Panda Gone Country!

Dierks Bentley at Sleep Train

Blog, Live. | August 22, 2015 | By

This past weekend I got to see one of my all-time favorite artists perform at Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.  Dierks Bentley rocked the house with his best show ever (hands down)…and I have seen a lot of shows.  I don’t understand how not every person in this world is a country fan.  I think it’s because country historically has had a negative honky tonk stigma and people don’t give it a chance.  They’re scared they might actually like it…and to their delight they probably will!  I’d much rather listen to songs with actual stories, heart and depth instead of incomprehensible lyrics about mischief and b*tches but that’s just me. 

The crew tailgating at Sleep Train

The crew tailgating at Sleep Train

The show opened with the classic Dierks Bentley flag, show-stopping pyrotechnics and a strapping Dierks perched on the podium with the beginning tones of “Sideways” playing in the background.  Indeed, “worked all week, it’s time to play, gonna get a little bit…sideways” and sideways we were!  One of the many highlights was his performance of “I Hold On”, one of my favorite songs about how he holds on to his roots and what all is important in his life: “Baby, looking at you right now, there ain’t never been no doubt, without you I’d be nothing, so if you ever worry about me walking out, let me tell you something.  I hold on.”  Something people unfortunately no longer do these days!  He killed his current single “Say You Do” and brought out his opener Kip Moore for his first encore song “What Was I Thinking”.  Classic!  Needless to say, he brought down the house with his final hit “Drunk on a Plane”.

Kevin's first country concert...worked all week it's time to play, gonna get a little bit sideways!

Kevin’s first country concert…worked all week it’s time to play, gonna get a little bit sideways!

We continued basking in the glow of the show with a little dance party fiesta with the bands afterwards.  “Hangin’ memories on the high line poles. Free and easy down the road I go!”

All time performance!

All time performance!

In honor of the evolution of the curl afro, here’s a walk down memory lane…starting as early as 2008!  Nationwide.   Youngins!

Through the years, hairstyles and ooutfits!

Through the years, hairstyles and ooutfits!

Paleo Pork Chops with Mango Avocado Salsa

Pork, Recipes | August 12, 2015 | By

Pork is one of the leanest proteins you can have.  Cooking it in the pan with a little olive oil  gives it a flavorful golden crust while keeping it tender and healthy at the same time.  The mango avocado salsa to top these golden pork chops is sweet and slightly spicy, you’ll want a spoonful with every bite!  You can make this salsa to enhance virtually any dish – paleo or non-paleo!  Mouthwatering deliciousness!

Paleo Pork Chops with Mango Avocado Salsa
Serves 4
Golden pork that's slightly sweet and spicy!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs lean pork chops
  2. 2 tbsp paprika
  3. 1 tbsp garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp dried thyme
  5. ½ tsp cumin
  6. ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. ½ tsp black pepper
  9. 1 tbsp olive oil
For the mango avocado salsa
  1. 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  2. ½ avocado, peeled and cubed
  3. ½ cup red onion, chopped
  4. ½ cup plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  5. ¼ cup lime juice
  6. 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil
  8. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  9. 1 tsp ground cumin
Instructions
  1. Rinse and pat pork chops dry and place face up on a dry plate.
  2. Mix together the paprika, garlic powder, thyme, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Rub and coat both sides of the pork chop with mixture.
  4. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat.
  5. Cook pork chops (three at a time) for 2 to 3 minutes on the first side.
  6. Flip and cook the pork chops on the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes until the pork chops are golden brown and no pink juices remain.
  7. Make the mango salsa by combining the mango, red onion, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and cumin in a small bowl, gently tossing in the avocado at the end.
  8. Top the slightly cooled pork chops with the mango avocado salsa and serve!
The Paleo Panda http://thepaleopanda.com/

Burlington/Stowe, Vermont

We forged the trek cross country to Vermont this past weekend for a wedding and while I knew it would be pretty this time of year, I wasn’t fully aware of the beauty I was in store for!  We took a red eye flight from LAX to JFK…then hopped on a 1+ hour flight to Burlington.  I had scoped out a highly ranked breakfast spot for us in the heart of town for when we landed – Penny Cluse Café – with supposedly amazing egg and chorizo tacos with black beans and avocado and it did not disappoint.  Their home fries and banana bread are also out of this world.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourselves subject to a 30 minute to 1 hour wait for a table but you’ll appreciate that time to wander the adorable and bustling cafes and shops of Burlington’s main square!

