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PHX Ranch Market essentials

crsin Jul 27, 2009 02:11 PM

I'm planning on making a trek down to Phoenix Ranch Market (III) when I have some time in the next couple of days. I know what MY favorite items are from what I've tried, but am hoping to benefit from everyone else's experience. So, what are your favorite standouts and "must-buy" items from Ranch Market? This includes the food court (best food, meat, aguas frescas, etc.), and the market itself for take-home goods.

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  1. Rubee RE: crsin Jul 27, 2009 02:52 PM

    Haven't eaten at the Ranch Market yet, but some items we buy to take home: Great bargains with produce (Wednesdays are additional one-day specials - this week things like limes 4 lbs/99, cherries .89/lb, canteloupe 6 lbs/.99), dried chiles, jamaica, tortillas, fresh tortilla chips, dried beans, fresh masa, cheese/queso (panela, asadero, cotija, Oaxacan string cheese), crema, mole paste (in plastic tubs), fresh lard, Tapatio hot sauce, fresh salsa (especially the salsa de molcajete roja), and in the meat department, always stock up on ranchera/flap steaks - great for stir-fries and carne asada - and pork shoulders to make carnitas when they're on sale (this week .78/lb). Thursdays are additional sales in the meat department where they run one-day specials. If they're grilling outside, we always get the pollo asado special - two whole grilled chickens, a dozen warm corn tortillas, and containers of salsa verde and salsa roja for $10.00.

    1. s
      Sherri RE: crsin Jul 27, 2009 03:02 PM

      I buy crema con sal in bulk. Tortillas, chorizo, queso fresco and the smallest chickens that I can find anywhere in the valley -- perfect for Zuni roasted chicken. I always buy beef cheeks, pork shoulder and flap meat when I'm there and hit the produce section pretty hard. All this shopping is made even better with a papaya-pineapple agua fresca in hand as well as a take-out container of rajas con crema from the food court.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Sherri
        mesafoodie RE: Sherri Jan 27, 2010 06:45 AM

        Zuni roasted chicken sounds really interesting - do you have a recipe that you'd be willing to share? thanks

        1. re: mesafoodie
          hohokam RE: mesafoodie Jan 27, 2010 08:01 AM

          link to the recipe:


          1. re: hohokam
            Sherri RE: hohokam Jan 27, 2010 09:41 AM

            Thanks for linking this recipe, hohokam. I wasn't paying close attention to the recent posts and missed mesafoodie's question.

            1. re: hohokam
              mesafoodie RE: hohokam Jan 27, 2010 12:12 PM

              Thanks! Looks like a great recipe to try.

              1. re: mesafoodie
                Rubee RE: mesafoodie Jan 27, 2010 12:21 PM

                The Zuni Cafe Cookbook (one of my favorites) was a past Cookbook of the Month, so lots of Chowhound reports, pictures, and helpful tips on the fantastic roast chicken with bread salad here:


        2. themis RE: crsin Jul 27, 2009 03:12 PM

          Yup, just grilled up 4.5 pounds of those flap steaks this weekend. My carne marinade needs some work.

          I am crazy about their salsa verde and salsa roja -- used to prefer the molcajete, but either they have changed the recipe or I've just tired of it. I like to get a tub of those dolce crystallized fruit things; they keep forever and make interesting garnishes or snacks. I never fail to get an assortment of New Mexico chile powders from the spice aisle, for my salsa blend, and a bunch of tropical flavored yogurts, and an assortment of cans of fruit nectars to satisfy my bellini obsession. Oh, and the little shaker-bottles of chile-salt for sprinkling on sliced fruit, if I'm out.

          Last time I went, I could not find those fist-sized pink and white marshmallows that so thrill my nieces when they visit. Are those a seasonal item? Do they have a traditional use, beyond delighting the young at heart and making massive luscious S'Mores?

          2 Replies
          1. re: themis
            drewb123 RE: themis Jul 28, 2009 03:49 PM

            themis i have seen those marshamallows at food city, and bashas

            1. re: themis
              Rubee RE: themis Jul 28, 2009 03:55 PM

              Now that you mention it, we didn't like the salsa de molcajete roja as much last time - more tomato, and not as spicy.

            2. ipsedixit RE: crsin Jul 27, 2009 11:09 PM


              Fresh chorizo

              Flap meat


              1. p
                Poerz RE: crsin Jul 28, 2009 07:44 AM

                Foodwise, I am fond of the tortas and my favorites are the Cubano and the Mexicano. Both sandwiches are very large. As others have posted, there are very good deals on fresh produce and I usually pick up some nopalitos which are great on salads. Their selection of Mexican cheese is outstanding and my favorite agua fresca is the tamarindo.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Poerz
                  mesafoodie RE: Poerz Feb 10, 2010 09:23 AM

                  Are the nopalitos fresh or canned? if fresh, do you need to cook them before putting on a salad? thanks

                  1. re: mesafoodie
                    Poerz RE: mesafoodie Feb 11, 2010 07:27 AM

                    Canned? No way. We put them only salads raw but you can blanch them.

