Valerie’s Valentine Gift Guide

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With Valentine’s day coming up this week, (and being a big V-Day fan myself), I decided to curate my very own gift guide for my radio show “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone.” I picked five categories and chose a unique selection for each one.

Special Night Out Experience

Rob Kevlin at Feinsteins/54 Below
Dance Photography

A truly wonderful New York night is coming up on Feb 22: an evening with singer Rob Kevlin, who has been compared to a cross between Josh Groban and Michael Buble. The songs Rob sings include favorites from Broadway and the great American songbook, as well as originals. The evening with Rob at Feinstein’s/54 Below will also serve as the launch of Rob’s new CD, “It’s a New Day.” Rob’s show will feature vocalist Kathy Jenkins. And, announcing a very special guest artist: Grammy and Tony award winning Jennifer Holliday will appear.

Pick up tickets to Rob’s Feb. 22 show at the fabulous Feinstein’s/54 Below. Doors open at 8:45 PM, for a 9:30 show. Get ticket here.

A Different Kind of Heart

Heart Necklace

You’ll need something to wear on your New York night out, so how about a heart necklace? And I don’t mean the typical heart-shaped charm. I mean an anatomically correct looking heart, fabricated in brass on a black chain, handmade in Bari, Italy. This incredibly unique heart necklace truly makes a statement and celebrates the independent spirit of your loved one.

Designed by Vincent Tropepe Fashions, an emerging footwear and accessories brand, designer Vincent incorporates motivational messages into many of his designs. His footwear features all vegan products. All items in the Vincent Tropepe line are handmade in Italy.

Dinner and a Rose

Etcetera Etecetera, NYC

Now on to a Valentine’s dinner at one of the sexiest restaurants I know. It is my go-to place in the theatre district. Etcetera, Etcetera Restaurant on West 44th Street is known for its sleek design and red accents – perfect for V-Day dining.

Handsome proprietor Daniele Kucera is offering a lovely prix fixe menu for 68.50 with four courses that include a delicious sounding lobster appetizer. For $12 more per person, you can enjoy live music in the upstairs room while dining. Specialty cocktails will be available and every lady gets a red rose.

Heart-Shaped Breakfast Food

the bagelnook, heart shaped bagels

I wanted to know if anyone made a heart shaped bagel, and thanks to trusty Google, I found a bakery that does just that. The Bagel Nook in Freehold, New Jersey creates hand crafted heart-shaped bagels, swirled with red and pink. Available for national delivery. Starting your Valentine’s Day off with a heart-shaped bagel and a robust cup of coffee is a great way to kick off this day celebrating the heart. Terrific to serve for a Valentine’s weekend brunch too.

A New Cocktail to Share

Pisco cocktail

There is a spirit receiving a lot of buzz these days. Although it may be new to you, this alcoholic beverage has an ancient and rich history, with a very interesting tradition.

Pisco, the national spirit of Peru, is distilled entirely from grapes from only five regions in Peru. A brandy, Pisco is recognized for its floral and fruity notes. Caravedo Pisco is made at Hacienda La Caravedo, the oldest distillery in the Americas, established in 1684!

To add to the air of romanticism surrounding Pisco, it’s interesting to learn that in days gone by, fans of the spirit included literary icons Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway.

Pisco can be sipped alone or crafted into a cocktail.

Here’s a recipe for the Tierra D’Oro, a Caravedo Pisco cocktail available at: Jim Kearns, Happiest Hour & Slowly Shirley,


2oz Caravedo Mosto Verde
1½oz Aji Amarillo Syrup*
¾oz Lime Juice
½oz Passion Fruit Syrup+
½oz Ceres Guava Juice
½oz Pineapple Juice

Stir/serve in a goblet, over ice. Garnish with pineapple leaf and an orchid.
Garnish punch bowl with edible flowers.

*8oz, by weight, dehydrated aji Aamarillo, rested on 40oz hot water, at about 200° (water can cool during the hydration process), for at least
1 hour. Strain. Add liquid to one pound of turbinado sugar to make
32oz of syrup.

+Equal parts Goya frozen passionfruit purée and simple syrup#

1lb turbinado sugar, with water to produce 32oz Syrup.

For more information on Pisco, go to

So there you have it, five ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day with my “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” Valentine’s Day Gift Guide. Happy V-Day to you and yours!

Bagels and Broadway

Listen Saturday between 9 and 10 AM for my Valentine’s special on
AM970, online, Alexa, and following the show on my podcast.

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