The Sandpoint Eater: Still my Sandpoint

By Marcia Pilgeram
Reader Columnist

Lately, it seems all we hear (or talk about) is our ever-changing Sandpoint landscape. Last year, my daughter Ryanne published a book about the changes we’re facing throughout the region, Pushed Out: Contested Development and Rural Gentrification in the American West.

I saw plenty of changes last weekend when I took 7-year-old granddaughter Fern out on the m/s Shawnodese for our favorite “Birds of Prey” cruise. We arrived at City Beach early to enjoy a window table and lunch (topped off with a fancy lemonade for Fern) at Trinity. And, wow, I’ve never seen such a hodgepodge of oversized pop-up tents on the beach — it looked like Sunday on the Jersey shores. On our way to the boat launch, there was no parking place to be had at City Beach and, upon boarding the vessel, I overheard fellow passengers mentioning they’d had to park way over at the Amtrak station.

Far away in Southeast Asia, you often hear the saying, “same-same, different.” I have a better understanding of that mantra now. Though much remains, much has changed, and much is lost.

I miss calling Ivano’s for huge antipasto platters to go, a reward for our train crews after a successful private train excursion. I miss the sunset cocktails at Forty One South, followed by an array of sushi on Shoga’s nearby patio.

I miss Harold’s IGA and the heat lamps warming the crispy fried chicken we’d take to Dover Beach for a swim and a picnic. I miss the Smokehouse and the giant, briny pickles we took along on our impromptu summer outings on the lake.

For all the things that have changed, much remains the same, as I was reminded, perched on the bow of the Shawnodese with Fern. As we cruised near the shoreline, eyes peeled for birds of prey, I remembered taking my youngest Casey when she was the same age. More than 25 years ago, she too leaned into the point of the bow, wind in her face, to strike the famous “Titanic pose.”

I still head to Dub’s for ice cream, but now, instead of hauling Casey and her Washington Elementary School cronies, my backseat is filled with car seats and little ones, including Casey’s. Their love of overly sweet ice cream flavors rivals their mother’s.

Though often packed with more visitors than locals, I still can count on longtime vendors at the Farmers’ Market to provide me with tasty produce, baked goods, and fragrant bouquets to fill my table on Saturday mornings.

When the kids come up from Moscow, we often head to the Hoot Owl, crowding into a booth for Sunday morning chocolate chip pancakes, just as we’ve done for as long as I can remember. Occasionally an adult or two will indulge in the best-ever chicken-fried steak, still hand-pounded and slathered in darn-good gravy.

In Ponderpoint, I’ve had the same sets of close neighbors since I moved in more than 20 years ago. We look out for one another and share garden bounties and fence talk while commiserating about the massive dump trucks (driving too fast), hauling out loads of dirt and returning with bigger loads of rock to build even bigger lakefront homes.

And so it goes. I’ll continue embracing all the reasons I love Sandpoint because, in my opinion, there’s still lots more that is right with her than is wrong with her. I hear friends threatening to move. Where would we go? Though I could take a pass on winter, I can’t imagine missing out on the summer magic of my children and grandchildren gathering in Sandpoint. That will never change!

I’ll tell you what else never changes: Candyland. It’s the game that never ends. It goes on and on, my friends (unless you happen to “misplace” some of the candy-fairy cards that send you back to the start of the game). I’ve been with my grandchildren for nearly two weeks, and that’s a lot of Candyland.

It’s left me little time for cooking (besides, it’s been too hot to turn on the oven). Who cares? You can whip up this easy shrimp dinner faster than you can say, “lose a turn.”  It’s just the right amount of garlic, so please don’t be tempted to make a change.

Garlic butter shrimp • makes 4 servings
This is quick and easy to prepare — a perfect stovetop main dish. Pair it with a crisp green salad, French bread and a chilled pinot grigio. (And don’t overcook the shrimp!)


• 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

• 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave tails on)

• Salt to taste

• 6 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced

• ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

• 3 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice

• ¼ stick of cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

• 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, rinsed. Finely chop half (save rest for garnish)

• 2 tbs capers in their brine

• 2 tbs white wine

• Lemon wedges


Heat olive oil in a heavy large skillet, over medium-high heat, until it barely begins to smoke. Place shrimp in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and cook for a minute, shaking pan, but don’t stir. 

Season shrimp with salt and stir just until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 1 minute.

Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir an additional minute.

Stir in lemon juice, 1 piece butter and ½ of the parsley. Cook until butter has melted and the shrimp are well coated. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon, place on serving platter and cover to keep warm. 

Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining 3 pieces of butter, one at a time. Continue whisking until sauce begins to thicken, about 3 minutes, then add capers in brine and wine, and whisk until well mixed.

Pour the sauce over shrimp. Garnish with remaining parsley and lemon wedges and serve immediately.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.