Monday, March 19, 2007

Chicken Mondays at the TCD.....

(Chicken Monday at the TCD. They don't take reservations so you better go early!)

This morning I woke up from the strangest dream I'd had for as long as I could remember. Something about Agnes leaving me for a deaf man and me taking to the road on my old Ducati Elite. Then, after I track them down for some reason, Agnes and the brute poisoned me. Don't that beat all? Regardless, I woke up with a mean hunger for some turnip salad. And there is only one place in town to go for a mess of good turnips.

Located on the corner of 9th and C street, in the heart of Belvidere's vibrant art district, is the Center Diner, known as "the TCD" by its more bohemian patrons and home of Chicken Mondays. It is the only place in town where you can play checkers while enjoying an imported beer on tap. The folks at the TCD know that nothing goes better with beer than chicken, and every Monday they will prepare some for you any way you like it except deviled. And speaking of beer, their beer list is a fun way to travel around the world without having to get a passport because there are representatives from nearly 5 countries to be tasted. You do have to be over 21 though.

The hoppy Budweiser, all the way from Germany, is a great complement to almost any style of chicken but I prefer it with a steaming pile of poached poultry. Olde English "800", a classic ale from just across the pond, comes in a convenient 40 ounce serving that is great for sharing with a friend or loved one. And I can't imagine anything better with a piping hot pile of the TCD's famous Chicken Fried Chicken. Rounding out the choices are Milwaukee's Best, from right here in the United States, and Natural Light, which I believe comes from Prague. Both are right tasty with Chicken on the Cob, a delightful presentation of a fire roasted corn on the cob placed inside the body cavity of a whole chicken and served with turnip salad. Baked chicken is also nice.

The TCD is the only diner in Belvidere never to have been shut down for unsanitary conditions and has long served as the only competition to Ronda's meatloaf monopoly in this fine city. There has certainly been a history of friction between Ronda, the owner of Ronda's $2 Dollar Cafe, and Hal Marque, the mysterious propietor of the Center Diner who is rumored to hail from France and to have been previously involved with labor relations at a mid-sized company somewhere on the east coast.

Both Ronda and Hal are lively characters in this fine city and always good for a laugh or a tart reply. But a top American City like Belvidere has more than enough room to accomodate bustling businesses like these. Some nights you feel like chicken and on others you just have a hankering for meatloaf. Sometimes both, especially when Agnes is away visiting her sick friend in Strang. Isn't that what life is all about?

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