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   As my daughter’s 5th birthday rapidly approaches, my wife and I decided we needed to start planning for her birthday party. We need to top last year’s party for her and decided to go with a more traditional Mexican party setting. This means Piñatas and enough traditional food to feed a small army! We were then faced with a problem of where to buy some of the harder to find items we needed. A relative directed us to the Ranch Market located at the intersection of 67th Ave and Camelback road. She said it would have everything we would possibly need. So we paid a visit to the Ranch Market to try our luck.

   As we walked through the entrance, we were greeted by the sights and smells of one of the nicest Mexican panderias I have ever been to. They carried every variety of pan dulce that could be imagined as well as colorful birthday cakes, cup cakes, pastries and other baked goodies. A few step further revealed a large market place setting selling burritos, tacos, careen asada, as well as raspadas and other desserts. All prepared by hand and ready to be eaten in the dining area.

   Walking past the dining area we found a large , well-stocked produce section that boasted some of the freshest, hottest jalapeños I have ever eaten! Behind the produce is an area there fresh maize and tortillas are made and sold. Also and area had been assigned for the preparing and selling of processed meats and chorizos.

   They also carried many groceries that cannot be found in regular grocery stores in the U.S. the one thing I found that excited me the most was liters of apple soda, a favorite of mine that I have not seen for the better part of 15 years! The last time I saw it was during a trip toe Hermosillo where I fell in love with the popular Mexican drink. Needless to say, I bought a bottle!

   The thing that impressed me the most was their carnesedia. Many types of meat could be found, already pre-seasoned and ready to be grilled with all the fixincowhead.jpg (34466 bytes)gs included in the package. Several different kinds of tripe were also available for the preparation of menudo and other traditional dishes. One delicacy that is very difficult to come by is Tacos de Cabesa. These are tacos made from the head of a cow. To my very great surprise, I found an entire cow’s head behind the glass that was available for purchase. The skinned head seemed complete with tongue, eyes, and the brain still intact, selling for around $60.

   The undertaking of building this store was no small feat. It was easily the size of a Fry’s Marketplace and as clean and well kept as any other grocery tore in America. It is a wonderful thing that suck as place was built and remains operating in such a traditional manner offering migrant Mexicans a taste of home, as well as serving as a reminder to a fourth generation Mexican, such as myself, where I come from, and what was left behind.

   My daughters party turned out to be a great success!  Everyone had plenty to eat, and in the end, the kids broke the piñata and left a huge mess for the adults to clean up!

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