Gelato is the main draw at La Divina Gelateria (3005 Magazine St., 504-342-2634; www.ladivinagelateria.com), but there is more than that. Salads assembled with farmers market produce and Italian-style pressed sandwiches make this small local chain of cafe/gelato parlors lunch destinations too. This week, the original location on Magazine Street introduces a Friday special to showcase more of its unfrozen assets.
La Divina is calling the special its "Italian Small Plate Happy Hour," and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. each Friday in January, it offers about a dozen dishes, plus drinks from a roving cocktail pop-up. Chef Mia Calamia will prepare dishes like arancini, or fried risotto balls with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil; dates and apricots stuffed with goat cheese and pine nuts wrapped in pancetta; grilled Louisiana shrimp with white beans, arugula and pancetta; and carne brasato, which is local, grass-fed beef shank served with polenta, baby carrots and fried shallots.
La Divina is known for its Italian coffees, but at these Friday events stronger options will be available from Alchemy Lounge, a pop-up bar that will serve cocktails designed to pair with the small plates menu.