Nopalitos are sliced prickly pear pads.Photo by Benjie Sanders / Arizona Daily Star

It’s a Tucson Thing: Nopalitos.

Nopalitos is dish made from the pads of prickly pear. A versatile dish, they can be served stacked like pancakes, used as ping pong paddles or flung across the dinner table like frisbees. I love to eat them with syrup, novocaine, tweezers and something that is actually edible on the side.

 Here in southern Arizona Nopalitos are often served with Porcupine Loin, Goathead Thorns or fresh Arroyo sand. Nopalitos are an excellent main course if you hope to impress your guests with your knowledge of southwestern cuisine and in particular local food that people hate. Nopalitos have the texture of that used dish sponge you threw out last week and a taste that is akin to nothing I've tasted before. Sure to alienate your guests, Nopalitos are the Okra of the Old Pubelo. Enjoy!