Jobs in media and local government come and go. Ice cream is forever. So it happened that Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky—who'd been honing their sweet frozen craft for some time in off-work hours before getting laid off a year ago—took the leap, got themselves a cart, and opened Luca & Bosco Fine Crafted Ice Cream.
Chowhounds are on to their stuff—which debuted at weekend markets before finding a more permanent home at the Essex Street Market downtown—and they appreciate the light ice cream base, reminiscent of gelato, as well as the delicate hand with sugar in flavors like honey-lavender, goat cheese, rosemary–olive oil, and the bourbon-spiked caramel called Drunk & Salty.
The proprietors make their ice cream at Hot Bread Kitchen, the bakery and culinary incubator in East Harlem, and they've sampled from the neighborhood's Latin and Caribbean flavors, using ingredients like banana, coconut, and piloncillo. "We draw our inspiration from everything," they told Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog. "The city has truly nurtured our exploration of different foods, ingredients, and flavors." As for their name? Luca is Catherine’s white Maltese, and Bosco is Ruthie’s chocolate Labrador.
Photo of lemon cheesecake ice cream with blueberry swirl from Luca & Bosco