Ciao For Now
523 E 12th St
(between Avenue B & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009
I discovered another yummy (and super healthy) brunch place in the East Village area. It’s tucked off to the side between A and B so is away from the hustle and bustle of the crazy EV hipsters. The restaurant ends up having a very homey and small-town feel, almost like Boston. Ciao For Now is neighbors with Northern Spy Food Company, but is not as “famous” and never has a wait.
I read all about their Almond Brioche French Toast ($9.50 with fresh OJ or grapefruit juice) before coming and knew I had to get it. Brioche in general is amazing for french toast because it has a concentration of egg and butter, making the bread slightly puffy and yes, QQ (chewy). Almond Brioche is just brioche with almond cream and a sweet almond crusted topping. You really can’t go wrong with this french toast. However, the beauty of what Ciao For Now did is that the french toast isn’t heavy at all. It was buttery and delicious but somehow manages to stay light and healthy. How? I really don’t know.
We also shared the Organic Steel Cut Oats with brown sugar, currants, and cranberries ($4.25). I love love love steel cut oats because they are chewier and have more of a bite to them than regular rolled (or quick) oats. This is because steel cut oats are pretty much straight up oats chopped into smaller pieces. Rolled oats are oats that have been flattened by a roller and have had their outer “bran” skin removed. The result is a softer, less textured oat. Bran is tougher but also more nutritious (yay fiber) and I just prefer the texture. The Ciao For Now bowl was a hearty bowl of steel cut oats with a little too much brown sugar. Luckily, it wasn’t mixed in so I removed most of it before devouring the bowl. Though it came with a side of milk, the oats were already very creamy and delicious. The oats were perfectly cooked so that they weren’t overly soggy nor were they still too hard. This was probably the best oatmeal I’ve ever had…
As you can tell, we were in a healthy mood. We also ordered the Ciao Garden ($7 for large, $4 as a side) which consisted of Ciao “extreme greens”, cucumber, sweet corn, carrots, and grape tomatoes. The creamy basil dressing came on the side. There was nothing fancy about this salad but it was SO delicious I got it again the next day for lunch. The carrots are real carrots that are chopped chunkily so that you really got a good crunch (I hate it when carrots are paper thin slivers… what’s the point?). The corn, as you can see from the photo, were cut off of real ears of corn… and did not come in a frozen bag. I normally don’t like creamy dressings as much but this basil dressing was out of this world. You could taste fresh basil through the creaminess and the creaminess was less like a heavy ranch.. and more like a yummy avocado type creamy.
We left brunch feeling happily full, not overstuffed, and ready to take on the day. Ciao For Now is also a bakery and bakes all kinds of fun things like lavender glazed mango muffins and spelt with date and apricot scones. I’ll have to go back for some of those.