Return to Chicken Corner

The diet month is over. We’ve changed in more ways than one, as a fitting tribute to this, we decided to revisit a place we had previously dismissed, join us as, we Return to Chicken Corner (aka Yard and Coop)

Meeting up with El Food Two, who’d come into Manchester especially for this visit, this was to be our first proper meal this month.

We enter Yard and Coop in high sprits, we’ve already joked about sharing a half pint. “A delicious quarter pint” El Food Two remarked. But we are still serious about this diet, and even though its the official end of diet month, we don’t want to go off the rails just yet. (Coming soon to an internet near you, the blog post entitled ‘Off The Rails’)

Back to Yard and Coop, and its a different story to our first visit. Its very much ’empty nest syndrome’ here. I can’t vouch for their chickens, but we certainatly felt free-range as we were shown to our seat.

In a poetic twist of fate, we are shown to our very own ‘Chicken Corner’, a corner seat near the back of the coop. We nestle into our little corner, and suddenly don’t feel so free range. The seating provided is not the standard chair with legs combo we’ve come to love. Its a hard wooden bench, they do provide some over-sized cushions to soften the blow, but much like your Mum’s sofa, you just feel like throwing them on the floor.

Finally a Chicken Corner to call our own
Finally a Chicken Corner to call our own

El Food Two seems to fit into his box fine, but I find I have to sit at an angle to the table, allowing me to spread my wings a little. Its functional, but I still don’t see whats wrong with the standard chairs and table setup, or cushioned booths for those wanting to feel like they are in an American Diner.

“Are we having a beer then?” I ask. Its still not clear what we are prepared to do. I’ve not drunk anything but water for most of the month, and no alcohol since the first day of the diet. I’m worried what reaction my body might have. We decide a half never hurt anyone. “Just wet the whistle”

We order 2 halves of the ‘Yard Pilsner’ although we nearly ended up with a Yard of ale, as there was some confusion during my ordering process. I assure the friendly waitress that we only require halves. I feel I have to justify this by saying “we are cutting down” with a slight awkward chuckle.

2 mini pints, almost looks like they belong in a dolls house
2 mini pints, almost looks like they belong in a dolls house

For some reason I still feel like less of a man for ordering a half, especially on a Friday. But really, when you think about it, a pint is a lot to drink. You don’t go drinking pints of anything else do you? Why does it make you a big man just because you have a 0.010034 Cubic Foot more liquid in front of you?

Food then? Well I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but we had Chicken. Thats what the whole Yard and Coop thing means. Although if we analyse that more, the only time I’ve used the term yard, was in primary school, much like the word apparatus. Coop mostly conjures up images of old people saying “you don’t want to be cooped up all day in here, why don’t you go outside”, again a memory from the days of endless summers and white dog poo.

So really, Yard and Coop doesn’t mean chicken to me, but thats what its meant to mean. I prefer my chicken outlets to be more Colonel Sanders, and include the animal I’m about to consume in their name. Maybe Coop Fried Chicken? CFC? Nothing wrong with that.

So chicken anyway. El Food Two, he’s still playing it safe. Chicken Wings, and wait for it, corn on the cob. Although I reckon it probably had a lot of butter on it to make it palatable, its still very much not a carbohydrate.

Actually managed to make the corn look interesting here. But don't be fooled by my amazing camera work
Actually managed to make the corn look interesting here. But don’t be fooled by my amazing camera work

I on the other hand go for a classic, chicken and chips. Or in other words, protein and carbohydrates. Thats two different food types, thats got to be all sorts of good for me, right?

Its not actually as simple as that though. You’ve got to choose your sauce. I like choice, but I don’t like having to make a choice. Especially when it comes down to sauces you’ve never had, how do you know which one your going to like?

Again, our patient poulteress is on hand to nurture our feelings toward the sauces. I forget what they all are, but I put all my eggs in the basket labeled ‘Bees Knees’. Purely because of the name, remarking this to our coop croupier, she agrees, and even adds in its ‘cats pyjamas’. Although I don’t think cats should be sleeping in pyjamas, or in chicken coops. Neither of those are going to end well.

El Food Two always on the hunt for heat, like an egg being raised under a light bulb incubator, goes for Buffalo, egged on by being told by our helper hen that they can’t even stand the smell of the stuff.

You don't notice the knees at all
You don’t notice the knees at all

I also get asked another question I thought only existed in comedy sketches from the 70s. “Breast or Thigh?”, I reply “Breast” and resist making any further comment. Probably best I’d only had a half a pint.

Everything arrives promptly and is as described. I have a basket, containing a hefty dose of carbs and a breast of protein, covered with what I am calling right now, the new ‘pulled pork’. This is ‘buttermilk’ chicken, and I believe is the reason why Americans have a dish called ‘chicken fried steak’, which actually has no chicken content. Because it has become a ubiquitous way of cooking chicken over there, and will soon take over Manchester and the rest of the UK. Basically it means you’ve got some nice looking crumb to your otherwise dull looking chicken, like you get at KFC.

My bees have had their knee-caps pulverised and put into a little pot. This is the sort of choice I like, even if I hate the sauce, I can just leave it in the little pot and no one has to know, apart from the few thousand bees I presume it takes to make 20ml of sauce.

Not 100% sure whats in the pot there. But El Food Two refused to eat it, on the grounds it was "for people who can't eat hot wings"
Not 100% sure whats in the pot there. But El Food Two refused to eat it, on the grounds it was “for people who can’t eat hot wings”

El Food Two also has a basket, with all his chicken in, about 5 wings. These are big old wings, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wing that size, they may have been from some super mutant chicken. Mutant or not, it all seems to be very good chicken, and El Food Two has no complaints. Although he says the sauce was not hot enough, but he is very hard to please on that front.

I’m not going to say anything about the corn, it saddened me a bit to see it in the middle of us, almost driving a small wedge between the El Food Brothers. But having the beers brought us together despite this. I wonder how long he’ll keep on ordering weird things like this?

We munch the food pretty quickly, I find my chicken breast is looking smaller and smaller, whilst the amount of chips never seem to change. I feel like it was a bit more ‘chips and chicken’, but really it was probably just a fair portion of chicken, and maybe a few too many chips. The bees knees turn out to be quite spicy, with a little hint of sweetness. Maybe the bees shit honey out whilst they were being knee-capped…its best not to think about it.

In summary, its decent chicken, better than Nando’s, but its still just chicken.

Half Callum Meek’s chicken banquet out of a bakers dozen yard and coop raised chicken eggs