Ciao for Now! A farewell NYC Brunch

Our last breakfast on our New York City (NYC) trip was at a cafe called, Ciao for Now. How apt!
Ciao for Now NYC
Ciao for Now, NYC. Rocking that vintage shabby chic look so well!

Farewell to New York City (NYC)! My last article about my all-too-brief trip to NYC will be on food…specifically breakfast! I love breakfasts and brunches out. So our farewell to NYC brunch was something I had to write about.

I’m not one of those “ladies who lunch”. I’m more of a “lady who coffees” or a “lady that brunches”. I do my exercise thing in the morning. Only enough to counteract the post work-out coffee, the obligatory extra big bag of crisps to go with my sandwich at lunch and the half a big bag of minstrels at 9pm whilst watching Netflix. Mind you, the exercise is just to keep the weight at an equilibrium. You understand, right?!  My favourite thing of all would be a long walk somewhere followed by coffee and brunch… OR coffee and brunch and then catching up on my 10k steps after! Either would work quite nicely for me.

A family fave

The brunch thing is also a family favourite. We love our long lazy brunches out somewhere new or just at an old favourite (ooh I sense a future write up here), with a pack of UNO or, our new favourite card game, Ligretto (thanks to my fellow lady who coffees and brunches, Emma, who introduced that card game to our family). Then we have a day out exploring the area where we’ve just brunched.

We would come home and then have a “linner” at 4pm(ish). The kids made that up a few years ago, “linner”, yup you guessed it, lunch/dinner (a few variations came up, “dunch” was one, but “linner” stuck). They decided our weird meal at 4pm needed a name, as it wasn’t dinner and it wasn’t lunch, just like brunch wasn’t breakfast, nor was it lunch.  They loved “linner”, as “linner” would mean a supper after, and supper usually entails popcorn and a movie!

Anyways… I digressed.

Ciao for Now

523 E 12th St, New York, NY 10009
Phone: 1 (212) 677-2616

I love the East Village. I’ve decided, next time I’m in NYC, this is where I’m going to be based (a few nights at least to explore usual haunts and new future haunts. Then I’ll head upstate – upstate NYC as I’ve never been there before).

We visited on Good Friday, so it was very quiet, the East Village and Ciao for Now. I do like a bit of serenity, but I would have loved to see the cafe in full swing. This would be just so I could see what everyone else was eating. Ciao for Now is this fabulously quaint cafe, totally rocking the vintage shabby chic look with its rustic matchy but not matchy tables and chairs and little flower buds on each table, flashy retro neon signs and half exposed brick walls.

I love how designers can put together a look that cries out “oh I’ve just thrown those bits and pieces together that I found whilst driving around the suburbs on household-waste clean-up day”. It just looks so good somehow. If I did that, I really would put together a look that would say what it is… That is that I really did randomly pick up someone else’s garbage lying on the footpath for the council’s van to pick up and burn.

Coffees were served in pretty retro mugs (again, mugs that make you think you need to replace all your trendy mint-green and millennial-pink mugs). By the way, my mugs are not trendy, they’re from Ikea. I just wanted to say mint-green and millenial-pink…

Ciao for Now NYC

These retro mugs!

Really, these could be the same mugs that had been sitting in my mum’s kitchen cupboards for 35 years. The ones I chucked out for her in 2013 because they really did look like they had 35 years of usage, with chips to prove it too. All whilst my cheeky dad stood to one side watching me with a big grin that said, “oooh your mum is not going to be happy with you”! Mum was in NYC then, visiting my sister and her family.

Anyway, again I digress…coffee was coffee, nothing wrong with it, but it was not the coffee that made you go, “omg, this coffee is goooood”. Food however, was!  I had this amazing omelette with spinach and goat’s cheese but the winner was the homemade spelt flour buttermilk biscuit that accompanied it (ie. scone for us non-Americans, because ugh, imagine having a bickie for breakky!).

Ciao for Now NYC

That homemade spelt flour buttermilk biscuit with a side of omelette

I’m not sure one needs a scone to go with an omelette and I’ve certainly never had a scone with an omelette, but trust me on this one. YOU need that “homemade spelt flour buttermilk biscuit”. It does seem to be a bit of a feature on the menu, so it had to be good! The Man had Grandma Linda’s Pancakes – I think that was a signature dish – and I got food envy.  Damn! Do you think something tastes good, just because it says “Grandma’s special recipe”? I don’t know why but I automatically assume it has to be…even though I used to ask my mum to please, please cook when Grandma visited, because I wasn’t going to be eating any of grandma’s dinner!

Grandma Linda’s pancakes

This is one of those places that you wished you visited with a few friends. Just so you could try a bit of everything on the menu. So when we come back and stay for awhile longer, I am going to have to revisit and also purchase some goodies from their bakery for my trip upstate!

And so, NYC, ciao for now!


Others foodie suggestions
Two Hands

164 Mott St
New York, NY 10013
Hours: 8am – 5pm // Monday – Sunday

Ok, so I only had this on the list because it’s called Two Hands, and Two Hands is one of my favourite movies and, it stars a very young Heath Ledger. I had the DVD. I lent the DVD to someone. The DVD never came back.

This Aussie style cafe serves up great coffee and simple but quick breakfast options.


831 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Mon-Fri: 6am-9pm
Sat-Sun: 6am-5pm

I debated including this bagel shop as there are soooo many opinions on which bagel shop you need to visit in NYC. Yes, yes, I’m sure yours is the best, but this was just a regular stop of ours when we resided there. However, everyone and their dog and friend is here now, so I am not sure what your experience of this will be.

When we went this trip, it was holiday week so there was a line snaking its way down 3rd Avenue. When the Man went two weeks later at 7am, there was no line. I love their bagels, but I’m no bagel afficionado, however I do know a bad bagel! We went for a quick breakfast here one morning for old times’ sake (with our take-out coffee from Lucid Cafe, 311 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA – The Man said it was barely a 2-block coffee as it was that small, but it is a good cuppa!) Don’t have a coffee at Ess-a-Bagel – just a tip for you. We visited again, later on during the week to pick up a baker’s dozen for Miss 10 – who IS a bagel afficionado!

The coffee at Lucid, a two-block coffee.

Happy brunching all! And don’t forget to read about my adventures in Deepest Darkest Suburbia.

All images by Sabina Spiteri.

Sabina, originally from Australia, has lived in London, NYC, Singapore and now resides in Surrey, deepest darkest surburbia, UK. She packed her entire belongings up in a ski bag nearly twenty years ago to do the “backpacking thing” in London and never went back home. She is now chasing the dream as a wannabe writer in the deepest of deep, Surrey. Sabina is passionate about coffee, food, exploring cities and skiing.
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