The 2010 Sandpoint Summer Sampler was a blast under clear blue summer skies with fun and food to warm the soul. This was the fifth year of the event, and yours truly was the MC. Having hogged the mike two previous years, this was by far the best. We had postponed the event for a week due to rain, yet the delay did not keep the crowds from joining with sixteen restaurants and vendors presenting some of Sandpoint and North Idaho's finest fare.
Chefs Jason Clark & Eddie Sneva compete at the Sandpoint Summer Sampler
Twice a year our end of North Idaho sets up their restaurants in one place for tastings and a bit of fun; once during winter with the Taste of Sandpoint, and summer finds us licking our lips for the Sandpoint Summer Sampler.
The event is sponsored by many, with the main event being backed by Litehouse Foods. Litehouse began as a restaurant out in Hope and in 1962 began the salad dressing business. Litehouse is one of Sandpoint's true success stories, passing 1 billion in sales last year. You can find their products in virtually every grocery store in North America.
Having fun at Sandpoint Summer Sampler
So, the with the backdrop of vendor's tents and tables and a puffy clouded blue summer sky, two chefs square off against each other in a friendly competition to garner the title of "Best Chef in Sandpoint."
Last year's winner was Eddie Sneva, the chef of Dish Home Cooking, voted Sandpoint's Best New Restaurant. He was up against the chef of the newest fine dining establishment in town, Jason Clark of the Bistro at Sand Creek. With decidedly different styles, four judges sampled an appetizer and main course from each chef. Sneva with a more country-cooking, stick to your ribs flare, and Clark with his refined, French fusion cooking.
Chefs at the Sandpoint Summer Sampler are introduced to the secret ingredients
The judges were Paul Kusche, a Litehouse VP, David Keyes, editor of the Bonner County Daily Bee, Mark Lockwood, Sandpoint's Chief of Police, and Carrie Scozarro, a contributing writer for Sandpoint Magazine and the Pacific NW Inlander.
Judges at the Sandpoint Summer Sampler
The two chefs had much the same ingredients, with Sneva presenting a chopped prawn, spring salad and Clark a Gazpacho with prawn and toast as appetizers. Clark seared his flank steak and served it with cubed fries while Eddie served much the same over Blue Cheese mashers.
In the end, though close, Eddie won again.
Being the chef of Dish, Eddie opted to serve St. Louis ribs and potato salad to the crowd, and it must've been pretty delicious since Dish was the first booth to sell out.
Dish Home Cooking was also one of the featured spots in the June issue of Country Living magazine in their article Seven Reasons to Visit Sandpoint,Idaho. http://sandpointdish.com/
The other restaurants were pretty cool too.
41 South is at the south end of the Long Bridge right at the entrance to Lakeshore Drive. With killer views of Lake Pend Oreille and the bridge, fine cuisine, and live music on special nights, it is one of North Idaho's favorite destinations. http://www.41southsandpoint.com/
Joe's Philly Cheesesteak is at 102 Church St. The current owners bought the eatery from a true Philadelphia native, and added burgers to the Hoagies, cheesesteaks, hot dogs and the kids menu. Very reasonably priced, it is a must for lunch in downtown Sandpoint. http://www.joesphillycheesesteaks.com/
Evans Brothers Coffee was started by brothers Rick and Randy Evans. Rick was a REALTOR® with me at Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty, but is now full time with his barrista/roaster brother Randy. Truly a family affair, wives Mandy and Sarah are community minded and all come together to create a great gallery at their location at the old granary in Sandpoint. They have some fine events and art shows. http://evansbrotherscoffee.webconfident.com/
Chimney Rock is Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort's fine dining restaurant Winner of the Wine Spectator's 2003 and 2004 Restaurant Wine Award. They still feature 95% wines from the Northwest and/or Western regions. Putting emphasis on locally grown and fresh, Chimney Rock is a treat, even during non-ski seasons. http://www.skischweitzer.net/schweitzer-restaurants.html
Many years ago, our resident winemaker, Steve Meyer of Pend d'Oreille Winery, spent time in France learning his craft. Nowadays, Pend d'Oreille Wines are award-winners all over the world. Their winery has gifts, great wines and food, and live music many nights. http://www.powine.com/
Eichardt's Pub & Grill opened in 1994 and is the place to go and get some great pub food, a frosty mug or glass of wine, and listen to live music. Like they like to say, casual dining, seriously good food. http://www.sandpoint.com/go/eichardts/
Pend Oreille Pasta & Wine is a block south of Wal-Mart on Highway 95 and for fifteen years have sold culinary treats you can't find anywhere else in Sandpoint. John and Valerie Albi have truffle oils, fresh breads and pasta, incredible cheeses, and of course, an impressive wine selection. http://www.pendoreillepasta.com/
Nice crowds at Sandpoint Summer Sampler
Gary Lirette, MC of the 2010 Sandpoint Summer Sampler
Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty
200 Main Street
www.SandpointID.net - To learn all about Sandpoint and North Idaho
www.RealtySandpoint.com - For Sandpoint Realty
www.SkiSchweitzer.net - To visit Schweitzer Mountain's Community Web