There's no shortage of heart-shaped treats this Valentine's Day. Essential Baking Co. (1604 N. 34th St., 206-545-0444 or 2719 E. Madison St., 206-328-0078, Seattle...

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There’s no shortage of heart-shaped treats this Valentine’s Day. Essential Baking Co. (1604 N. 34th St., 206-545-0444 or 2719 E. Madison St., 206-328-0078, Seattle) is offering heart-shaped chocolate bread, cake cookies and truffles. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has managed to produce its namesake product with red, white and pink sprinkles. If you lack a sweet tooth, Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza is selling heart-shaped pies today and Valentine’s Day.

A benefit dinner to end hunger

Help end childhood hunger at a six-course benefit dinner and auction 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at Woodinville’s The Herbfarm (14590 N.E. 145th St., 425-485-5300). Tickets cost $375 per person for cuisine prepared by host chef Keith Luce and guest chefs including Jerry Traunfeld (formerly of The Herbfarm and soon to be of Poppy) and Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce. For $500 per person, guests can dine with world-renowned sommelier Larry Stone. Proceeds benefit nonprofit group Share Our Strength’s efforts to fight hunger.

Dinner parties carve a path through Seattle

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Town Hall’s Talk of the Town dinner parties are returning for a fourth year, featuring food from eight Seattle-area restaurants including Cafe Juanita, Matt’s in the Market, Volunteer Park Cafe and Sitka & Spruce. The March 14 event costs $250 per person (proceeds benefit programming at the arts and cultural center) and begins with a 5 p.m. cocktail reception at Town Hall (1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle), followed at 7 p.m. by dinner at private homes around Seattle. Celebrity dinner guests include new Seattle Storm co-owner Anne Levinson, relationship expert Pepper Schwartz, King County Councilmember Larry Phillips, Chip Giller (founder of online environmental journal Grist) and Seattle bar maven Linda Derschang. Visit or call 206-652-4255 for more information.

Other morsels

Now open: The Capital Grille (1301 Fourth Ave., Seattle, 206-382-0900) offers 40 wine lockers to keep up to a dozen favorite bottles on hand (more than half are already rented, at $350 per year). Wines from Washington and Oregon are the most requested so far says spokeswoman Laura Young.

Coming to Bellevue: Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar owner John Howie will open a namesake steakhouse in 2009. John Howie Steak will join a new Wild Ginger in The Bravern, a multi-use project under construction that also will house residential towers, thousands of Microsoft employees and high-end stores like Neiman Marcus and Jimmy Choo Shoes.

Coming this summer: Barrio, a Northwest-inspired Mexican restaurant by Larry and Tabitha Kurofsky, the folks behind Purple Café and Wine Bar. It will join Café Presse, La Spiga, Lark, Crave and other restaurants along 12th Avenue in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. At Southcenter mall, five new restaurants will open as part of the shopping center’s $240 million remodel — Joeys, Duke’s Chowder House, Blue C Sushi, Racha Thai & Asian Bistro and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.

Also: The Georgian will offer fine-dining etiquette classes the first Thursday of the month through 2008 for $69 per person (including dinner with wine and valet parking, tax and tip not included). Call the Fairmont Olympic Hotel at 206-621-1700 for reservations.

Karen Gaudette, Seattle Times staff reporter

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