Food trucks and bars: Tatoheads at Dick's Den
The Truck: Tatoheads
Hours: 11 p.m.-close Tuesdays (coincides with Bluegrass Tuesdays)
After returning from a "Desert Calm"-era Saudi Arabia deployment, Air Force veteran Daniel McCarthy figured he'd resume his existence as a restaurant lifer back in sweet home Chicago. Fortunately for Columbus spud-heads, a "cherchez la femme" entanglement brought him to Central Ohio and his current own-boss gig. Reverently "paying homage to the potato," his new biz is built on topping mountainous piles of fried tubers with a wild array - and I mean wild - of add-ons. Tatoheads's irresistible, booze-soaking sloppy creations are strongly recommended as preventative medicine against next-day hangovers. My favorites ($7-$8) are: yellow curry chicken (plump meat, addictive gravy) over sweet potato fries; salty chorizo and cheese on tots; and Chi-town-inspired Italian Beef. Protip: Baked potatoes are coming soon.
The Bar: Dick's Den
2417 N. High St., Campus
If Dick's Den didn't exist, Jim Jarmusch would have to invent it. Or the Coen brothers. Or maybe the Brothers Quay. Anyway, this not-for-amateurs, amazingly cheap-drink slinging (!) ultra-classic watering hole is wall-to-wall wood - and characters. It also features a poignant and funny "Dead Wall," which photographically immortalizes former regulars who have moved on to that wobbly bar stool in the sky. Offering the best long-established and up-and-coming jazz scene around, this wonderfully crusty "Why Not?" old joint still manages to put the "in" in "vintage." On Tuesday nights, its blue notes bend into younger-blooded bluegrass twangs as Dick's hosts the hottest, most packed-to-the-rafters, urban-hillbilly hoedown in town. Protip: Here you will find giving-'em-away chalkboard beer and shot specials.