Courtesy of Cascal Cascal's family meals, above, include a choice among salads, bread with dipping sauce, a variety of desserts and entrees ranging from paella to beef short ribs. Taste Catering & Event's French-inspired Amour Box, right, includes the option of Champagne or cocktails.

As we've been living this sheltering-in-place life, love has been front and center. It's love that has us wearing masks for the sake of protecting not just ourselves, but the more vulnerable in our communities.

Love has been the driving energy behind every reimagining of our traditions and holidays, as families, friends, schools and businesses found new ways to celebrate and mark important life milestones. Most importantly, love is central to our navigating the many losses the pandemic has brought into our lives.

Now, with Valentine’s Day upon us, we finally have the opportunity to give thanks to love. Turns out, love will make the task of celebrating Valentine’s Day easy. You see, food and wine love each other. When appropriately paired, food and wine enhance and heighten one another. An expertly prepared meal by one of our local chefs, enjoyed beside a great bottle of wine, will make this Valentine’s Day a truly unforgettable celebration of love. There are all manner of takeout options available from local chefs – many include a wine pairing option.

• ASA in Los Altos has a Valentine’s Day menu available through the entire weekend. This means you can celebrate three nights in a row. Both patio seating and takeout are available at the State Street restaurant. You could even plan with friends to pick up the same meal at ASA and then dine together over Zoom. ASA’s wine list has always been spectacular. I think its “Bowl of Soul” main would be exceptional paired with the 2016 La Cana Albarino available on its wine menu. Visit asarestaurants.com/asa-los-altos for more information.

• Aurum, Los Altos’ new restaurant on State Street, seems to be attracting all the praise and instant adoration this winter, and you can spice up your Valentine’s dinner with its many Indian-inflected to-go options. Stop in at Draeger’s for a bottle of sparkling rosé to go with your evening at home. For more information, visit aurumca.com.

• Taste Catering & Events in Milbrae will make a Valentine’s night in extra special with its French-inspired, two-person Amour Box, which includes the option of Champagne and cocktail pairings. The three-course meal allows for an extra opportunity to show love, as every meal purchased provides two meals for those in need locally through the caterer’s Hospitality Helps program. For more information, visit tastecatering.com/amour-box.

• Pull out all the stops with the Santa Clara-based Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse “Love Is on the Menu” meal, with filet mignon and choice of lobster tail or colossal shrimp. Visit flemingssteakhouse.com/experience/love-is-on-the-menu for more information.

Kid-friendly options

For many, this won’t be the year for cozy intimacy – or even driving far for pickup – because Valentine’s Day dinner will likely include kids. Two restaurants on Castro Street in Mountain View have got you covered.

• The family takeout meals at Cascal will allow you to enjoy the restaurant’s famous paella from the comfort of your kitchen table. I love paella with Tempranillo and Cinsaut, and you can find bottles of both of these red wine varietals that are well priced and available at most local grocery stores. For more information, visit cascalrestaurant.com.

• Another family celebration ideal for Valentine’s Day is Oren’s Hummus. In addition to full-meal options that can accommodate four to 10, Oren’s offers to-go wine for the adult diners to enjoy. I saw Roth Estate Pinot Noir and Covenant Blue C Viognier on its wine menu, both of which would go great with the meal. For more information, visit orenshummus.com.

Christine Moore is a Mountain View resident. Read her blog at sheepishsommelier.blogspot.com.

Valentine’s wine & dine (or nibble)

Town Crier wine columnist Christine Moore is scheduled to host a virtual wine-tasting event 5-5:45 p.m. Friday with wines from Teac Mor, her family’s Russian River Valley vineyard. You can buy a tasting set of two Teac Mor bottles (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), cheese, crackers, salami and truffle potato chips at Ava’s Market in downtown Mountain View Feb. 10 or 11 to register for the online event.