We started out at Sugar Lounge on Hayes with some forgetable appetizers, but the drinks were great and the bar is very hospitable. It was a perfect choice to start the evening on a fun, lively note. They have a good selection of tequilas, vodkas, and premium liquors, but their drink menu of frilly, sugary concoctions was not what we wanted. I will go back. Good bartenders, good music, good vibe! Thanks to Maya for the suggestion.
Then all 9 of us walked across the street to Hayes Street Grill. We were seated immediately and given plenty of time to order drinks and peruse the menu. The Alaskan Halibut and Bodega Bay Wild Salmon were the hits of the evening, along with those fabulous french fries. I still think they are the best in the bay area, perfectly fried and salted with crunchy exteriors and creamy interiors. We were all swooning. The side vegie that night was a mix of summer squashes with some basil, not unusual or inventive, but the preparation was stellar, remaining toothsome and not overpowered by the herb.
After 2 hours, we walked around the corner to Citizen Cake. The front house staff was gracious, efficient, and prepared for us. However we had the waiter from hell, who gave us such attitude about our orders (which he apparently didn't approve of) that it put a damper on the whole evening. But we rallied when we got our selections. The best of the bunch, the Blueberry Hill, described on their website as a sauté of blueberries and corn, corn crumblers, bacon ice cream for $10. I loved this, it was wacky and smoky and slightly sweet, with perfect complimentary flavors with the blueberry being front and center and the corn, supporting. The bacon flavor in the ice cream was genius. Then as we were leaving and closing the place down, the counter staff started handing us packages of leftover cookies for us to take with, a very nice touch.