J. Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville, CT may be housed in an old building (as in…built in 1789!), and has even been open since 1985, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant’s marketing practices haven’t grown and evolved with the rest of the industry. Social media is a big part of the popular spot’s advertising and public relations strategy; its active Facebook and Twitter accounts (run by a SUPER fun woman named Nikki) spread the word about food specials, gather customer feedback, and…develop relationships with area bloggers!
Last month in the J. Timothy’s loft (this restaurant is HUGE…we’re talking multiple levels, banquet rooms, a bar area, and more), a group of Connecticut Bloggers gathered for a meetup hosted by the J. Timothy’s Taverne marketing team. Not only was it a chance for me to try out a new-to-me restaurant (legendary for their wings, and also frequented by the infamous and elusive West Hartford PR Girls), but I also got to finally meet so many of the area bloggers I’d been tweeting with for so long!
So after taking the above photo, we decided to be the blogging version of the Spice Girls. What do you all think? Perhaps I can be Posh?
I mingled with the ladies and the rest of the bloggers in attendance while drinking a glass of Duck Duck Goose Shiraz-Cabernet and sampling a little bit of everything from the above app plate. My very favorite items included figs and some kind of fabulous bacon-like meat. The wine list at J. Timothy’s impressed me, especially since their main gig is beer (particularly craft and/or local). I’ve only had Duck Duck Goose at a Sonoma Wines & Spirits tasting and had never seen it offered by a restaurant before.
I also sampled a few of the above craft beers from the summer beer list. Small sips of each were all I needed…still working on liking beer!
The owner of J. Timothy’s took the time to come up to the loft and greet us Connecticut bloggers, and then Nikki kicked off the evening’s event by telling us why the restaurant uses and believes in social media. She also shared examples of marketing research the Taverne performs on a regular basis. I was particularly interested to learn that focus groups of parents seemed to agree that when taking children out to eat, they are NOT looking for healthier kids menu items. In fact, going out to eat is seen as a treat, so therefore the parent is more OK with letting the child treat him or herself to a more decadent or heavier meal than would be served at home. I can definitely see why that would be the line of thinking behind selecting a kids menu meal…but also think it’s good to have the healthy options there in case the child chooses one of those! The focus group found, at least, that parents do want to see more healthier sides. That’s some balance – perhaps a burger with some veggies 🙂 I could go on about this topic forever!
The main event – a tasting of the J. Timothy’s menu – began. I took one look at the list and felt a bit overwhelmed. SO. MUCH. FOOD. How full would I get? What if I overate? What if I lost control? Those thoughts immediately intruded, but I was aware of them, and checked in with my body. I was hungry, ready to eat, and could just sample a little of everything and stop when I was done. I could do this! And hey…it all sounded pretty damn good.
Wings may not be the most unique app, but you can’t go wrong ordering them when dining at a restaurant like J. Timothy’s Taverne, famous for their wings! And we got to try all the flavors – Original Buffalo, Honey Gold BBQ, General Tso’s, and Teriyaki. My favorite? The General Tso’s! The bleu cheese sauce was also fantastic, but I always have issues with that when it comes to wings with bones. It ends up a huge, albeit delicious and fun, mess.
I really like the way J. Timothy’s served us the food. Each dish came out on a family style serving plate that was passed around the table. I could get the specific bites and tastes I wanted to put on my own smaller plate, and in the perfect amount that let me feel comfortable. The serving method totally helped me sit back and enjoy the event without the intrusive thoughts telling me I may lose control.
After the wings, a starter from the regular menu came out that will probably get a lot of my readers excited – butternut squash ravioli in sage & brown butter cream sauce, sprinkled with walnuts. I definitely wish there had been less sauce because I could hardly taste any of the butternut squash filling! But collectively, the dish was delicious and the crunchy walnut texture contrasted with the soft, pillow-like ravioli (yes, most overused description for ravioli, so sue me) in an interesting way that was just enough to set J. Timothy’s version apart from others I’ve tried.
The salad we sampled, the Scallop Waldorf salad, was probably my favorite dish of the evening. More walnuts are always a good thing, and the greens weren’t too dressed, something restaurants so often do. I would have preferred pears to apples but that’s the weirdo in me that doesn’t like them (don’t yell at me). I wanted more scallops! Right, Meg?!
OK wait…THIS may have been my favorite dish. The salad was certainly more “comfortable” to me, but I can’t lie, the above grilled pork tenderloin bacon-wrapped medallions in a pomegranate balsamic glaze, paired with sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes, was comfort food at its best. I so wish I’d had more room to have more pork, and it’d been eons since I’d eaten any “legit” mashed taters. Of course I wanted to take more spinach off the platter, but left enough for my companions
Mark of Relic Brewing handed out beer samples to pair with certain courses. My favorite – and the most interesting beer I’ve EVER sipped – was the lavender & honey brew. I could truly taste the lavender and even finished my entire sample (something I don’t often do with beer) just because I wanted to keep experiencing that taste that I knew I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
I’m always ready to gobble down a good piece of fish but was disappointed that the haddock au gratin came absolutely DROWNING in cheese. I love eating cheese with crackers, fruit, wine, pizza, etc. But when it comes to my meat and my seafood, I don’t want a ton of greasy cheese clouding that fresh meat or seafood taste. I want to taste my protein! And I do have to be honest here – melty pools of cheese like the kind featured on this haddock certainly make me nervous. I wonder how much “hidden” fat is in there, and worry about the consequences of eating said fat. I picked off as much of the cheese as I could, but at this point I was getting really full anyway and knew I wanted dessert, so I didn’t finish this dish. It was definitely my least favorite of the meal.
Luckily, dessert more than made up for it, especially since it was a two-parter! The above cherry vanilla cheesecake bread pudding was COMPLETELY amazing. The soft bread pudding and the crunchy shell it was served in balanced each other out perfectly. Cherry isn’t my favorite flavor of dessert, but this was quite yummy. The best and most decadent-tasting part of the dessert, though, was next…
I did not want my truffle to end. It was definitely one of the best-tasting desserts I’ve ever eaten. Too bad it was so tiny! I wanted it back as soon as I finished it!
I left this event a bit more full than I am used to or comfortable with feeling. But I dealt with it – I went home, chatted with my parents, colored, listened to NPR, and went to bed. I didn’t miss out on anything and I had a great night out with my CT blogging friends. I’m so glad I finally got to meet them, and try a new restaurant at the same time!