Penny Cluse Café (Burlington, Vermont)
169 Cherry Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 651-8834
$$

Egg and chorizo tacos at Penny Cluse Cafe

Egg and chorizo tacos at Penny Cluse Cafe

Charming Burlington town square

Charming Burlington town square

The cutest street lined with shops and restaurants

The cutest street lined with shops and restaurants

The Ben and Jerry's factory is SO CLOSE

The Ben and Jerry’s factory is SO CLOSE

With bellies full, we embarked on the scenic hour drive up to Stowe.  We arrived at our hotel and were in awe of the pristine and majestic beauty of the Stowe Mountain Lodge.  The quintessential New England resort, you could definitely feel the beauty of the mountains and the charm of the surrounding town and can only imagine how beautiful the resort would be covered in snow.  Located at the base of Mount Mansfield, the resort is the only ski-in/ski-out lodging in Stowe, boasts farm-to-table dining at their Solstice Restaurant and has a plethora of shopping options at The Shops at Stowe Mountain Lodge (including the Beanery coffee shop that just happens to have THE best breakfast sandwiches in town). Take the gondola up for skiing in the winter and for zip-lining and hiking in the summer!

Stowe Mountain Lodge (Stowe, Vermont)
5781 Mountain Rd, Stowe, Vermont 05672
(802) 253-3000
$$$$

Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge

We settled into our king suite with a fireplace, kitchenette and bathrobes then decided to tackle a Smugglers’ Notch hike that we had read about that ends at the beautiful Sterling Pond.  We drove up to the Smugglers’ Notch Park visitor center and parked (well at least half of the car) at the base of the trail.  The hike is about 2 miles on a well-maintained yet vertical trail…look for the 2” x 6” blue blazes to mark the trail.  Make sure you reward your efforts with a refreshing dip in the pond!

The hike to Sterling Pond

The hike to Sterling Pond

We made it to Sterling Pond!

We made it to Sterling Pond!

If there’s one thing that’s a given in Vermont, it’s that they sure like their Heady Topper.  This American Double IPA is packed with hops and while it’s not the strongest or bitter double IPA, you’ll get a hint of orange, tropical fruit, pink grapefruit, pine and spice hops in every sip.  It is unfiltered and contains 8% ABV and because it’s sold only in limited production, it sells out within days or hours of being released.  You’ll most likely see a silver can of Heady Topper being dranken at every restaurant table in Vermont…we even saw someone drinking it at 8 am with breakfast!

The Alchemist Brewery
35 Crossroad Rd, Waterbury, Vermont 05676
(802) 244-7744

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Wedding time!  The ceremony and reception were held at the bride’s beautiful family home up in the mountains of Stowe.  Escaping the forecasted thunderstorms, we had the perfect sunny weather for a beautiful romantic ceremony by the pond.  The wedding was flawless and we danced the night away to music by the groom and friends…and of course Heady Topper galore!

The beautiful ceremony site

The beautiful ceremony site

The groom and bride in her amazing Katie May Barcelona gown

The groom and bride in her amazing Katie May Barcelona gown

Cousin time!

Cousin time!

You cannot leave Stowe without buying some maple syrup…and eating at one of THE best places to get a salad or sandwich.  Ever.  Green Goddess Cafe makes the most amazing “create your own” colossal salads  served in huge wooden bowls with mouthwatering dressing (think maple balsalmic, jalapeno cilantro lime and their signature green goddess just to name a few).  Their double peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie isn’t too bad either!

Green Goddess Café (Stowe, Vermont)
618 S Main Street #2, Stowe, Vermont 05672
(802) 253-5255
$$

Insane salad at Green Goddess Cafe

Insane salad at Green Goddess Cafe

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