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Phx Ranch Market

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mbw1024 Sep 18, 2009 08:17 AM

I'm trying to get a feel for what this place is like. Is it similar to a Reading Market in Philly or Chelsea Mkt in NYC. Vendor stalls that may also serve food?

We will be staying @ Westin Kierland. I see several locations but don't know distance. We also plan to do the Desert Botanical Gardens and Taelisin West. Might any location be convenient?
Even if not convenient is any location preferred? I'd love to look at some food items I might not be able to get at home, although I live in a town with a high Mexican population so some items are more available than in other areas.

Thanks!

  1. ipsedixit Sep 20, 2009 12:22 AM

    It's just a large hispanic market.

    Not a destination stop.

    Don't set yourself up for a major letdown if you go.

    17 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit
      tastyjon Sep 20, 2009 01:04 AM

      Gotta disagree here.

      There are loads of Hispanic markets in the Southwest, but nothing come close to having the vibe, the size and the audacity of Ranch. It's a beaming place that knocks the socks off our major grocery chains in terms of energy and abundance. If you want to see Latino food on display, there is no better stage.

      I'm not saying there aren't better places for Mexican tacos, fish, tortillas, etc. But their basic products, especially produce and meats, are a site to be seen. For a traveler coming here in the winter months, who normally doesn't get to to see an avocado apart from a small window, this is a good place to visit. You might not eat the dish of your life, but you'll get to enjoy a great Mexican/Southwest marketplace that beats the pants off anything you'll find state side, and within most of Mexico.

      1. re: tastyjon
        ipsedixit Sep 20, 2009 10:45 PM

        I would say the Hispanic Wal-Mart (Supermercado de Walmart) in W. Phoenix is better in all respects to PRM.

        And the prepared foods at PRM are pretty pedestrian. For similar, but better, fare go to La Tolteca down the street on Van Buren.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          hohokam Sep 21, 2009 09:11 AM

          So, would you consider the 35-mile trip between the Wal-Mart and the Kierland area is worthwhile for a visitor? Just curious, as this would seem to suggest that it is much more of a "destination" than Ranch Market.

          And to any Tollesonites and Glendalians who might be reading this... is there anything else worth visiting out that way? I drive past that area a couple of times a week, and from the freeway, all I can see are subdivisions, some farm fields, and lots of car dealerships. Wondering if there are any chowish spots near-ish to that Wal-Mart or in the general vicinity of the 101/I-10 interchange.

          1. re: hohokam
            k
            kittyfood Feb 7, 2010 05:44 AM

            We checked out the Supermercado several months ago and thought it far inferior to Ranch Market. If we lived nearby we would probably visit occasionally to pick up certain items like key limes, but unless they've added a lot since our visit it definitely doesn't put on the show that you get at Ranch Market.

          2. re: ipsedixit
            tastyjon Sep 22, 2009 09:05 PM

            Me thinks you now owe to the public a review of Supermercado after giving them props. Why!?!

            I have no problem that they are a WalMart product. It's a free market and they've generally competed on low cost, not quality. But if they are doing some quality things, let's hear it.

            Also, given our hyper competitive grocer market, I'm guessing any new entrant would seek to be better than Ranch, Lee Lees, etc. That'll be good for us consumers across all stores.

            1. re: tastyjon
              p
              Poerz Sep 23, 2009 05:27 PM

              Curious that Super Mercado might be even better than Ranch Market I went on a road trip today to see. Have started a separate thread on this site.

        2. re: ipsedixit
          p
          Poerz Sep 20, 2009 10:10 AM

          Completely disagree with ipswdixit. Tastyjon is right on. I suppose if you don't get it, you don't get it and will think Chelsea Market is just a deconstructed super market.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            johnseberg Sep 21, 2009 09:17 AM

            I can see where PRM is more greatly appreciated by local, do-it-yourselfer-type chowhounds. I find most of the offerings to be "good, not great", and the price is always low. Personally, I love it, but, have grown to appreciate it over time.

            1. re: johnseberg
              p
              palmtree38 Sep 22, 2009 05:46 PM

              Would I be able to purchase Santa Cruz Products here??? I was linked to this website and some is avail at Basha grocers..
              I love picking up spices/seasonings/rubs to bring home.

              I cant wait to try out PRM

              1. re: palmtree38
                k
                kittyfood Sep 22, 2009 07:26 PM

                I've seen some of the Santa Cruz Chile Co. products at the Food City stores, which are owned by Bashas. You could visit the factory and its store if you wanted to take a drive south of Tucson to Tumacacori. The little store smells wonderful when you walk in. Be aware that it's not open on Sundays.

                1. re: kittyfood
                  p
                  palmtree38 Sep 23, 2009 05:36 AM

                  That looks a little too far south to drive for some spice action! I will try the food city's too thanks for the info!

                  Do you use their products? the green chili paste is sold out until oct 1st so i am thinking this maybe a popular one.

                  I have a list of arizona spices as well to pick up. (arizona jalapeno./ cajun etc.) salts and rubs.

