As for the recommendation on TP-Link adapters, I don't remember any in particular. As troubleshooters, obviously we come across only those ones that have some issues to be solved - minor or major. I'll have to do the same thing as you would do otherwise - search the forums with keywords "TP-Link" or "TP-Link wireless", and pick the threads that were easily solved with the latest kernel versions (3.8.0-19 or later).
An official list of "Supported devices" can be found here : https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Wi...CardsSupported
Direct link to supported TP-Link models : https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Ha...rdsTP-Link#USB
Although I won't trust the above too much. Things keep changing and stuff breaks. By personal experience, I think anything supported by the native rt2800usb is easy to fix, if required. But then again, there may be others that don't need any fixing at all.