Media Personality, Actress, Producer, Writer
Valerie Smaldone, Valerie Smaldone, a 5 time Billboard Magazine Award winner, is perhaps best known for her unprecedented success holding the #1 position in the New York radio market as the midday host of New York’s 106.7 FM. She was also the co-creator, writer, producer and host of 'Spotlight On,' a nationally syndicated program that featured in-depth interviews with top recording artists such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting and Celine Dion, to name a few.
Presently, Valerie can be heard on her new daily radio show, Valerie’s New York on WOR.710.com. She is also the voice of numerous commercials and television promos. She has been the “Voice of God” for many prestigious live events including: The Clinton Global Initiative, The New York Emmy Awards, The Tony Preview Concert on CBS, and many more. She writes a weekly nightlife column for TheThreeTomatoes.com and writes a theater column for Examiner.com.
As adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts, Valerie teaches a course on Internet Radio and Voice-over, coaches talent privately, and produces promo reels and demo tapes for various clients.
An actress and writer, she has appeared in numerous off -Broadway productions and co-wrote a play with music entitled, "Spit it Out!"
Winter, hot chocolate and pizza!
Call me crazy, but I am enjoying this winter tremendously.
Unlike most people who complain bitterly about our weather conditions, you can usually find me walking happily with a pep in my step (as much as is humanly possible with huge drifts of snow atop an icy layer on the ground) because of the tremendous personality of this season. You've got to admit, Winter, 2011 is spunky.
While most people are whining about needing warmth and sun, or counting the hours till the first day of spring, or as guys on sports radio do, give us a daily update of how many days to go till "pitchers and catchers" (aka Spring Training), I am trying to hold on to the long, dark and cold nights.
I find comfort in the winter. I think it gives us pause and allows us to make excuses to stay indoors. It gives us a pass somehow.
And I love the winter meals: the hearty soups, the comfort foods, the stews with chicken and vegetables, and oh yes, the wines.
All those lovely deep, ruby red wines that pair so well with winter dishes.
Then there are the hot and satisfying beverages.
I make it a habit of walking through Union Square whenever the vendors are there so that I can sample different spicy hot apple ciders from various farm stands.
During this season, you can enjoy bracing teas (sometimes served with whiskey), specialty coffees and silky hot chocolates.
Which brings me to Burdick's at 5 East 20th street. A new tradition for me, at least once a week, is to sneak in to this beautiful shop for one of the best cups of chocolate in New York. Seriously, if you want a "real deal" hot chocolate you must try Burdick's, the coffee/hot chocolate/treat shop housed in a beautiful and charming brick building. Inside, pretty lights and stylish decorations make it so incredibly inviting to stay and enjoy your steaming sweet cup of heaven.
One of the great winter meals to indulge in is brick oven pizza and wine in a warm and cozy environment. Recently, I discovered a new pizza place in the East Village called Plum.
The name is an homage to the all important plum tomato, which after all, is the essential ingredient in a traditional Italian pizza pie. Owners Alex and Adonis, two lovely Greek guys, preside over this yummy Italian pizzeria and pasteria with great pride. Plum is a terrific place to hang indoors on a snowy winter's night.
This casual eatery boasts a superior wine list, many of which are available by the glass. As a bonus, reduced price drinks are served during happy hour from 4-7 pm daily.
One of the highlights of the evening for me was a delicious Caprese salad which offset the carb heavy pizza/pasta meal!
There's nothing like a crispy crust pizza with great tomatoes and lots of basil on top!
Due to the exposed brick oven and brick walls, delicious pastas (available as individual or family size portions), authentic Italian pizzas, and fabulous wines, Plum is a fine spot to frequent on a frigid winter evening.
Plum is located on 2nd Avenue, between 9th and 10th.
By the way, on the off chance that you are a fan of warmer weather, (you can smile!) when the NYC snows melt and the Spring eventually arrives, they do have outdoor seating.
Till then, here's to the warmth and coziness of this reasonable and delicious dining spot.