Last year, I was getting my driver’s license renewed and struck up a conversation with the woman at the licensing office who was helping me. She was getting ready to retire and was excited to have more time to sew. Every year she sews mini quilt squares and on the back she writes witty quotes — bon mots, she calls them — and sends them out for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day 2021

She asked if I’d like one, noting she already had my address. I said of course, thanked her, and promptly forgot about it until Valentine’s Day when I got a little padded envelope in the mail. My bon mot read, “It’s not what we have in life but who we have in our life that matters.”

She sent 148 Valentines last year, mine marked as number 46. I don’t know her name (but if you’re reading this, hi and thank you!), the envelope only had a return address on it, but I just found mine in my desk drawer last week and it got me thinking of love and kindness.

Write a Valentine’s Day love letter to Seattle, Puget Sound and Washington state

We might not be donning our best and clinking glasses over leisurely candlelit dinners at our favorite restaurants this year, in fact some of us might be feeling more alone than ever. But it doesn’t mean we aren’t wanting a little love and kindness in the form of food.


Seattle-area restaurants are taking the year in stride, offering opportunities to get fancy with full dinners, cocktail packages and even heart-shaped pizzas (cheesy, but my favorite). Here’s where to get nine different Valentine’s Day dinners and take them home to share with whomever you love.

Shiro’s Sushi

2401 Second Ave., Seattle; 206-443-9844;

This Belltown sushi specialist is offering a Valentine’s Platter for two ($160) with tuna, salmon, kasugodai (young sea bream), eel, tiger prawn, urchin, lobster and more. Dinner includes dessert. Platters can be reserved by phone now or online beginning Feb. 12 for pickup Feb. 12-14.


Capitol Hill: 615 19th Ave. E., Seattle; 206-325-2111; Bellevue: 10245 Main St., Bellevue; 425-635-1112;

Both locations of the Vietnamese eatery are offering a seafood-focused meal kit for two ($60) with Dungeness crab rolls, fried-oyster-and-pickled-mustard-green fried rice, and pan-seared scallops in a sweet ginger broth. Add a bottle of Champagne ($25) or bottled cocktails ($10-$18). Call to reserve for pickup.


401 N. 36th St., Seattle; 206-547-2040;

Each Valentine’s Day meal kit for two ($150) from this Fremont spot comes with a signed, personalized copy of chef/owner Rachel Yang’s cookbook “My Rice Bowl,” plus a corned lamb salad kit, short rib dumpling kit, crab noodle kit and a gochujang chocolate torte. Wine and cocktails are available as add-ons ($25). Call or go online to order, pickup on Feb. 13.



1421 31st Ave. S., Seattle; 206-568-7715;

The dinners at this Japanese-French bistro in Mount Baker are priced solo, meaning you can really treat yourself if you’re practicing self-love this Valentine’s Day. The five-course meal ($95) includes an octopus and chickpea salad, red beet risotto and port-braised beef cheek. All dishes will come cold, but with detailed heating instructions. Call to order by Monday, Feb. 8, for pickup on Feb. 12.

Rainshadow Meats

1531 Melrose Ave., Seattle; 206-467-6328;

There are three dinner-kit options available at this Capitol Hill butcher shop, each containing snacks, a bottle of wine and detailed instructions on how to turn your box of raw ingredients into a meal for two (with leftovers): a cassoulet box with confit duck leg ($110); a cote de boeuf box with a substantial bone-in rib-eye sourced from Othello’s Pure Country Farms ($125); and a ragu and Mixtape Pasta box complete with fresh bucatini from Mixtape Pasta and a quart of ragu ($100). Order online for pickup Feb. 12-14.


Lady Jaye

4523 California Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-457-4029;

The West Seattle smokehouse is offering four dinner options for two, including a Dungeness crab roll and filet mignon dinner, complete with six sides ($75), and a cassoulet dinner for two ($75). Maple bread pudding ($15), prawn cocktail appetizers ($18) and to-go cocktails are available for add-ons. Order online in advance for pickup on Feb. 14.


4303 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle; 206-547-2144;

Fremont’s Lupo has put together a special designed for pizza lovers that includes two heart-shaped Neapolitan-style pizzas, a bottle of wine, salad and housemade ice cream ($55). Add on a jar of hot honey ($5) or bottle of chili oil ($18) to really spice things up. Order online for pickup on Feb. 14.

Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi

10400 N.E. Fourth St., Suite 3100, Bellevue; 425-625-2080;

This swanky Bellevue steakhouse is offering a four-course dinner that begins with an amuse-bouche of either king crab takoyaki or a kusshi oyster and ends with a strawberry napoleon. Pricing is based on your choice of main course: filet mignon and lobster ravioli ($250), king salmon Wellington and cauliflower ($200) or pistachio-crusted lamb and scallops ($225) with sides. Cocktails and wine are available to add on; each dinner for two comes with a half-bottle of cuvee. Order online now for pickup on Feb. 14.


1508 Melrose Ave., Seattle; 206-906-9606;

There’s everything from doughnuts ($4.50 for two) to a full lamb shank dinner at this Capitol Hill spot, specializing in modern Middle Eastern eats. The full lamb shank dinner for two ($75) is accompanied by a parsnip purée, pink chicory salad, farro pilaf, hummus, bread and labneh. Add on a wine package ($50) or opt for just cocktails and dessert ($25). Order online in advance for pickup on Feb. 13.