Valerie is Queen of Jamaican cooking
The Caribbean Queen home cooking style lunch stop on NW 5th Ave. has been on my radar screen as a good place for lunch for a long time.
Trust me when I say you will not find any more home cooked food in the GLOB than what Caribbean Queen Owner and Chef Valerie Phillips is cooking up daily in the CQ kitchen.
Valerie was born in Jamaica and graduated from culinary school in New York, and grows many of her spices in front of the café. The important Jamaican spices her cuisine requires she orders directly from her homeland.
Did I say this was home cooking personified? Where else would you see a menu listing oxtails, goat, brown stew fish, pigeon peas & rice, red beans & rice and the list goes on. A Caribbean Queen menu link is available at the bottom of this feature.
My Caribbean Queen lunch asked the question was this going to be home style adventure of stick-to-your-ribs favorite mid-day meal, or will the GLOB Master push the envelope with a plate of Curry Goat?
Kudos to the Osmond sisters. They were ready for some home cooking and selected the oxtails, image right, and curried goat, Phtot at top of this feature, entrees for their lunch. (I already asked, Joan and Janice are not related to the famous singing Osmond family.)
Lynn and I opted for the Caribbean Queen Jamaican Jerk Chicken, middle image right. I gave the curried goat serious consideration, but the GLOB Master is not much of a curry fan. The term Jamaican jerk sauce refers to a spice rub that includes cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt. The word jerk refers to both the spice rub and to the particular cooking technique.
Since I am passing out Kudos today here is a very big GLOB High Five to Valerie for cooking away in her tiny, very hot, non air-conditioned kitchen. Phew it was hot in the Caribbean Queen!
If you are planning to have lunch at the Caribbean Queen there were two small tables out side the CQ and it was a good thing we were just inside the CQ where it was amazingly hot. That way the warm lunchtime sun didn't feel quite so bad. I think in the future the Caribbean Queen will be a good Food On the Run spot with easy stop, and go, pick up right off of NW Sixth St.
Valerie, image right, served us our lunch in a very timely manner and was able to share some excellent conversation with us at our table.
My jerk chicken was excellently cooked and was falling off the bone in big jerk flavored chunks. I M O the jerk sauce could have been a little spicier, however I have found out I seem to enjoy my lunch spicier than others GLOBers.
My chicken sat on a nice bed of seasoned white rice speckled with spices and herbs. The rice was a nice compliment to the jerk sauce on the chicken and the two ingredients, 'had me smiling Mon!' The CQ fried plaintains were excellent with a lot of sweet plaintain/banana like flavors.
Janice was liking her meaty oxtails while thinking she had ordered a good plate pot roast rather than the boney ox tails.
Joan was surprised with her large order of curry goat. The goat entrée must have worked because Joan quickly started talking about our next lunch adventure, half way around the GLOB, at the Indian Cuisine restaurant on SW 34th St.
This was an especially fun lunch visit with the SweetBerries lunch stop owners. The Caribbean Queen oxtails looked very good. I'm not sure about curried goat. The jerk chicken was very good and worth a second trip to the Caribbean Queen.
The Pluses and Minuses of Caribbean Queen:
Caribbean Queen (+) indicators: Good home cooked Island food. Valerie is a friendly restaurant owner and excellent chef.
Caribbean Queen (-) indicators: Yummy Food On The Run spot, too hot in the Summer time for dining in.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Caribbean Queen. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 374-8111
- Address: 507 NW 5th Ave., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
- Web Site: Caribbean Queen
- Latitude: 29.655454
- Longitude: -82.329924
Bob Zulu Thursday, 07 April 2016 13:50 Comment Link
Big ups Phillips fam and Caribbean Queen....Congrats on your SWEET 16th year anniversary!
Bob Zulu Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:25 Comment Link
Valerie is an AWESOME cook, and Caribbean Queen is the TRUE taste of Jamaica! It's an IRIE place! Her husband Errol is a pretty good cook, too - AND he's the leader of
the best reggae band in town - IRATION. Check them out, if you ever get the chance. - BZ
anonymous Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:07 Comment Link
CORRECTION. Her name is Valerie Phillips not Beverly. Everything else is true. Best Jamaican food in Gainesville hands down :-)
+ I don't know any where else in town you can get this kind of food. The oxtails were tender and flavorful. Valerie sure can cook up some good food in that tiny (and yes, hot) kitchen of hers. It's great to have a lunch stop on 5th Avenue where there is not much offered at this point.