Maikham: 1311 North State Street

Cashew Veggie Dish with Tofu
Truly talented chefs can't help but express genuine excitement about their work, both when they talk about their food and also through the wonderful dishes they create. I am talking about the kind of people who can cook something so unique with complex and yet harmonious flavor profiles, something memorable that you will crave long after you have eaten it, and then they are also happy to share such creations with anyone and everyone--be they vegan, vegetarian, omnivorous, or allergic to certain ingredients.

When I meet someone like this, I can't tell you how inspired and happy it makes me. Food is such a powerful thing. Food brings us together and offers us a way to share experiences, conversations, celebrations, and connections. A good meal can influence how you feel about your day, your memory of a special evening with your friends and loved ones, or those many celebrations both large and small that continually enrich your life. And the creative chefs who enrich these meaningful experiences are truly gifted. I am talking about people like Mulu from Ambo Ethiopian. And Tony from the Soy House. And now add to that, Usanee from Maikham.

My husband and I were feeling particularly celebratory ourselves this past Friday evening and ended up searching for a place to have dinner that matched our mood. We wanted to try somewhere we had never been to before, and had been hearing some good things about Maikham. We wandered inside and up to the counter to ask our usual series of questions about possible vegan options, and learned that Chef Usanee Klimo would happily make a vegan version of just about anything on the menu. We asked for menu recommendations and ended up with two different dishes, a cashew veggie dish and  a green curry with avocado and veggies, both with tofu instead of meat, and served with a side of brown rice.

I want to emphasize how incredibly nice and vegan-friendly both the young man who helped us at the counter and Chef Usanee who came out from the kitchen to speak with us were from the very first moment I started asking about vegan options. I was so impressed by how welcoming, informed, and friendly they were.

And the food! Oh, the food was sooo delicious, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this meal. I can safely say the curry was one of the best (if not The Best) curry I have ever had. The sauce was made completely from scratch without any kind of pre-made base. (There is a reason Usanee is beginning to get a reputation for her curry!). Overall, the flavors were fresh, complex, and yet complimentary. The avocado melted in my mouth, and the veggies were cooked perfectly.

Green Curry with Avocado, Veggies & Tofu
The cashew dish was also quite spectacular, and the tofu in both entrees was so flavorful and delicious. Maikham uses only organic tofu, and fresh, local, organic ingredients whenever possible. Most of their veggies come from Cloud Mountain Farm, and the vegetables really did have that garden-picked flavor that makes well-cooked vegetable dishes taste so remarkable. 

If you haven't checked out Maikham yet, you really really should. You won't be disappointed, and if you are lucky you will also get the chance to talk with the chef and you will see what I am talking about with how welcoming and passionate she is. I think we in Bellingham are very lucky to now have yet another fabulous restaurant that is also incredibly vegan (and everyone!) friendly.

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