Favorite Thai food: Thai Chili Gardens in Orem, Utah
This place is exactly how we like our restaurants. It is a locally owned/mom&pop type restaurant with a small Asian market next door. This is where Amber fell in love with Thai food so there is some sentimentality to it for us. We went there so often that they soon recognized us and knew what we wanted and how we liked it.
To start any meal at Thai Chili Gardens, you need to have their Sum-Tum (green papaya salad) with sticky rice. This is the only place I have been to that serves their Sum-Tum with sticky rice which goes to show how authentic they are in this current wave of Thai food enthusiasm. The perfect complement to the Sum-Tum is the well known staple Pad Thai (rice noodles and peanut sauce). TCG make their Pad Thai as well as anyone else, but I prefer the Massaman curry. Sooo good, the Massaman Curry consists of massaman curry paste, potatoes, choice of meat, onions, carrots, and peanuts delivered in a bowl for you to dip into and drench your rice with.
Caution with TCG. They make things a little bit hotter than most places. They do let you choose how hot you would like your entree, but might scoff a bit if ask for a level 1 or 0. I go with a 2 or 3 on my Sum-Tum and Massaman Curry. I get a little sweat going, but can still enjoy the food. We asked our waitress (a Laos native) how hot she eats her food and she casually said she eats at a level 10. When we asked how she could tolerate that, she matter-of-factualy stated she was at level 5 in the womb.
So again, there you go. Best Thai food is found in Orem, Utah of all places at Thai Chili Gardens.
Runners-Up: Thai House in Mesa, AZ and The Green Papaya in Cincinnati, OH