two hands tribeca

Two Hands – a proven favorite with the OVERT team and City Girls alike – is no newbie to the food and coffee scene in NYC. With its strong sense of community and growing fan base for some of the best coffee and brunch in the city.

But – something you might NOT know; is that Two Hands have launched a dinner menu, available now at their most recently opened location in Tribeca, and yes, it includes cocktails like the Aussie favorite – Espresso Martini.

Part of the success of Two Hands is that they utilize only the freshest and in-season ingredients, designing dishes that are not only superb in taste, but sincerely pieces of art that showcase the ingredients in all their glory. Much like the space itself with its’ colorful yet clean and minimal design and the welcoming (and good looking!) Aussie team.

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So who is behind these creations? Say hello to superstar and City Girl – Frankie Cox. She took some time out of the kitchen to give us a first-hand view of what is actually involved when designing a menu and sourcing only the best produce in a city like New York.

two hands Frankie

Where do you begin when designing a menu!?

I generally like to head outdoors. Spending a lot of time indoors in the kitchen means it’s important to get outside and understand the season. This time of the year is especially inspiring. The air starts to smell fresh again, the blossoms are in full bloom and the tulips are popping up in garden beds all over the city. I have a very strong sense of smell, so menu items generally start there. When I walk through the streets and smell spring, I try to translate that to the plate. I also get a lot of leads with a quick trip to the Union Square greenmarket. Seeing the produce in the flesh, feeling its weight and being exposed to the array of colors definitely helps build relationships and ideas for the plates.

Burrata Two Hands 11041I also always try to make sure I have a little bit on the menu for everyone. So that plays a big role in shaping the menu. The menu is very vegetable-driven. All plates are very wholesome, some are more light and others a little heartier. My food is not complicated. It’s all about bringing together ingredients that work and then creating a balance through different dimensions from there. I always like to play around with the different possible outcomes from one given ingredient. Whether it be raw, blanched, roasted, charred, pickled and so on. And then playing around with different cuts to find what works best on the plate. The options are always endless. Sometimes it’s hard to let go! But whichever method best highlights that particular ingredient always creates something special.

What are you most excited about cooking for Spring/Summer?

I’m excited about the color green. I keep coming back to the smell of freshly cut grass. I love all the different onions that are available at this time of the year, especially spring onions. The bulbs are so sweet but then the tops so herbaceous and grassy. I also particularly love flowering greens at this time of the year. The broccolini I have coming in for the brassicas bowl currently has beautiful little white flowers shooting out of the stems. They’re almost too beautiful to cook!

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Is there anything new you have discovered that you hadn’t ever cooked with?

Ramps. People go crazy for them over here at this time of the year. They have such a short season, so they create their own demand. They’re a wild onion that essentially taste like a hybrid of onion and garlic. They are delicious but they come at a price!

What is in Season for Spring?

  • Spring onions
  • Fiddleheads
  • Ramps
  • Asparagus
  • Mustard greens
  • Peas
  • Sugar snap peas

Your tips on where best to get it? And signs to look for the most fresh product?

The Greenmarket is always a great place to start. All the vendors there work really hard to get their beautiful produce on the table. It’s also nice to talk to something who can tell you about how the season has been for particular produce and then direct you towards what is at its peak. In terms of what to look for in the most fresh produce, I always go by colour, smell and feel. It’s always going to vary between different products. Again, you can always ask for a second opinion at the market.

Best farms/farmers markets to visit upstate?

In terms of farmers markets, a weekend day trip to Blue Hill at Stone Barns is always a great day out. Not only is the fresh air a great welcome, but you can purchase beautiful fresh produce from the farm shop as well as take a tour or stroll at our own leisure of the property. Highly recommended!

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“My food is not complicated. It’s all about bringing together ingredients that work and then creating a balance through different dimensions from there. I always like to play around with the different possible outcomes from one given ingredient.”

Frankie Cox, Head Chef – Two Hands Restaurant & Bar

VISIT Two Hands

@ 251 Church Street, Tribeca