February 2, 2012 | 11:00am
Lately, we've been a little obsessed with this whole state food question. We've asked readers (who've already narrowed it down) to tell us which they'd choose: Sonoran hot dogs or prickly pear fruit.
We're not going to lie, we are pulling for the prickly pear. By way of convincing you, we now present eight ways that you can consume what might seem a hard-to-eat fruit.
7. Cahill's Prickly Pear condiments - It would be wrong to start a post about prickly pear fruit off with any company other than Cahill, whose employees for decades have foraged their own and turn them into wonderful, sweet (jellies, jams and marmalades) and savory (BBQ sauce and mustard) condiments. You can find them at farmers markets in the Valley and in online stores from amazon.com on down.
6. Ciao Bella's Prickly Pear Sorbet - Ice cream just seems cold more than refreshing when compared to a delightful sorbet. Ciao Bella makes a prickly pear flavor that you might find at your local Target, Whole Foods, Safeway or Sprouts.
5. Wayne Scalaro's Prickly Pear Margarita - The bartender at Rokerij offers up a recipe for this margarita inspired by the desert that uses a sweet prickly pear nectar.
4. Arizona High Spirits' Prickly Pear Vodka - This company makes a prickly pear vodka up in Flagstaff in the same facility as their Mogollon Brewery. The vodka, which is pink in color, lends its hand to a drink topped with agave syrup at the Westin Kierland Resort in Phoenix they call the "Native Arizonan."
3. Flancer's Prickly Pear Chicken Sandwich - This restaurant in Gilbert serves a sandwich with chicken marinated in prickly pear fruit. It's most likely the only time you want to see your chicken served pink.
2. Cheri's Prickly Pear Syrup - Move over, maple. We gladly welcome prickly pear on the breakfast table.
1. Arizona Cactus Ranch's Hangover Terminator - Many generations, as well as researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans, have hinted at the prickly pear fruit's medicinal properties that reportedly help cure hangovers and headaches. Take one teaspoon before drinking and, well, no guarantees.