For 13 many years, Carlsbad restaurateur James Limjoco was the chef-owner of Chic Ale Residence, a beer-centric cafe enterprise that was famed for his key-recipe lineup of 12 versions of mac ‘n’ cheese with refreshing-designed béchamel sauce.
But there was a single trouble. Limjoco is lactose intolerant and does not like beer, so he could not delight in the fruits of his labor. When the lease on the San Marcos Sublime restaurant expired in 2021, Limjoco resolved to begin more than by cooking the food items that he craves: Southeast Asian street foodstuff.
“Because of my Filipino heritage, I really like to provide persons. In our tradition, the way that you make individuals sense at house is with meals,” he said. “That’s why I served convenience meals at Sublime Ale Dwelling. But as substantially as I beloved that … I’m additional of a street meals type of dude — the variety of food that has stood the check of time for hundreds of a long time.”
The result of Limjoco’s virtually 18 months of traveling, tasting, experimenting and recipe-tests eventually opened Thursday in downtown Oceanside: Mak Mak Organic and natural. The 60-seat, fast-informal restaurant specializes in khao man gai, a Thai wide variety of Hainanese chicken, a well-liked poached-hen-and-seasoned-rice dish served at road carts and community markets during Southeast Asia. “Mak Mak” is a Thai superlative which means “very very” (“aroi mak mak” signifies “very, quite delicious”).
Mak Mak serves only organic PatureBird no cost-array rooster as nicely as home-designed tofu and regionally developed organic vegetables. Diners can choose their marinated proteins — poached chicken, fried rooster or fried tofu — which are dusted with potato and corn starch, then caramelized about large heat in sauces like garlic honey soy, Gochujang sweet and spicy, ginger scallion sesame oil and house Mak Mak sauce. The entrées are served with choice of seasoned rice (garlic ginger, coconut or jasmine) and a cup of property-created hen or vegetable broth on a fragrant banana leaf.
The menu also attributes housemade chicken and vegetable gyoza (dumplings), rooster wings, lumpia (Filipino spring rolls), a vegan tofu bowl, salads and desserts. To drink there are kombuchas, tricky seltzer cocktails created with fresh tropical fruit purées, wines and beer.
Lifted in Northern California’s Daly City, Limjoco was operating as a wholesale account executive at JPMorgan Chase in 2007 when he recognized he required to transform occupations: “I felt like I was producing prosperous individuals richer and I didn’t truly feel entire. I wished to do a little something altruistic and decided the most effective way was to feed folks.”
So he cashed out his investments — the good thing is just in advance of the 2008 inventory sector crash — and opened his initial Elegant Pizza restaurant in 4S Ranch. Its specialty was the mac ‘n’ cheese recipe he’d produced when operating on the line in a New Orleans restaurant kitchen area during his college or university times. Afterwards, he relocated the small business to San Marcos Restaurant Row and renamed it Chic Ale Property.
When the pandemic shuttered sit-down dining establishments in 2020, Limjoco seen that people today began cooking at residence with far more organic, healthful and high-quality substances. He assumed Mak Mak Natural would be a improved guess for article-pandemic diners than Sublime’s heavier American consolation food (even though he claims Chic could return sometime).
For study previous yr, Limjoco put in 3-1/2 months touring in Thailand, as effectively as Taiwan and South Korea, where by he said he sampled close to 300 different types of khao guy gai, which he mentioned differs from village to village in components, preparations and sauces. His final Mak Mak menu is the final result of tests at property extra than 50 versions of just about every dish.
Through his travels in Thailand, Limjoco arrived across an attire agency whose goods he beloved, so he’s now importing Mak Mak-model loungewear, bags and backpacks for sale in the cafe. He hopes the Oceanside area is the to start with Mak Mak of numerous.
“The notion for the put is East fulfills West,” he stated. “We’re sitting down two blocks from the seashore, and when we put up the huge garage doorways you can odor the ocean. The meals and drinks we make and the apparel are all about the wholesome, energetic life-style.”
Mak Mak Organic
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday
In which: 121 N. Cleveland St., Oceanside
On line: makmakorganic.com