by Ian McNulty
Gelato is the marquee draw at La Divina Gelateria, but that’s not the full story. Salads assembled with farmers market produce and Italian-style pressed sandwiches make this small local café/gelato parlor chain a destination for light meals too too, and this week its Magazine Street flagship introduces a new Friday special to showcase more of its non-frozen assets.
La Divina is calling the special its Italian Small Plate Happy Hour, and each Friday through the end of the January, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. it features about a dozen different hot and cold dishes, all meant to be shared, plus drinks from a roving cocktail pop-up.
Mia Calamia, the former pastry chef at Herbsaint and Patois, has been in charge of the savory side of the menu at La Divina since 2011 and she’s been gradually upping the ante here with annual “locavore” dinners and other foodie events.
For these new Friday happy hours, she’ll prepare dishes like arancini, or fried risotto balls with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil; antipasto and cheese plates; a mixed seafood frutti di mare plate; dates and apricots stuffed with goat cheese, pine nuts and pancetta; grilled Louisiana shrimp with white beans; and carne brasato, or local, grass-fed beef shank served with polenta, baby carrots and fried shallots; among others. Prices range from $6 to $14.
Italian coffee drinks are normally the go-to beverages at La Divina, but since these Friday specials are dubbed “happy hours” it follows that stronger options will be available. Those will come from Alchemy Lounge, a pop-up bar catering operation that will mix cocktails designed to pair with the small plates menu.
Note that the Italian Small Plates Happy Hour is at La Divina’s Magazine Street location only, and continues Jan. 4, 11, 18 and 25.
La Divina Gelateria
3005 Magazine St., 504-342-2634