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MCCULLOUGH: My version of the 2012 top-10

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

This is a time of year when people like to wrap things up, to summarize things with lists. It's also a time when people like to eat good food.

I like to eat good food pretty much all the time, and seeing as how I have lived and/or worked in Gwinnett for 23 years, I've done a lot of that eating here. The other day while I was having a particularly good dinner I started wondering about which meals are the absolute best in the county. That's probably a debate that can rage forever, but as for me, here's an end-of-the-year list (and pretty much anytime list) of the best fare in this fair county:

10) Spiced Right Barbecue. I eat this mostly when I go to my parents' house in Stone Mountain. A lot of people know how to cook barbecue, but getting the sauce right is an art form. Spiced Right is aptly named.

Spiced Right Smokehouse BBQ

5364 Lawrenceville Highway

Lilburn, GA 30075

9) Kasey's Home Cooking chicken wings. These are not Buffalo wings. They're simple, plain, fried chicken wings on the buffet at Kasey's, and they're absolutely delicious. If they're not on the bar when you go, just ask the lady at the register and they'll usually whip up a batch.

Kasey's Home Cooking

520 West Pike St.

Lawrenceville, GA 30046

8) Chicken fingers at Eastside Hospital. Speaking of fried chicken, I hope you don't have a reason to go to the hospital anytime soon, but should you happen to find yourself at Eastside Medical Center at lunch time, try the chicken fingers. Most restaurants' fingers are either chewy, rubbery insults or dried-out shoe leather and no amount of sweet tea in the world will help you choke them down. Whoever cooks the fingers at Eastside knows what they're doing. Get them with honey mustard and mashed potatoes and broccoli on the side.

Eastside Medical Center

1700 Medical Way

Snellville, GA 30078

7) Gyro at Colossus Pizza. I only get this once in a blue moon, but this Mountain Park meshing of Greek and Italian has been a stalwart at Five Forks for years. Best Tzatziki sauce in the world, or at least outside of Greece, I'm assuming.

Colossus Pizza

5385 Five Forks Trickum Road

Stone Mountain, GA 30087

6) Tooey's Buffalo Wings. Tooey's in Lawrenceville used to be a Taco Mac. It basically still is with a different name and signage, but by whatever handle it goes, the Buffalo wings there are outstanding. They're usually swimming in sauce, cooked just right and you have a choice of a couple of hundred beers to wash them down. You might even see my name on a placard over the bar for having sampled most of them, but that was in my younger days. Also, this place is more bar than restaurant after about 5 p.m., so leave the kids at home.

Tooey's

2003 Riverside Parkway

Lawrenceville, GA 30043

5) Kung Pao Chicken at Golden Palace II. I have somewhere between five and 50 novels in all sorts of states of incompletion hanging out on various disks, flash drives and computers at my house. One of them begins with a hitman sitting in a Chinese restaurant eating the best Kung Pao Chicken in the world. This is the Kung Pao I was thinking of when I wrote that. Given my track record with finishing novels (0-fer) it'll be awhile before you read that story. Try the Kung Pao while you wait.

Golden Palace II

1475 Buford Drive

Lawrenceville, GA 30043

4) Ippolito's Manicotti. Every time I go to Ippolito's I look at the menu for 10 minutes thinking I'm going to get something else, and every time I end up ordering this because it's that good. Get it with a side of meatballs.

Ippolito's

350 Town Center Ave.

Suwanee, GA 30024

3) Spaghetti Carbonara at Biba's. I just recently discovered this treasure. If you don't make some sort of noise or exclamation when you take your first bite of this melding of pasta and bacon, check to make sure your tongue still works. A near religious experience.

Biba's Italian Restaurant4850 Sugarloaf Parkway

Lawrenceville, GA 30044

2) Chipotle Enchiladas at Los Hermanos. An actual religious experience. This will be on the menu in heaven, so you don't necessarily have to put it on your bucket list, but you should. You could eat the sauce on anything -- enchiladas, ice cream, an old tire -- anything. Every time I eat these enchiladas I wonder, "How in the world can something taste this good?"

Taqueria Los Hermanos

4955 Sugarloaf Parkway

Lawrenceville, GA 30044

1) Chocolate Chip Oreo Cheesecake at Ippolito's. I don't know if it's better than sex, but it's so good that given a choice between the two, you'd at least have a debate with yourself. I think it's actually made by an off-site bakery, but it's far and away the best thing on the Ippolito's dessert menu, or any menu for that matter. One of the greatest things my wife ever did was order a whole one once for my birthday, which is one reason why I asked her to marry me. And where did I ask? At Ippolito's.

After having the cheesecake, of course.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.