1. If you ever happen to wander into an Arby’s, the spicy three-pepper sauce is totally addictive.
2. You can get a killer beef frankfurter at Jim’s Ole Time hotdogs just outside a can’t-mention-the-name major home improvement store in Cary (lock in your GPS to 2000 Walnut Street). Be sure to tell Jim I sent you!
3. The Federal, a bona fide college bar in Durham, features upscale cuisine and desserts as good as you’ll find at any fine-dining establishment. Check it out sometime at 914 West Main Street. Sorry, but the Federal doesn’t have a website.
4. Lotus Leaf Café (www.lotusleafcafe.com) in Cary has the best stir-fried tofu duck you’ll ever taste.
5. The incredible Trippin’ Chicken sandwich at Morrisville’s Peppers Market & Sandwich Shop will change your life (www.peppersmrkt.com).
6. Tangerine Café’s honey walnut shrimp (or chicken) is so amazing it should be illegal (www.tangerinecafecary.com). Order it with noodles instead of rice.
7. At Sushi-Thai Cary, the Mary Roll with chopped tuna and spicy mayo sauce makes all other concoctions pale by comparison (www.sushithaicary.com).
8. You don’t have to drive to Florida to find the world’s best key lime pie. Just visit Cary’s Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits (www.ruckuspizza.com). Trust me on this one.
9. Salem Street Pub in downtown Apex boasts the best black & blue burger in Wake County.
10. The best $12 salad I’ve tasted this year: LongHorn Steakhouse’s 7-pepper sirloin.