Vegetables are really not my forte - and cauliflower especially. Though I'm trying to get better, I promise. So when I found a recipe for some cheesy cauliflower patties, I decided to tweak it a bit to see if I could make them even more up my alley.

First, I grabbed a big head of cauliflower and chopped off the florets, and started them boiling in some water, along with a small bit of onion (because I do like onion you know). Then I grabbed some other flavors that I felt would go well in this particular dish: Bell peppers and cheese.

It was only a matter of time before someone actually put one of these on the menu somewhere, and leave it up to Dunkin' Donuts to be the ones to do it.

Now I'm really more of a fan of Krispy Kreme when it comes to doughnuts - but since they do not have breakfast sandwiches, they missed the boat here (though they did have free doughnuts on National Doughnut Day, no purchase required - you had to buy a drink at DD).

We were recently invited to participate in a beer dinner at BlackFinn American Saloon, put on by Tenth and Blake, the craft and import division of MillerCoors. From what little I know, Tenth and Blake is a completely separate division, run independently of the larger MillerCoors (still wholly owned by them, however). BlackFinn was simply selected as the host for the evening.

Arriving, we were escorted to the second level, and at the top of the stairs were welcomed into a rich, paneled (as in, lots of wood, not 70s-style paneling) bar-type area, immediately feeling at home and ready for some serious learning about beer pairing. First up? AATMF. No idea what that means. Sounds like a new acronym for a division of professional sports or something. Instead, it stands for Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish. Fair enough.

Check it out, burger fans, there is a new game in town (or at least, there will be tomorrow, when they officially open for business). We scored an invite to a sneak peek of the newest Smashburger location, in Stonecrest, and were rewarded with a ton of food. It was the opportunity to try literally everything on the menu. We actually had to stop because we had no more room. I felt like Adam Richman, and here food won the battle.

Speaking of said food...

The burger is clearly the star of the menu. They are nice and greasy. There are six basic options that come pre-configured, and you can also create your own. The primary issue I had is that they are a bit pricey and go down way too easily. I could probably eat at least two at a sitting, so it could get expensive fast. Also the meat is a bit "smashed". Smashed? That just means that the meat does not stand out much from the other flavors.

We received an invitation to the grand opening of the first Zoe's Kitchen location in the Charlotte area, in the base of the Metropolitan complex in midtown. Always happy to oblige with a new happening, we chose to visit for the dinner even, since lunch is a bit difficult to make as we're nowhere near midtown.

Traffic wasn't bad, so we arrived on the early side, and promptly... went in the wrong door (the side, rather than the front). Nothing actually wrong about this, but it caught everyone by surprise, since we were early and came in the wrong way. Lauren met us and got us seated in a prime location, right in the middle of all the action.

There aren't too many lunch counters left in this world, and when you manage to find one, it's not always a good thing. Sometimes the place is run down. Sometimes the food just isn't very good. So more often than not, you might just be better off walking on past to the next place that serves food. This isn't the case with Hap's.

The number of steak houses in Charlotte isn't exactly overwhelming. Until a few years ago, if someone asked me where to go, I probably would have sent them to the Hereford Barn. But since they closed, there weren't really a lot of options.

Recently even the chain places have begun closing, which isn't really a huge loss, but it does leave a certain opening for a good place to find a steak. About the only option are the "old time" steak houses, such as Beef and Bottle and The Ranch House - and while both have their high points, neither are that great.

Perhaps it is because of all this that I don't often look for steak in Charlotte. It's just not a steak sort of town. But one night while partaking in the manager's reception at the Embassy Suites, we weren't sure where to go, and decided that we'd try the Omaha Steak House, simply because it was raining and we were a bit pressed for time. It was one of the best decisions we had made in a very long time.

This is the "uptown" (midtown, technically) cousin to the pub that you'll find in the West Village, and it's definitely a lot different. The pub is much smaller and more intimate, but they are certainly related. You just have to look closely to find the similarities.

We tried The Chateau early one evening in what would probably be called the "early bird" hour, and there were plenty of other people there as well (there were in fact several other diners there for the aptly-named special). Since we just stopped in for a quick bite, we didn't really have a full-blown meal, but we did try a few things.

This funky little eatery in the South End has grown quite a bit (not in size, but in appeal) over the last few years. What started as not much more than a rather ugly yellow cinder block building on an oddly-shaped lot is now that and more - they've added some landscaping, a paved lot instead of the gravel parking and a nice outdoor eating area too. Inside the food is the same great, simple combinations you're used to getting.

It seems that just about every publication we had read said something good about this place, found in Bluebeard's Castle (not Blackbeard's Castle), atop a hill in Charlotte Amalie.