Best Mexican Market - 2008
Phoenix Ranch Market
Truth be told, we'd like to give Phoenix Ranch Market a whole handful of Best Ofs. What's not to love about this cheerful, sprawling emporium of Mexican food? The in-house panadería greets you right inside the front door, with everything from fruit-filled empanadas to Hello Kitty tres leches birthday cakes. The aguas frescas counter hawks a nice variety of ice-cold drinks, including horchata, jamaica, and pineapple punch, and just beyond that is a bustling food court offering hot à la carte items. Phoenix Ranch Market's busy tortillería is mesmerizing — and mouthwatering — to see, while the pescadería and carnicería feature jaw-dropping displays of glistening seafood and freshly butchered meats. (Note to the squeamish: Brace yourself for the inevitable cow's skull peering out from a refrigerated case, somewhere near the steaks and sausages.) And that's not all — there's an ice cream stand and a coffee counter, too. Somewhere in the middle of all this you'll find regular aisles of Mexican and American staples, a reminder that this is still some folks' neighborhood grocery store. For the rest of us, though, it's one of the Valley's most exciting food destinations.