Mondays can prove to be an uphill battle and last week it was just that for us, in hopes of minimizing the impact of our “Manic Monday”, we stopped by El Divino Dining & Cocktails in North McAllen to check out their Happy Hour. The craft drinks did not disappoint and we were on our way to easing some of the madness of the day.
Trisha: Gaby and I already had plans for the evening and we were certainly not in the mood for a full-course meal, so we made our way to the bar and propped ourselves up on the stools. Due to my being somewhat height challenged, it took a bit more effort for me to get comfortably seated.
Gaby: Just a bit more effort?
Trisha: You, hush!
Once I finally got situated, I noticed the fruit bowls full of fresh citrus, along with a sizeable margarita glass filled with sugar cubes. No doubt, all potential ingredients for the clever crafting of El Divino’s specialty cocktails.
Gaby: The bar shelves displayed endless rows of intoxicating libations, all sectioned by type and geographic origin. The wooden track ladder on one end of the shelves reminded me of an old library and the bartenders were El Divino’s librarians full of knowledge of the origin of liquors and chemistry between elixirs. It was as if I was facing my very own Dewey “Drinky” System! But the bar manager quickly corrected my ‘pun-ny’ joke and referred to it as the “Appalachian of Origin”.
Trisha: Even though I was mesmerized by amounts of beverage options offered, I had to take it back to basics and I chose a Carreta as my poison (tequila, lime, and carbonation).
Gaby: FUN FACT: “Let’s go back, back to the beginning” (as sung by Hilary Duff from her Come Clean single released in 2004). El Divino is where the inception of “Dishin’ It” began over a few Carretas on a Manic Monday afternoon.
I ordered a Cucumber Martini with a slight spicy rim. The fresh taste of the cucumber and vodka caused my brain, racing at 1,000mph, to let go and relax. I could finally take a deep breath in and “leave the worries of the day behind [me]” as their webpage suggests.
Trisha: Prohibition-style decor like velvet seats, dark wood (including on the ceilings), and chandeliers slightly dimmed, reflect the worry-free attitude of speak-easy owners from the Roaring 20’s. Just a sit back and enjoy the view and Carreta kind of vibe.
Gaby: I say “Cheers” to that!
Trisha: We browsed through the Bar Bites Menu and agreed on sharing the Spicy Chicken Wings basted in Peach-Habanero Sauce and topped with nuts and green onions. It was also suggested that we try the Meatballs (2) with Goat’s Milk Ricotta featuring basil and grilled toast. We happily obliged!
Gaby: While I agreed to the deliciousness about to be placed in front of us, my heart’s true desire was to taste the Beef Tartare.
Trisha: “You and your moo-ing cows! Why don’t you go to the freaking ranch already and start gnawing on one of those?”
Gaby: “What can I say? I like my meat!”
Trisha: I downed my portion of the chicken wings without a second thought. They were crispy and delicious! “What kind of nuts were those?”
Gaby: “I don’t know. The edible ones?”
Trisha: Works for me! How about a little more poultry?
Gaby: Sure. Why not?! We still have some time before the show.
Trisha: I placed an order with our bartender for the Crispy Chicken Sandwich with pickles, shredded lettuce, and sweet buttermilk dressing in House fermented hot sauce for us to share. We also each ordered a second round of drinks. This time, I requested our Carretas be prepared with Topo Chico instead of plain old carbonated water. Made all the difference in the world to my taste buds.
Gaby: As we drank down our refreshing beverages, time seemed to get away from us all. We were only 20 minutes shy of showtime but there was no sign of our sandwich. I suggested we ask to cancel our pending food order so as not to be late to the performance.
Trisha: The bartender was gracious enough to grant our request and we apologized for not having more time. I’m more than sure we’ll be back to try the sandwich, among other interesting menu items.
Gaby: El Divino has ALL-DAY Happy Hour on Mondays and Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 7pm. The drink specials include $5 Happy Hour Cocktails, $3 OFF Classic Cocktails, $5 Well Drinks and $5 House Wine options. There’s also live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Also, make sure to check out their Cigar Lounge where you can watch the game on the big screen, play a game of chess or shuffleboard, and enjoy from a variety of cigars while kicking back on some nice comfy leather couches.
Trisha: You can find El Divino Dining & Cocktails at 5001 N. 10th Street, McAllen, TX 78501. Their hours of operation are Monday-Wednesday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.; Friday & Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. They can be reached at (956) 627-3990 or through their various social media outlets.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.