When you think 16 Handles, you generally think cookie- and candy-covered dessert. (Or maybe that’s just me?)
But Solomon Choi, founder of the New York City-based frozen yogurt chain, is a seriously healthy eater and mega athlete.
Last year, he finished four triathlons, the New York City Marathon, and a Spartan Race. This year, he plans to double his number of triathlons. “There’s a certain level of calmness in it for me,” Choi says. “When I’m participating, I don’t feel like I’m competing with anyone else except for myself.” (It’s a feeling he probably cherishes, considering in his professional life, a new competitor pops up almost daily.)
And when it comes to food, froyo fits into his diet alongside kombucha, homemade green juice, and keeping an open mind. “I eat pretty much everything, and all types of cuisines. I like to travel and eat what the locals eat,” he says. “I think anything in moderation is fine. Cutting anything out completely is one thing I’m not a fan of.”
Here’s how that plays out in the entrepreneur’s daily life, at his home in Murray Hill and at 16 Handles, where, by the way, he doesn’t even order toppings.
I see you have kombucha. I love things that are fermented, and the carbonation wakes me up. I don’t drink coffee.
Interesting. And are those veggies hiding in the drawer? Yes, I juice them. I have one recipe that I make over and over. It’s kale, spinach, ginger, carrot, celery, beet, and cucumber. I do that three times a week, in the morning. I have a slow juicer. It takes longer, about 15 minutes. It gets more of the nutrients out.
Have you ever considered a green juice-flavored frozen yogurt? In April, we have a new smoothie coming out called the Oh Kale Yeah smoothie. It incorporates our yogurt into it.
Ha! You don’t have a lot of food in your fridge. Does that mean you eat out a lot? I do, but what you don’t see is my freezer. I have a bunch of frozen food from Personal Trainer Food, which are high protein, low fat, low carb. I eat that more as I’m gearing up for a race.
What’s in the yellow package on the top shelf? That’s Japanese daikon—it’s a radish. It does so well with Asian noodles. It’s been in there for a while. It used to be three times as big.
What about those jars on the bottom? That’s fermented stuff from the Korean market, and hot bean paste. I use it for Korean barbeque. I get a large lettuce leaf and put the meat and the paste in and wrap it up. High protein, low carb, without the rice.
And I have to ask, how often do you eat 16 Handles? It depends on the weather, really. Definitely more when it’s warmer. We have a machine in the office to test the new flavors. I definitely give my feedback.
What’s your favorite? Right now it’s the Mango Sorbet. But if I want to indulge, it’s the Salted Caramel. I’m more of a purist, so toppings are usually strawberries and blueberries, or none at all. —Jamie McKillop
For more information, visit www.16handles.com
(Photo: 16 Handles)