I've discovered a lot of great things to eat this year; at least 45 or so if you count a column about every week for a year.
The following aren't in any particular order, but these are my top five Best Bets for 2012. (I know they're my top five because I've gone back for more of just about every one of these culinary delights since I wrote the original column.)
Pimento cheese with whole wheat crackers at The Grove Grill, 4550 Poplar: I could eat this sweet/peppery cheese every day. Almost.
Mummy roll at Red Koi, 5847 Poplar: The roll is made of shrimp tempura, spicy crawfish and avocado, which are wrapped with strips or "strings" of potato. The whole thing is deep fried, cut into about 10 pieces and topped with eel sauce, spicy mayonnaise sauce, special Red Koi sauce, scallions, and two or three inches of the leftover fried potato strings. Enough said.
Maple bacon doughnuts at Gibson's Donuts, 760 Mt. Moriah Road: "It's something you gotta try," said Tripp Mattis, who works at Gibson's. "It's just interesting." I sometimes get these doughnuts topped with bacon bits for dinner late at night.
Grilled chicken on a stick at The Grille, 3035 Lamar: Eating this smokey-tasting chicken with or without the exceptional barbecue sauce that comes with it is like being at a backyard cookout.
Duck gumbo at Clancy's Café, 4078 Miss. 178 W. in Red Banks, Miss.: This gumbo is rich with just the right amount of spice and good to the last drop. I know because I've tipped the bowl up so nothing was left