Best Mexican Imports - 2008
Don't be fooled by the bland white exterior of the Mexican Arts-Imports building at Van Buren and 24th Street. Inside, ceiling-high shelves are crammed full of Mexican imports from maracas to painted wall tiles and rustic wooden benches. And not just the kitschy souvenir stuff Midwestern gringos love to pick up at Phoenix's dime-a-dozen pottery shops — Mexican Arts has such a huge stock of ceramics (we're talking several rooms and an outdoor patio drowning in pottery) that even other local import store owners shop here. Like a real Mexican mercado, the prices aren't set in stone. On a recent visit, we scored a cool hand-painted mask marked at $20 for just five bucks. Need a marble Madonna? Check. Hand-tooled leather gun belt? Got it. Tequila? Well, maybe not, but they've got a killer tin agave-plant liquor set you can take home and serve it from.