Corn Fritters

The first time I tried the Delta Cafe's corn fritters was back when they first opened, around 20 years ago. I was pretty broke and hungry, but I had a few bucks I'd just earned pulling weeds at a friend's mom's house. When the fritters arrived—crispy exterior protecting the gossamer, corn-flecked pillows of savory doughnut within—I dunked them eagerly into the tiny bowl of creamy, green chili-spiked, black-eyed pea and jack cheese dip and bit in. My soft palate was instantly transformed into scar tissue by the napalm-hot fritter, but I knew, I just knew, that I would come back for more. HEATHER ARNDT ANDERSON

Delta Café, 4607 SE Woodstock, $7


Perhaps known primarily for its lengthy, ever-rotating menu of specials, Navarre's minimalist static menu includes a few basic must-haves like giant piles of bread and French butter that'll make you weak in the knees. Another, and perhaps less-obvious dish that has become a brunch-hour (or dinner, or glass of wine o'clock) favorite in my book are the mushrooms. No matter the size of your party, opt for the "large" portion over the small, since these humble buttons cooked simply in more butter than you probably need to know about tend to disappear off the table at an alarming rate. MARJORIE SKINNER

Navarre, 10 NE 28th, $4 for small, $10 for the large (order the large)

Fried Kimchee

Does it still count as a vegetable if it's breaded, deep-fried, and, um... fermented? Hell YES it does, which is why the deep-fried kimchee at Biwa has made this list: because vegetables don't have to make you feel good about yourself! That's not their job, that's YOUR job, and apparently you're not very good at it. The rest of us are tits-deep in fried kimchee, WHICH IS DELICIOUS! ALISON HALLETT

Biwa, 215 SE 9th, $7

Bacon-Wrapped Tomato

Actually, any of the vegetable skewers from underrated SE Division izakaya Yataimura Maru will please the vegetarians at your table. The sticky-umami shiodare sauce that glazes the niblets is made in-house, without scallop extracts. So order one of everything! The eryngii mushrooms and shishito peppers will not disappoint, nor will the seasonal asparagus. Order a kabocha karaage (fried pumpkin) and yakionigiri (grilled rice ball) and you're all set. Similar offerings are available at their flagship downtown location, Shigezo. HAA

Yataimura Maru, 3810 SE Division, $2-4 a skewer

Brussels Sprouts

Who woulda thunk it, but Brussels sprouts are my go-to comfort food. I would've spit in your face if you told me that at 10 years old, as I was desperately trying to hide the mushy, abused vegetable my grandmother had been cooking all day long. It was at the Midwestern-savvy Savoy Tavern, years and years ago when I first moved to Portland, that I learned of the unexpected deliciousness of those perfect little mutant heads of greenery. What had been acrid and soggy and full of devil taste all through my childhood was now sprinkled through with house-made bacon, buttery goodness, and just enough crunch to make it a far different beast than sprouts of yore. There are probably fancier versions of the veggie in this town... but the Savoy Tavern's will always hold sway over my side-dish yearnings. COURTNEY FERGUSON

Savoy Tavern, 2500 SE Clinton, $4

Ants on a Log

Celery is terrible. It always has been. It always will be. But nature's worst-tasting food is super-duper healthy, or so they say, which I guess is why we're still supposed to eat the damn stuff. Thank god for the Old Gold, who had the genius idea of turning celery into that most delicious of after-school snacks: ants on a log, done pub style. Turns out the way to make raw celery appetizing is to smear delicious peanut butter up and down the shaft, then sprinkle some tasty raisins on top. You can barely tell that it's celery! And since you're going to be spending the rest of the evening getting obliterated drinking the Old Gold's absurdly huge selection of whisk(e)ys, you might as well shove something healthy inside you while the night is still young. NED LANNAMANN

The Old Gold, 2105 N Killingsworth, $2

Beans and Beans

Nothing will take the place of our beloved Fujin; no dish will usurp their crispy fried eggplant. Let us all pour out a little Tsingtao for our fallen homey. But if one should be wandering mournfully along SE Hawthorne with an emptiness in one's soul that can only be filled with a Szechuan-style dry-sautéed string bean, one can certainly do much worse than Lucky Strike. (Technically, one can do neither better nor worse, as there are no other Chinese restaurants on Hawthorne anymore.) HAA

Lucky Strike, 3862 SE Hawthorne, $8


Okra ranks right up there on the master list of "most-despised vegetables"—but I swear to god, put aside your prejudices and try it fried. A miraculous world of flavor will open before your very eyes! You can occasionally find fried okra in barbecue shacks across the city, but for Portland's best, try the version at Bollywood Theater. Typically served as medallions in the Southern United States, Bollywood serves their okra julienned, gingerly frying it with lime, chili, and raita (the Indian yogurt-based condiment). Is it as good as okra served away down south in Dixie? BETTER. It's like the most delicious popcorn you've ever tasted, and while this okra is listed as a "side" on Bollywood's menu, I'd happily eat five pounds of it in one sitting. Happily! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Bollywood Theater, 3010 SE Division, 2039 NE Alberta, $6.50