Sunday, November 29, 2009

Review: Fiesta @ Plano/Buckingham

This is the location where there was a Sack 'n Save before. It'd been empty for a while so I was glad to see someone leasing the space.

The Grand Opening banner was still up and there was a small festival-type setup with a bounce house, etc, in the SE corner of the lot. The PA at the festival was pumping some groovy reggaeton dance tracks.

While I was finding a parking spot the Dear Wife commented that there was a rather serious looking SWAT-style security dudester walking the lot. He had that "tacticool" look I mock most of the time, but he had good situational awareness and handled himself professionally when I spoke with him briefly on our way out later. Thumbs up.

Upon entering the store the first thing I noticed was the polished concrete floors; I love that. Low maintenance, simple, honest, and pretty in a steampunk sorta way. Tortilla station front and center; the tortillas were still warm in the package I picked up. Produce section next in line, and this is (for me) the highlight of a Mexican grocery visit. Grabbed some limes (12/$1) and some kind of pear-shaped squash I can't identify.

The meat section had good-looking meat but I didn't get any today; we weren't going straight home afterwards. I did stop at the cheese shop and bought some queso de Oxaca, which was [mis?]labeled weirdly. When I asked for it by the labeled name (in my cringeworthy Spanish) the counterlady said "Oxaca?" Si, gracias, that's the one. I also picked up some queso de puerco (ie, head cheese) which I've always been fascinated with but never tried. This particular example is highly cartilegenous, so I assume it's mainly snout and ear. Should make a decent sandwich in my brown bag rotation.

Had to look for the bakery area to snag some pan dulce. A so-so display, but I picked up a gingerbread pig cookie. There were two kind of churros; plain and some word I didn't recognize. I picked the latter and since the churros were unexpectedly full of something (dulce de leche?) I will assume the word meant "filled". Wasn't bad but I prefer the plain ones as they are crispier.

The aisle signs were in English only, which seems kinda counterproductive (and maybe rude) if your target consumers are Hispanic. Maybe the bilingual or Spanish ones will go up later. Most of the (young and Latino) checkout staff spoke English among themselves for the most part when no one was in the lane. That brings me to a tip for the timid: if you are trying out a new shop where you don't speak the language, get in the checkout line with the youngest checker. S/he will likely move fluidly between English and the language of the market. Older checkers may be more fun as you gain confidence as they will likely help you with pronunciation and vocabulary if you are trying. The younger kids will just stick to English to get you through the line faster so they can text or play grab-ass.

So how does it compare to El Rancho? Rancho is an experience, an adventure. From the giant wall of pan dulce when you walk in to the tropical-looking food stands inside it scores high on the cultural richter scale. The new Fiesta is a grocery store, neat, clean, and a little boring. It happens to have Mexican food on the shelves but otherwise it could be an Albertsons or something. I find El Rancho more satisfying but it's too far away to become my go-to.

Fiesta Mart
1332 S Plano Rd
Richardson, TX 75081 Map
(972) 994-4300


  1. That undientified flying squash would be a chayote, pronounced in the style of Wiley E. Coyote with a soft ch sound. I've seen it spelled sayote which better matches the way it sounds. The wife (she's a Filipina) buys these a couple of times a month and sautees them with onion, garlic and butter. She likes to add fish sauce to it, but I'm not really a fan of fermented fishyness. It's fairly bland and nearly flavor free eaten alone.

    Check wikipedia for the chayote article.

  2. Bert, you never fail to amaze and impress. Makes me think I didn't hang around you enough in the Army. Will drink a beer in your honor tonight.

    Keep enlightening us Texas heathens; we need all the help we can get.

  3. Now if you have a good weizen style (remember Mutlanger?) my homebrewing friend, I might even drive my ass all the way to Texas. :)

    No subscription option to comments mean I have to actually go back and look for follow-up. Phooey. Ever consider running a copy of Wordpress on a spare linux box? Lots of quality plug-ins, including a subscribe option for comments. I'm just saying...