                  1. re: palmtree38
                    johnseberg Sep 24, 2009 07:40 PM

                    FYI, there is a Pezney's right across the street from Carlsbad Tavern, in the OfficeMax plaza.

                    http://www.penzeys.com

                    1. re: johnseberg
                      p
                      palmtree38 Sep 25, 2009 01:23 PM

                      Wow great site.. Do you use their spices and are they popular for the Arizona area? WAnt to pick up some Arizonian feel for my travel spice collection. Fridge has several from different holidays we have been on.

                      1. re: palmtree38
                        johnseberg Sep 25, 2009 03:42 PM

                        I don't have personal experience. I haven't heard about anything specific to AZ. I just figured you were already going to Carlsbad Tavern, and, if you were into checking out a spice store, it was right at that location. For more information, I would recommend the following google search:

                        penzeys site:chow.com

                        1. re: johnseberg
                          p
                          palmtree38 Nov 17, 2009 11:31 AM

                          everyone else in our party enjoyed Carslabad Tavern. I didnt care for my meal it was so bland I didnt even eat it. The outdoor patio was appealing.

                          1. re: palmtree38
                            johnseberg Nov 17, 2009 02:50 PM

                            Thanks for reporting back. Do you remember what you ordered at Carlsbad Tavern? I usually stick to the "Santa Fe Trail" section of the menu.

                            1. re: johnseberg
                              p
                              palmtree38 Jan 25, 2010 06:04 AM

                              It was a recommendation from the Waiter of one of their popular dishes..it was tortila wrapped of some sort with rice /beans.. I thought the restaurant was overpriced for that you got.

          2. p
            Poerz Sep 18, 2009 12:26 PM

            I'm very familiar with Chelsea Market and I don't think there could be two more different "markets" on the planet. All of the Phoenix Ranch Markets are basically identical although 16th Street and Roosevelt is my favorite. Particularly on weekends it is like an Hispanic carnival with lots of action outside as well as inside and very, very busy. The Roosevelt location also has Tradiciones, their only sit down restaurant, but I would visit the stations around the interior perimeter of the store and dine from those. 16th street also has lots of Hispanic shops, restaurants and ice cream shops which are interesting. You will definitely see things here you don't see elsewhere. Quality is very good and pricing, particularly on produce, is great. I think the most interesting thing about this chain is the owner - an Anglo - has definitely figured out what Hispanics want and need and this goes way beyond grocery products. Personally, I would not visit Phoenix with going there.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Poerz
              m
              mbw1024 Sep 18, 2009 07:08 PM

              going to try and make it there. thanks!
              we have a kitchen @ Westin so maybe I will get some stuff for a dinner in one night. Appreciate it!

              1. re: mbw1024
                p
                Poerz Sep 19, 2009 04:17 PM

                They have alot of prepared food designed for take out including family style dinners that are a great value. Lots of fresh food as well. It will be an adventure. Multiple types of salsas, fresh fish and shellfish, many different ceviches, more Mexican cheeses than anywhere I have seen in the states and the list goes on and on.

                1. re: mbw1024
                  mamamia Sep 20, 2009 12:05 AM

                  Do you happen to have a grill?
                  They have great carne asada. Just ask for it with marinade ("preparada")and the butchers will add it right to the bag.
                  Grab fresh tortillas
                  Fresh cilantro, cabbage, limes
                  Fresh ceviche
                  Visit the salsa bar for. different salsas and some prepared fruits with chile powder (yum!) and yummy rice pudding for dessert

                  And try a sonoran hot dog while you're there.

              2. mamamia Sep 18, 2009 10:20 AM

                I love PRM and I continually sing its praises :)

                It reminds me of the mercado in Juarez I used to to roam around with my grandparents. My visits always focus on the cooked food (the gorditas are stellar), with a sprinkle of produce and meat thrown in for good measure. We eat and then we shop.

                Even if the Roosevelt location wasn't the closest to you, I would recommend it. It just has a different vibe than the others.

                1. bortukan Sep 18, 2009 09:22 AM

                  Johnseberg is right-- I think a market full of independent vendors is the atmosphere they're going for, but it isn't really that. One end of the store has a row of snack-type restaurants and an eating area, and the downtown branch has another, separate restaurant outside (Tradiciones); the rest is one big grocery store. That branch is about 10-15 minutes' drive from the garden. Unfortunately I think a lot of the more interesting food items are fresh and would be hard to take home, but it might still be fun to browse.

                  Other Mexican restaurants near the botanical garden include Restaurant Mexico (5-10 minutes' drive) and Los Sombreros (5 minutes), if you are more interested in your actual meal than in browsing around.

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

                  Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina
                  2534 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

                  Restaurant Mexico
                  423 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

                  1. johnseberg Sep 18, 2009 09:10 AM

                    It's really a big grocery store, not a market with stalls. I have only been to the 16th St and Roosevelt location. It's fairly convenient from the Desert Botanical Gardens (DBG) via the 202 freeway, or your could take McDowell. There is some road construction around the DBG, so, I'm not sure what is accessible. The next closest would be Mesa. That's a little further from the DBG.

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