The Search for Jojos

When I first started writing for this blog, one of the foods I wanted to write about was loaded Jojos. They’re sort of a Portland reinterpretation of the Canadian classic, Poutine. Except instead of the traditional french fries, big steak fries known as Jojos are the main ingredient. Unlike Poutine, which is topped with gravy and cheese curds, there aren’t any agreed upon toppings for loaded Jojos. So it’s sort of the wild west of food as people try to scramble to find THE classic combination of toppings.

The first time I had this wonderful food was an accident. I didn’t really know what I was ordering when my buddy Steve and I hit up a new barbecue place in his neighborhood called Big’s Chicken. I was pleasantly surprised when I found what I thought was a regular order of fries covered in delicious diced grilled chicken and sauce. I get it every time since.

This was cut short lived pleasure since Big’s burnt down. Instead of rebuilding in that location Big’s relocated to Beaverton. Well away from Steve’s old place in NE Portland. Up until that point that was the only place I knew of that had those things. So for about a year or so I had to go without.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who fondly remember the loaded Jojo’s. Being a busy student I don’t always have time to cook my own dinner. I also live in a rather inaccessible location. So Grubhub has become my preferred method of getting a good meal late at night. One of these nights, browsing through various options, one stood out. A food cart named Jojo’s. Could it be?

I looked at their menu and they did in fact have the mythical loaded Jojos, in several varieties in fact. My first meal I got there was a delicious fried chicken sandwich. But their classic loaded jojos came with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. With a simple fry sauce on the side – this was delicious.

I couldn’t get them out of my head, and a few nights later I was back on the computer ordering another variety. This time instead of getting the sandwich and the fries I doubled down on the jojos and went for the pulled pork with pickled onions and all the fixings. If anything this was even better.

These were both delicious. While I was partial to the simplicity of the first order, the second did feel more like a real meal. In either case though they haven’t settled on a set recipe. For now, I think that’s a good thing because it gives me plenty of different varieties to try.


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