Best Mexican Market 2011 | Pro's Ranch Market | La Vida | Phoenix
Timur Guseynov
Pro's Ranch Market is the supermercado to end all supermercados. Step one upon entering Pro's Ranch? Avoid the "don't go shopping hungry" dilemma by hitting up the sprawling eatery with made-to-order Mexican combo platters packed with tamales, tacos, and mounds of carne. Also make sure to stop by the thirst-quenching aguas frescas stand to fortify yourself for your shopping trip. Watch tortillas fly fresh off the presses and into bags bound for your kitchen. Hit up the pescadería and carnicería to ogle the fish and meat displays, which include a pig's head made out of chorizo, and a real cow's skull for making cabeza. Then wrap up the trip with a couple of dulces from the panadería, packed with cookies, sweet rolls, and cakes.
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of our favorite autumn festivals at the Desert Botanical Garden. The peaceful desert ecosystem provides an ideal backdrop for this Mexican celebration of ancestors and departed loved ones. Day of the Dead festivities are part of the ticket price, so make sure you check out the colorful ofrendas (shrines and offerings to commemorate departed loved ones) and the mercado packed with Mexican folk art, sugar skulls, and plenty of food. Or schedule your trip to coincide with La Procesión, which pays homage to the tradition of a community marching toward ancestors' burial sites. And if you're willing to support the garden a bit more (and experience Dia de los Muertos in style), buy a ticket to the "Cuisine and Culture of Dia de los Muertos," catered by the talented Barrio Café chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza.

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