The Bride and I were dining at Paiche, an excellent (and highly recommended) new restaurant in Marina del Rey, whose menu offers several intriguing non-alcoholic concoctions. As designated driver that evening, I recused myself from their wonderful wine list, but I wouldn’t settle for fizzy water as my sole potable, so I selected a drink they call The Incredible Hulk. [Cue the ever-litigious Disney (who now owns Marvel Entertainment), likely into its third draft of a cease-and-desist order; by the time you get to the restaurant, it may be called The Bruce (or David) Banner, or something else entirely.]
The Incredible Hulk consists of five simple ingredients: parsley, cactus, orange juice, pineapple juice, and celery. [Here’s a mnemonic for the ingredient list: CC POP.] Living as I do in the Los Angeles area, rounding up some cactus (known at the Mexican grocery store as nopales) was no big deal, and the rest of the items are available anywhere. I kinda cheated and bought pineapple juice and orange juice, rather than making them myself from fresh fruit, as I suspect the restaurant does. I revved up the old Vita-Mixer and ground up six large celery stalks, a pound of chopped nopales (do NOT buy the pickled version or the ones packed in brine for this!), and a bunch of curly parsley with the bottom inch of the stems removed.
I’ve discovered that adding a citrus juice (or any acidic juice) to cactus juice causes foam to rise more or less immediately, so don’t worry if that happens; you can skim it off or discard it. I just mixed it back in. I prefer my juice a little “greener” than the one Paiche serves, so I used less of the orange-pineapple juice blend than they do, but you can experiment to find your sweet (or not-so-sweet) spot.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
1 bunch parsley
1 pound nopales (cactus), chopped
6 large celery stalks
32 oz. orange juice
32 oz. pineapple juice
Blend greens and a little bit of the orange and pineapple juices (mixed 50-50) in a Vita-Mixer (you’ll need a pretty powerful blender or food processor to deal with the pulpiness of the celery and nopales) until smooth. [You will likely have to do this in two or three batches.] Strain if you wish (I didn’t). Pour half a glass of the greens mixture into a glass with an equal amount of orange-pineapple juice. Stir and serve over ice. Go on rampage. “Hulk smash!”