Phoenix Ranch Market

Saturday, February 24th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Travel

A few weeks before our trip, SC pointed me to a timely travel piece the New York Times did on Scottsdale, in which was featured local shopping mecca, Phoenix Ranch Market. Described as a “a 53,000-square-foot emporium of groceries featuring a food court full of Mexican goodies,” the superstores are part of a chain of the California-based supermercado empire of Pro and Sons.

On the way to PHX, I stopped in at the South Phoenix branch, the first of the half-dozen Valley-area Latino markets to open. As described, it was a Disneyland for Mexican-food junkies: complete sensory overload from the moment I pulled into the parking lot. Loud music blared from the speakers indoors and out, delicious cooking and baking smells, and bright, multi-colored displays of a dizzying variety of goods I’d heretofore only ever encountered in limited doses.

Phoenix Ranch Market

PRM Tortilleria

The carnicería (butcher shop) comprised the entire length of one side, and was loaded with almost every part of cow and pig imaginable: everything from the standard prepackaged steaks and loins, to less common stacks of long, lolling tongues and one whole, skinless beef head.

PRM Carniceria

At the opposite end of the market was the produce area, impressive in its sheer abundance. Overflowing piles of limes, squash, tomatillos and the like… barrels of sugarcane, yuca root, jicama, bundles of cinnamon sticks and every variety of dried chile pepper I could think of.

PRM Chiles

In between, there were aisles upon aisles of specialty food items (where I picked up some treats), a cheese shop, a pescadería (seafood shop) and a hulking steel tortilla-making machine churning out neat rounds along a swiftly-moving conveyer belt.

PRM Tortillas

I easily could have spent an hour or more here, exploring the possibilities, but time was of the essence, so I made my way to La Cocina (“the kitchen”) — really more of a cafeteria-style dining area with grill and steam table offerings, sopas (soups), tacos, burritos, tortas…

PRM Tortas

PRM Carne Asada

It all smelled divine. After some dithering (and valiant attempts at speaking Spanish), I finally decided upon a pair of hefty meat, queso fresco, chile and avocado-loaded tortas for me and J.  They just seemed the most manageably portable option.  I started into mine at one of the picnic-style tables, in full view of the straw-roofed agua fresca  stand, where cheery women were ladling out juice libations from multi-hued jugs. Had I not been already stuffed like a piñata from just my half-sandwich, I wouldn’t have made it past the adjacent panadería (bakery) with its mouth-watering displays of tres leches cakes, churros, and an endless supply of sweetbreads.

PRM Cocina

There's 1 comment so far ... Phoenix Ranch Market

March 13, 2007

I almost had a heart attack reading that.

Go for it ...