If you live in, or ever visit Phoenix, here is a must-see place to visit.
Esther’s Jamaican Food
5025 W. Olive Ave., Glendale, AZ
623-934-4444HOURS: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
We found a little slice of the islands right in our very own hood: Esther’s Jamaican Food. Located in the middle of a vacant strip mall on Olive Avenue, we always thought we missed the chance to visit because there is a huge FOR LEASE sign on the window. One day, I pulled over to see if the sign was for Esther’s place or for the spot next door. Much to my pleasant surprise, it was the latter!
Patrick and I stopped in for lunch and all I can say – life changing. A long time ago, I worked at two different Caribbean restaurants run by Jamaican and Trinidad chefs and I’ve never been able to find that style of cooking. And I’ve tried a lot. I’m happy to report that Esther’s hit it. It’s small, not fancy, but has a lot of spirit. And you know it’s authentic island food when island peeps come in and order.
Here’s the menu on the wall, but they also have paper menus to take out. I ordered Jerk Chicken and Patrick ordered the curried goat plate. Esther is the only person working in the place! She took our order and then ran back in the kitchen to make our food.
We waited about 15-minutes, and our dishes arrived hot and fresh in take-out containers. Everything is served to go, but they have a few tables set up if you want to stay and eat and watch a little of TV that hangs from the ceiling. I loved the wall of Jamaican groceries, and also the drink fridge that was filled with a variety of Caribbean sodas. I didn’t even really notice the ice cream bars until later, I’ll tell you why in a bit.
Here is my Jerk Chicken plate, it came with friend plantains, rice and beans and potato salad. The rice was spicy, but not enough to make you stop eating. I nibbled on the potato salad to cool down my tongue every few bites.
My chicken was so moist, it fell off the bone. It’s sweet, a tad tangy with a slow, island burn. By the end of my second piece, I reached in the ice cream display and ripped open a butter pecan bar and started licking. Esther winked at me from the cash register, folded her arms, and chuckled. A look that showed I was not the first to do this.
Patrick got curried goat with cabbage, rice and beans, and gobbled it down.
If you’re to into soda and want something more exciting than water, Esther’s offers sorrel and ginger drinks as well.