Once upon a time, there was an indigestible, starchy tuber that no one wanted in their mouth. So the potato sat and thought about all the wonderful foods in the world, and if he was not a potato, what food would he most like to be? Mmmmm, fried chicken. Behold, the birth of the jojo!

Nowadays, some jojos get a spice layout all their own, but the breading--the chicken fried blanket around the grease--is still essential. It insures a fluffy, mashed potato-like center, and a crisp exterior. But which jojo is the best jojo? To find out, I gathered a "healthy" selection of jojos from our area's finest hot delis and corner stores.

The results? Well, first of all I'd like to say that coming to a decision was extremely difficult, everyone tried very hard and really...you're all winners! However, QFC's jojos are my pick. Crisp, heavily salted with notes of Old Bay seasoning, they made a nice foil for the cool ranch dip (Litehouse).

In second place, Fred Meyer's tater-tot-esqe jojo came in ahead of Safeway's mealy fingers--though I am told it was an off-day for the latter. As far as the indies go? Cullen's Corner Market (Albina and Alberta) fries with a steady hand, but their inventory should be checked for freshness-- I detected a shade of freezer burn. Pizza Plus (NE 28th and Glisan) do their jojos in the old school style: long 6-inchers dredged in something akin to Shake and Bake. Wonderfully mushy interior served with real ranch; a real coup.

Foti's Deli (17th and E Burnside) offers a Greek jojo (oregano and lemon Shake and Bake). A hit with some, I find them too limp and a bit assaulting (these, you must dip in hummus). Jojos deserve the best, and true connoisseurs take the time to pick up a bottle of Hidden Valley.