I’m so excited to write my first post at my new home, The Simple Songbird! As I contemplated starting a Facebook page for my blog this week, I realized that if I wanted to get serious about my blog, I was going to have to change the name. As I mentioned before (way back in the “Walk In Love” days…aka yesterday :)), the URL was taken and there is a popular clothing company by the same name. I figured I might as well change the name of my little blog while it’s still a baby…you know, to prevent the eventual mental scarring that would have occured in it’s angsty teenage years.
I chose The Simple Songbird for a few reasons. First, I’m a choir director–I get to sing and make music with others every day for work, which basically means that I have the best job ever :). I also love birds. I’m planning a post sometime in the next month or so to talk about why I love birds, and why 2 of my 3 tattoos are birds. For now I’ll just say that I am always looking for reminders to keep a bird’s eye view on the things that happen in my life. And the simple part? I try to keep my life as simple as I can. I try my hardest to delight in the things that I already have and enjoy the life that I am lucky enough to live every day!
Name changes aside, I’m psyched to finally post about what I did last Saturday. The site Connecticut Bloggers is owned by Wendy + Greg. They do a wonderful job connecting bloggers from all over the state, so I was thrilled when they announced they would be hosting a meetup for local bloggers. I was even MORE thrilled when I found out that the restaurant J.Timothy’s Taverne (which my friends & I fondly refer to as “J.Tim’s”) would be hosting the event and providing food and beer samples. I have been a huge fan of J.Tim’s pretty much since I moved to Connecticut, but aside from one or two visits I had only ever tried their wings! They are located in Plainville, Connecticut.
I have to admit that I was pretty nervous. I’d been conversing with many of the attendees on twitter, but I am actually a pretty shy person. Luckily, my defense mechanism is to be SUPER friendly. I realize that makes almost no sense, but it’s just how I roll. I get nervous, so become incredibly outgoing and friendly. It works for me! :) As a pretty new blogger, I had never imagined I would get the chance to meet so many other people who love to blog too–so I was nervous!
I was immediately put at ease when I heard Nikki (who manages the J.Timothy’s social media accounts) say, “Hey, I know you! It’s Katie from Walk in Love!” That made me feel so welcome and like I was among friends already! I was also immediately greeted by Wendy, which was SO cool–I’ve been chatting via social media with her for quite a while, and it was really neat to put a face to the…twitter handle!
Oh, and a small disclaimer–I apologize for the poor quality photos in this post. J.Tim’s has some killer “mood lighting”…not the best for taking pictures with my normal camera, unfortunately (but their food more than makes up for it)![caption id="attachment_714" align="alignnone" width="960"] let the mingling commence![/caption]
People began to file in, and I think we all felt a little more at ease once we started chatting with one another. We even loosened up to take a silly picture. I think it’s going to be the album cover for our first-ever blogger girl band! Just kidding. But it IS a cute picture.[caption id="attachment_715" align="alignnone" width="960"] young female CT bloggers![/caption]
I was really excited to meet these ladies! I’m on the left…in case you couldn’t tell. The lovely ladies next me are:
- Maria from Pappa Don’t Preach (I love her tagline…”deadlifts & lipgloss”!)
- Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate
- Hilary from My Own Blog Review (+ owner of Mews Boutique)
- Dominique from Craftfully Cooks
I had been reading Maria, Caitlin, and Dominique’s blogs for a while, so it was pretty surreal to finally get to meet them all! Hilary was super nice and I was excited to find her blog–tons of wonderful recipes that I can’t wait to try. Caitlin was one of the first bloggers I connected with when I started this blog, so it was especially neat to get to hang out with her in real life! Turns out she’s a trouble maker–I think she’s going to be the “rebel” of our girl band, unless Maria takes the title! ;)[caption id="attachment_716" align="alignnone" width="765"] stolen picture! I can’t remember who I stole it from though :([/caption]
Just reading the menu made me hungry. We got beef & gorgonzola crostini as an appetizer, plus a meat, cheese, & fig platter.[caption id="attachment_717" align="alignnone" width="764"] okay so the picture didn’t come out so great, but these were awesome![/caption]
Of course, we started with J.Tim’s famous dirt-style wings. I could eat a bucket of them myself! We got to try each flavor. I was really surprised to learn that they make their own blue cheese for dipping–I had no idea. I didn’t snag a picture of the wings…they never photograph very well![caption id="attachment_718" align="alignnone" width="960"] homemade goodness![/caption]
Next was the butternut squash ravioli with sage, brown butter cream sauce, and candied walnuts.