                    1. re: Poerz
                      mesafoodie RE: Poerz Feb 11, 2010 08:56 AM

                      Thanks. Do you peel them or not before using raw?

                2. c
                  crsin RE: crsin Jul 28, 2009 05:08 PM

                  Good tips so far, keep 'em coming. Love their salsa roja, hope the quality hasn't changed in the last month or so, Rubee. Maybe it was just an issue with that particular batch?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: crsin
                    Rubee RE: crsin Jul 28, 2009 05:19 PM

                    That's what I'm hoping! It was a couple of months ago, so will have to make another Ranch Market run soon.

                  2. yamalam RE: crsin Jul 28, 2009 08:05 PM

                    What everyone else said, and a Sonoran hot dog. And empanadas, especially the platano and pineapple ones.

                    One of the girls at work always brings cakes from there that are delicious. The tres leches is pretty good, and there was one with strawberries inside...

                    Oh, and my new hostess gift is one of those handheld press citrus juicers. I think they are like $5 there, which is $15 less than anywhere else. One of those, a little basket of limes, and a bottle of tequila will make you a very popular guest.

                    Just like Lee Lee's, I try to buy one new thing every time I go and then google it when I get home.

                    1. k
                      kittyfood RE: crsin Jul 29, 2009 06:49 AM

                      When it's available at the food court, there is an outstanding chicken in a cream sauce with green chiles. This used to be available on Fridays at the 16th St. location, but I haven't been there for awhile. Try any of the delicious agua frescas -- usually including guava, mango, pina, watermelon, etc., and an excellent horchata.

                      1. d
                        drobe30 RE: crsin Jul 29, 2009 04:25 PM

                        My favorites are the coconut and tamarind aguas frescas. The al pastor is pretty good at the snackbar. Also, I like to pick up some of those mexican chocolate disks to make hot chocolate, mexican custard ice cream, etc.

                        1. Sid Post RE: crsin Jul 31, 2009 05:14 AM

                          Do they have a website? My searches keep taking me to a Network Solutions page but, I can see some store pictures in various personal web pages.


                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Sid Post
                            johnseberg RE: Sid Post Jul 31, 2009 05:43 AM


                            1. re: johnseberg
                              crsin RE: johnseberg Jul 31, 2009 08:49 AM

                              That link is not working for me for some reason.

                              This should work:


                              1. re: crsin
                                Sid Post RE: crsin Jul 31, 2009 06:26 PM

                                Thanks! My ISP must have been having some problems earlier today because that was the link I was trying to use.

                                1. re: Sid Post
                                  crsin RE: Sid Post Jul 31, 2009 06:32 PM

                                  Yeah, the link above mine is working now. Not sure what was going on this morning. Oh well...no problem.

                          2. b
                            biga290 RE: crsin Feb 10, 2010 02:49 PM

                            the made to order fried shrimp tacos in the seafood department are unbelievable!!!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: biga290
                              Rubee RE: biga290 Feb 10, 2010 03:43 PM

                              I'll have to remember that for next time. A current favorite is the filling gordita with carnitas. I can never finish one, but it's SO good.

                              Phoenix Ranch Market III
                              1602 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

                              Phoenix Ranch Market
                              5833 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ

                              Phoenix Ranch Market
                              3223 W Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ

                              Phoenix Ranch Market
                              6730 W Camelback Rd, Glendale, AZ

                              1. re: Rubee
                                themis RE: Rubee Feb 10, 2010 06:42 PM

                                Just updating that our most recent purchases of the salsa de mocajete roja were sublime -- lots of roasted chile, perfect heat and bright flavor. Maybe it's a seasonal variation, and is improved after the fall chile crop?

                                Also brought home a barras de pastel (bar-shaped cake, is my guess at translation?) with topped with glazed peaches and strawberries, filled with whipped cream and chopped fruit frosting. The cake was a velvety, moist vanilla sponge and the frosting light and not sweet or greasy. A bargain for the price. I had already been addicted to their conchas (sweet bread pastries) but this shows that the bakery deftly handles the confections, as well.

                                1. re: themis
                                  Rubee RE: themis Feb 10, 2010 07:06 PM

                                  I agree! Should have added that the last couple of batches of that salsa were spot-on, and SPICY to boot.

                                  The cake sounds great. We've only bought the conchas, some other pan dulce, and the bolillos. I've been wanting to try a cake, maybe that one or the tres leches...

                                  Phoenix Ranch Market
                                  1118 E Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ

                                  Phoenix Ranch Market II
                                  5802 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85035

                            2. twodogs RE: crsin Feb 10, 2010 08:43 PM

                              I always pick up fresh masa para tortillas,it's the best I have ever found anywhere,for making your own tortillas maiz.
                              I can't pass up their horchata.
                              And I don't know how I got started on their fried chicken when there are so many things to choose from in the food court but it is really good,It's crispy and not all coating like so many places.
                              The tortas are great and so are the street tacos.Actually I can't remember anything that I didn't like.

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