My husband and I recently entertained our friends, Jimmy and Stacy, who visited here from Richmond, VA. As a Columbus native, I wanted to be sure they left town knowing Columbus is a cool place. Since they were staying at the DoubleTree downtown, I chose the Short North and went about figuring what might fit their style.

Short North Arts District

Short North Arts District Photo by Randall Lee Schieber

I landed on The Burgundy Room - good wine selection , interesting tapas and plenty of nearby watering holes to pop into when we wanted a change of scenery. My husband and I got there early and scored a parking spot in the lot right across the street (tip: meters are free after 6 p.m.). We chose an intimate table in the back, near the gas fireplace, and ordered a bottle of Oregon pinot noir.

When Jimmy and Stacy arrived hungry, we ordered the beef carpaccio (high-grade raw beef - sorry, vegetarian friends), calamari, and pancetta (think crumbled bacon) on crostini with a white bean spread. The carpaccio, sprinkled with romano cheese and sea salt and drizzled with horseradish aioli, melted in my mouth.

We finished and decided to head down High Street to Eleven , next to Hyde Park on The Cap at Union Station . At 10 p.m. on a Friday night, Eleven was packed full of trendy 30- and 40-somethings. We found a spot to stand between the bar and the expansive wine safe, a great location to people watch and check out current fashions. Plus my husband could keep an eye on the TVs showing the Blue Jackets game.

I was pleased with myself, having found the perfect chance to show off The Cap and explain how it actually sits on top of the freeway. Jimmy and Stacy were duly impressed with the architecture and (to my glee) exclaimed, "I'd kill to have this in Richmond." Mission accomplished!