Girls’ Night Out—to Go

What happens when you put together ten women, one limo, and a lot of high-end carryout?
To go with canapés such as risotto fritters and soft-shell crab legs from Equinox, Virginia Jones, Karen Ambrozy, Alison Bodor, and Suz Redfearn sipped martinis with rock-candy swizzle sticks.
To go with canapés such as risotto fritters and soft-shell crab legs from Equinox, Virginia Jones, Karen Ambrozy, Alison Bodor, and Suz Redfearn sipped martinis with rock-candy swizzle sticks.

Hemingway called Paris “a moveable feast,” but he never cruised Washington in a limo with ten girlfriends and a stack of takeout menus. Believing that takeout doesn’t have to mean Kung Pao chicken, we piled into a stretch Lincoln at dusk on a Friday with a mission to eat in style at lots of restaurants. The catch? We’d be noshing on the road, not at a table. There would be car-friendly finger food from Equinox, perhaps mezze from Zaytinya, crab cakes from Legal Sea Foods. We knew the risks: rémoulade on the leather seats, lobster on the Louis Vuitton. It didn’t matter. A group of friends who see one another mostly in business clothes, we needed a Sex and the City night.

With the White House in view, our Town Car sidled up to the seasonal American restaurant Equinox, where chef Todd Gray personally delivered our sack of gourmet starters. We bypassed the thoughtfully packed party plates and balanced the boxes on our knees. The soft-shell crab legs were as crisp and light as the Prosecco we washed them down with. My risotto fritter gave a satisfying crunch as I passed the rest of them down the car’s L-shaped banquette. We spooned apple mignonette over the shrimp-and-lobster crostini, savoring the play of sweet and sour as we made for the Lincoln Memorial.

A quick but reverent salute to the Great Emancipator put us in the mood for more American food. On to the Penn Quarter pizza pub Matchbox, where the prosciutto-studded white pizza crackled as we bit into its wood-fired crust, and we jostled for elbow room to take on the stretchy-cheesed sausage pie. A smoky Gouda mellowed the mini-burgers’ signature char and stuck alluringly to the brioche-style bun. All was well—until their accompanying onion straws landed in a shoe. We considered the situation. If Champagne can be sipped from stilettos, why not onion straws?

They never tasted so good.

But alas, so many meals, so few miles. Shrinking time—and tummy space—kept us from our mezze. And our crab cakes. But not from the evening we came for. Our last stop was a Dupont Circle dance club, a choice that would have brought a smile to Carrie Bradshaw—and to Papa Hemingway, too.

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