We LOVE the pho noodle bowls at Rose VL restaurant in Portland. The broth is light and rich. They use no MSG, and the owner showed us a spice packet, sans MSG, imported from Japan. Meats are light and excellent. Gorgeous crisp local veggies finish it perfectly, with unusual variants such as tiny baby celery instead of basil. Wow!
OK, well I can't realllly say it's almost the best on earth. I think it is. It's too spicy for my wife, so you'll have to take my word :)
I have eaten it in many countries. The best I've ever had was in a remote, hidden, beach-side fish market near Phuket Thailand. If you know what a perfect green papaya salad should taste like, and you've seen it prepared in a traditional large wooden mortar and pestle, then you should go for it!! Here's how:
First, get a good recipe. This Christmas gift Pok Pok cookbook below, from the lovely Erickson family, is excellent. Just omit the tamarind juice and water. I substitute shredded carrot for cabbage too.
Next, you need a good mortar and pestle, either wood or stone, at least 5" in diameter.
Finally, you need to go on a scavenger hunt for all the specialized ingredients. This is the hardest part. If you live near Seattle or Portland OR, we recommend Uwagimya.
Here is my salad (with tons of spicy peppers), with marinated, roasted quail and stir-fried squash. YUM!!
Best Gourmet Burgers
The best gourmet burgers are at Dick's Kitchen. There are super-fresh, local, standard burgers. There is also the Special Burger of the day. In this case, it's the Dork Burger. Super Delicious. Even the shakes are gourmet!
Best Basic Burgers
Best basic burgers are at Boardwalk Fries, Burgers, and Shakes. These are light and healthy, with fresh-baked brioche buns.
The best Taiwanese food comes from a small strip-mall in Beaverton OR. Taiwan Eats used to be an amazing food truck and has recently moved to more permanent digs. The milk tea is heavenly. It is also the reason I can't get to sleep until daybreak on many nights. Worth it.
Alas, the best Taiwanese pineapple tea cakes are my wife's. If you visit, she can make you a batch. They are very labor intensive, and very worth it! YUM!!
Sun Kong restaurant in Malden MA
I've eaten dim sum all over the country, and all over the world. I've eaten dim sum at dozens of places in Hong Kong and its suburbs, following natives to local treasures. I'm a lucky guy. Take it from me though, you don't have to fly 16-20 hours for the good stuff.
The best dim sum in the US is, by far, Sun Kong, in Malden Massachusetts. It doesn't look like much, from the outside or inside. The dinner and lunch menus are good, but not great. However, show up before 1pm on a weekend, wait a long time for a number, and be transported to Asia. Really!
This is authentic, light, perfectly-seasoned dim sum, with the most authentic selection and flavor in America. The only way to get better dim sum is to book a flight to Hong Kong!
This is a classic, with chopped up shrimp and goodies, wrapped in a tofu skin. It's perfect!
The best gourmet hot dogs are at Hop Dog. The selection changes weekly, and yes, those are fresh-baked pretzel brioche buns! They have a great beer selection on tap, of course.
This is a super-gourmet interpretation of a Chicago style hot dog:
This is a special of the week, with a sort-of light thai salad on it. Super Yummy!
I'm an applied-math-research Ph.D. and serial startup founder. I am a recognized computer security expert, fortunate to join the ranks of many, great CTO's. I've founded and seed-funded multiple, successful, VC-backed companies. I'm still at it!