Just when I thought our time couldn’t get better here, I discovered that there is a French answer to Eataly close by called Le District. Oh happy, happy day…and New Year!
After staying up so late last night, I slept in and then enjoyed a really lazy morning. We all did. Robin traditionally likes to take a hike on New Year’s Day and there was a consensus that walking the Brooklyn Bridge would be a great choice. Unfortunately, my decision to wear the same pair of boots to pound the pavements for the last few days had given me a lot of heel pain so I opted out and offered to secure a suitable destination for lunch. The others left for their hike and I did a little searching and came across an online description of Le District, described as a French version of Eataly…..whaaattt??! Eataly is great, but my first love will ALWAYS be French food. This place was just a couple of blocks down from Eataly so I couldn’t shower and get ready fast enough. While pursuing my degree in French many moons ago, I had the fortune to spend my third year of University in Paris, teaching English to Lycee students. As a child, we took many camping holidays to France too. I’m a huge fan of French Bistro-style food.
While I was heading out to find Le District, Kerry, Cherry and Robin walked the Brooklyn Bridge and shared these photos with me. They really enjoyed it despite the crowds doing the same thing.
They also stopped to watch these dancers on the way to meet me.
In the meantime, I strolled through downtown on a lovely sunny and slightly warmer day, passing the 9/11 Memorial and heading for the Battery at the end of Liberty Street. The moment I entered Le District, I knew I had found my place. I did a complete tour, salivating at all on offer and clicking away with my camera. It is a market and a restaurant, with the dining happening in the middle and therefore the center of the action.
Le Bar a Vin was undoubtedly going to be our lunchtime venue today. I secured a spot for the four of us at the double sided bar seating, a brilliant way to fit more people in and allow for larger parties to be able to properly converse. This configuration flanked the bar at either end, which was incidentally also double sided itself in the other direction. I ordered a Bellini while waiting for the others and perused the classic French Bistro Menu. Steak Frites with Salad and Bearnaise was a no-brainer for me. When the others arrived they too ordered a cocktail. Kerry was less than thrilled with hers but persevered, saying she needed to give it a chance. Such a craft cocktail trooper!
Having hiked the Bridge and the fact that it was 3:30 already and we were all starving, we started off sharing Smoked Salmon with Quail eggs, radish and capers atop Boursin cheese and toasted wheat bread. It was so very, very good and a perfect appetizer to go with our cocktails. We were all ready for steak so ordered 4 of the Steak Frites, medium rare with Bearnaise Sauce. By the time they arrived, Happy Hour had started so we ordered a round of $5 glasses of house red. Perfect! It was great eating in the middle of so much going on. The food was fantastic and the market was pretty dark with low ceilings so really quite cosy too.
When we were done indulging ourselves, the sun was setting and so we headed out onto the Battery. We walked out far enough so as to see the Statue of Liberty. It was a stunning sight.
When we made our way back home with fresh baguettes in hand for snacks later, we had to pass by the 9/11 Memorial. This time the fountains were on and the pools were lit up. A really beautiful scene. There’s something very peaceful but also quite painful about the sound of the water cascading down into the pool and then disappearing into the dark center square. No doubt designed for us to feel that way. It was really moving to see it at night. It also felt like a good reminder at the beginning of a New Year to always have gratitude for what we have.
We returned to the apartment tired after another wonderful day and poured Vodka and Tonics and eventually enjoyed the leftovers from Eataly accompanied by baguette from my new favorite place, Le District. Life is good and the new year is off to a great start.