared into one of the most delectable dishes I've had in a long time. Simple and absolutely mouth-watering. You can read more about it here.