This week, I’ve been running around like a crazy person preparing for fashion week–it’s my favorite time of the year in New York, but it is such a whirlwind it is important to take a step back in order to really enjoy it. You can imagine my comfort when I stepped into the cozy Two Hands café, greeted by the radiantly smiling head chef Frankie Cox. We sat down to steaming Almond Milk Lattes in the nutritious and delicious café that you probably recognize from their Instagram. They are bringing their glorious acai bowls (which you can learn to make yourself, below) and avocado toasts to their newest venture, a restaurant in Tribeca. Frankie talks about their menu, eating out in NYC and diet culture with us, along with her secret off-the-menu breakfast.
What lead you to Two Hands?
I was working at another restaurant in NYC, Navy Soho, but came into Two Hands every morning for breakfast before work. I became great friends with the staff until my visa expired and I had to return to Australia, where I’m from. While back in Australia, I began to plan a move to England when I got a call from Two Hands. They told me about the restaurant they would be opening in Tribeca, and they asked if I would be their chef. I wrote the menu as soon as I got the job.
What is the menu like at the new restaurant?
The new place is many wholesome, unadulterated foods. Mushroom toast, salmon, smashed peas—you’re going to be getting exactly what the menu says. I wanted to celebrate food how it is.
What’s your take on the diet culture and eating out in NYC?
Typically, eating out is the one meal a week when people indulge. In New York, you can eat out for every single meal and many people do. Two Hands serves food that keeps you sustained, that is delicious but not overindulgent. I’m very anti-diet culture. There’s no need to rule anything out; you can eat everything in moderation to create a healthier you.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up and head to the gym. Then I stop at Two Hands for my favorite breakfast—it’s actually not on the menu. One egg over easy, kale, avocado, squash and pumpkin seeds. Then I head to Tribeca to work on the restaurant. I always come back up for lunch at Two Hands. I never know where I am going to be for dinner, so it’s really important that I eat two great meals during the day.
What’s something that relaxes you?
I keep everything in a little black notebook. I have an entire one from 2014, the last time I was in NYC. I haven’t read it yet—I think I need to wait 5 years. It’s a great way to measure growth, and to observe how much can change in such a short time.
Visit Two Hands Café at 164 Mott Street in NYC, or at her new restaurant in Tribeca, opening in April. Chef Frankie also shared a delicious recipe for one of her famous acai bowls! Try it out here:
Two Hands Acai Bowl
2 ½ frozen bananas, roughly chopped
1 cup frozen blueberries
6 oz almond milk
½ tsp cacao powder
1 tsp acai powder
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and process until smooth. Add as little or as much almond milk to reach your desired consistency. Simply top with your favorite superfoods and enjoy! We like to use hemp, chia, coconut, granola, cacao nibs and fresh berries.