Now. First of all, I have to say that I eat wings 99% of the time that I go to J.Tim’s. Also, I have never been a big butternut squash fan. So imagine my surprise when I basically melted with joy when I ate these! Everything worked so well together in this dish. I was really floored by how craftfully J.Tim’s creates their food. Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised–their building has been a functioning tavern since 1789!!
After that, we got to sample the Scallop Waldorf Salad. It included walnuts, apples, gorgonzola cheese (insert my best Wallace impression: “well I DO love a bit of gorgonzoooola, Gromit!”…..if you understand that, please come see me so I can give you the hardest hi-five of all time). It was topped with a champagne honey vinaigrette. The whole thing was so light and flavorful!
After that, we were fortunate enough to have Mark from Relic Brewing provide us with some samples! I’ve been meaning to get to his brewery for a tour, so I was thrilled that he was there. I honestly cannot remember all the brews we tried, but I do remember that one involved honey & lavender, and it was unlike anything I have ever tried–which is a good thing! I can’t wait to get there sometime for a tour so that I can sample more of his selection. It is the newest brewery in the state, so I’m all for showering them with love![caption id="attachment_721" align="alignnone" width="764"] Mark giving us the info on his brews![/caption]
Next we returned to the food. Pomegranate Pork Tenderloin…wrapped in bacon. Mmmhmm. It came with a side of mashed potatoes and garlic spinach. GARLIC SPINACH. You know how I feel about garlic, guys![caption id="attachment_722" align="alignnone" width="960"] no, I didn’t eat all of that myself–that’s a picture of the platter! :)[/caption]
I’ve got to say–I’m not normally a fan of pork. I really hate ham, for example. However, these tenderloins were cooked just right! They were nice and tender, and the addition of the pomegranate balsamic glaze sealed the deal for me. J.Tim’s just kept on exceeding my expectations!
Our final entree sample was the Haddock au Gratin.
When I read that it had a cheese sauce, I was worried it would be way too thick and heavy, but I was surprised at how light and airy they were able to make a cheese sauce! It was a great piece of fish, too.
J.Tim’s really spoiled us by giving us two desserts. The first was a cherry vanilla cheesecake bread pudding. Yup. Cherry. Vanilla. Cheesecake. Bread. Pudding. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that.
The last dessert was…oh my gosh. Words…they can’t possibly do it justice. I am still floored that a place I used to refer to as my “favorite wings place” could produce something SO…well, artful! Their Chocolate Truffle was moan-inducing (hush, you, with your mind in the gutter). I ate it slowly because it was so decadent![caption id="attachment_725" align="alignnone" width="764"] I’ll see you in my dreams, chocolate truffle![/caption]
It was such a wonderful dinner. I can’t thank J.Timothy’s enough for their hospitality, and Wendy & Greg for setting up this wonderful meetup! I’m looking forward to future meetups. Connecticut bloggers are pretty awesome people. :)
I, for one, know that the next time I head to J.Tim’s I’m going to go for some of their regular menu items instead of wings. There is so much that I want to try! (Okay…so maybe I’ll get a few wings as an appetizer) :)
Here’s some link love for the other bloggers I got to meet (or at least saw from across the room):
- Tammy from Martini Hunter
- Jay from Leaf and Yeast
- Aron from Craft Brew Guy
- Julie from Jewels: Photography & Life
- Wendy from The Weight’s Over (such a clever blog name!)
- Seth from Link with a Wink
- Sarah from Adventures with My Boys
Happy Friday, everyone! :)