Here's the dish for those who plan to drag out the picnic basket, grab a blanket, and find a spot to watch the sparks fly on the Fourth of July.
Firework displays are scheduled all over town. Bartlett will present "Fireworks Extravaganza" at the Bobby K. Flaherty Municipal Center on Saturday, July 3rd, from 6 to 10 p.m. On Sunday, there will be festivities at H.W. Cox Park in Collierville, at Shelby Farms for FM 100's Independence Day Celebration, and at Tom Lee Park for AutoZone's "4th of July Red, White, & Blues Celebration."
Vendors will be serving typical fair foods at each event, but participants may also bring food and drinks with the exception of glass containers and alcohol.
Shelby Farms has a few grills and tables in the picnic pavilions. However, the best views for the fireworks are from the front lawn area. For those headed downtown, skip the picnic and enter the hot-wing or hot-dog eating contests held in Tom Lee Park.
Want the picnic without the hassle? Pre-order or just stop by Miss Cordelia's Grocery, 737 Harbor Bend Road, in Harbor Town, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the Fourth. For $7.95, the deli offers pasta salad, all-American apple pie, and a choice of four gourmet sandwiches served on fresh-baked focaccia or ciabatta bread.
"We will have the 'Red, White and Blue' roast beef with Gorgonzola and a creamy horseradish sauce; 'Blazing Buffalo' roasted chicken with cheddar, bacon, and tomato; maple-glazed honey turkey with Monterey jack; and rosemary, sun-dried tomato, and ham with Swiss," says deli manager Carl Wallin.
In Midtown, Square Foods Natural Market, 2094 Madison, will be closed on the Fourth but will prepare box lunches for advance orders. For $20, each box will include a choice of free-range chicken tenders, roasted vegetables with portobello mushrooms, or Santa Fe-style turkey breast with tomatoes, sprouts, and avocado served on Juniper Bakery's struan bread or a spinach tortilla wrap, plus organic fruit, olives, homemade oatmeal cookies, and a choice of the boldly named "Memphis' Best Potato Salad" or the "Best Ever Pasta Salad."
"Memphis' Best Potato Salad has been around forever," says Square Foods owner Jeanice Blancett. "It is light on the mayo and is neither super-sweet nor super-tangy."
"From Russia with love for the children," says Café Samovar owner Gregory Sadetsky about the upcoming dinner and wine tasting to benefit the kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The story of one girl touched Sadetsky and his wife and inspired them to host a charity event at their downtown restaurant at 7 p.m. on July 8th.
"St. Jude helps many children, even as far away as Russia," says Sadetsky. "One Russian girl came to St. Jude because she had leukemia, and they saved her life. Now she's okay."
The five-course dinner will feature a choice of three entrées: duck breast, beef tenderloin, or sea bass and will be accompanied by a sampling of wines.
Café Samovar, 83 Union Avenue, specializes in Russian-American cuisine. The cost is $40 per person. Call 529-9607 to make reservations or for more information.
The Midtown Food Co-op is also holding a fund-raiser, "Feast for the Senses," a silent art auction and an evening of music, dance, and spoken-word performances, July 16th at the Buckman Performing & Fine Arts Center
"It's going to be a beautiful event," says Ariel Roads, the co-op's events manager. "But it's not just for fun. It's important for us to raise some money. We will use a large portion of the money to make improvements to the store."
The Midtown Food Co-op, 2158 Central Avenue, is a small healthy-foods grocery that opened in 2001 to provide the more than 500 members with natural and organic products and hormone-free meats and dairy products. As a co-op, it is owned by its members and governed by a board of directors, and any profit is reinvested into the co-op.
"It will be the biggest event we've put on thus far," says Roads. "There will be food and drinks, and Voices of the South will be doing a theater piece. Mark Allen will play either classical or flamenco guitar. The biggest draw will probably be Harlan T. Bobo and Tim Prudhomme, but it's not going to be a rock show, just a duo session."
In addition to other dance performances and storytelling by Judy Card, local artists (many of whom are also co-op members) have donated their work for the auction.
Tickets cost $25 for the event starting at 8 p.m. or $50 for the catered VIP preview party that begins at 7 p.m. and will feature a special guest performance. For tickets or more information, call the Buckman Center box office at 537-1486 or the Midtown Food Co-op at 276-2250.