4th of July! Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Watermelon Shrimp Salad and Fireworks!

For the Fourth of July, Aimee, Anika and I had plans to go to Long Island City to watch the fireworks at a party located in an apartment directly across from two of the four Macy’s fireworks barges. That morning, Aimee and I had mosied down Washington to Tom’s Restaurant. I had the french toast with bacon (FCB standard as discussed in the earlier Sarabeth’s UWS post). Aimee sprung for the tantilizing walnut, blueberry and strawberry pancakes with a side of turkey sausage. (Sadly, her’s was good but came with an uncooked pancake that took a while to get replaced. It seems every time FCB goes to Tom’s of late, there has been a cooking/ cleanliness issue. Ex.: pancake uncooked this time. Ex.: I received an egg over easy with a hair in the middle of it. We keep returning for two reasons: 1) cookies & coffee while you wait in the see-&-be-seen-in ProHo line and 2) cheap, cheap, cheap food) Later in the day, I went running for about 2.5 miles. Then at 5 or 5:30pm (depending on who you talk to) we were to meet up with Anika for dinner.

Here’s the fried chicken she prepared:

Anika makes us dinner, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

Doesn’t that look good?! The skin was so crispy while the chicken itself was perfectly moist and tender having been soaked in buttermilk overnight prior to cooking.

Anika also made collard greens with bacon and red onions to go with the fried chicken:

Anika makes us dinner, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

“Wow, that’s spicey,” Anika remarked as she bit into these, “Aimee, you don’t like the collard greens?”
Aimee has a history of animosity toward all culinary spiciness. Sounds like Anika didn’t even mean to put quite that much spice in the dish.
“They’re just a bit spicey for me,” Aimee replied meekly while drowning out the spice with several full gulps of water.

In a heart warming nod of sympathy to Aimee’s stomach, the elements worked up an interpretive dance of what Aimee’s stomach was doing and whipped this bradford pear tree to pieces and churned half of the branches onto nearby cars:

storm results, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

Anika and Aimee. Both friends for roughly 10 years. They were college roommates and, more recently, they shared space while Anika settled into NYC. So, needless to say, they are very close. The difference in approaches in these two friend will Be demonstrated by the following conversation:

Aimee: “I need to stop into the Starbucks to use the restroom.”
Anika: “The W is near there, let’s go there.”
Aimee: “But the Starbucks is closer.”
Anika: “I don’t understand why we aren’t going to the W.”
The W is much more posh than any lowly Starbucks in Anika’s reasoning. Therefore, why slum it. This is from someone who passes a loft apartment in Tribeca with a roof deck complete with lounge chairs, garden and view of both the Hudson and the line at Bouley and Cipriani and quips, “Nobody loves me.” Anika aspires to the extravagent as Aimee conversely achieves the expedient.

Days later….. both the saab car (seen in the shot above) and Aimee’s stomach are still without full repair.

The Flatbush avenue end of Park Place was ropped off and firefighters were working to remove the branches. Spectators were also gathering around in awe.

A fellow Smithie, Alice, was holding a party at her father’s apartment in Long Island City to view the fireworks. The location was fantastic and definitely the closest FCB has been to the NYC fireworks. Here’s a shot looking out over Gantry Plaza State Park (the park with the iconic “Long Island” sign over the docks):

NYC fireworks-2007, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

Those fireworks were just fantastic! The pouring rain proved no match for the explosions. One barge with the Macy’s sign in lights on it was the main one in our vantagepoint. The four barges, located between 23rd and 42nd street, move up and down the East River while the fireworks are being shot off.

We brought ginger thins, chocolate wafer cookies and prosecco to the party. One of the party goers had just returned from Lucca, Italy, just outside of Florence, on a study abroad program through Pratt where both she and her roommate had attended, and said that the prosecco reminded her fondly of being in Italy. Alice, our gracious hostess, also laid out herbed chevre, guacamole and fresh cherries that were just so ripe.

It was a strong beginning to the country’s new year.
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Filed under Brooklyn, Celebrations, Cooking, Food, New York City

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