The weather held out this Saturday and an estimated 40000 people took in Hats Off Day along the Heights business area for some food, bands, kids activities, and much more. Historically, Hats Off Day was a way for the merchants of The Heights community along Hastings (Burnaby)to celebrate their independance from the rest of the lower mainland and also to give patronage to their customers. For more information about the Heights, visit the Burnaby Heights page.
I attended Hats Off Day last year, but this year was a far better event, with higher turnout, warmer weather, and more eateries!
It's always interesting to see what happens in a year - last years' Mexican restaurant is this years Thai / Chinese restaurant. Last years' clothing store is this years Indian take out. Since The Heights neighbourhood is not too far from our own, M and I were glad to find some new places to dine.
Sfinaki Greek Taverna had the whole grill going as usual, with the owner (and his makeshift loudspeaker) telling you how delicious his chicken souvlaki was!
We (i.e. M!) were also pleased to discover Heavenly Bites, a small Indian restaurant which is family owned and operated, with delicious beef samosas (M had three to himself!) and rotis. We also tried the vegetable pakoras, but since they weren't as big sellers as the beef samosas, they were room temperature. :( I do think we'll be getting take out sometime soon - they offer a large selection of "Tiffin Box" combos, which seem to include an entree, rice, and a side dish, all for $9.95!
As usual, Tom Yum Thai did not disappoint - they were our favourite eatery last year and for something so simple (pad thai and spring rolls) they were well anticipated. Their storefront had a constant lineup and they had a bit of a time keeping up to demand.
We enjoyed so much
Grilled sardines ("freshly imported from Portugal!" one of the men tending the grill told me.) ...I guess I'll have to order some grilled sardines on the Drive this weekend, on Car Free Day (Sunday, June 14th).
...as well as grilled juicy chicken from the Legion... :( My only comfort is telling myself that since there were such large batches of chicken, maybe, just maybe the chicken wasn't marinated long enough or it was overcooked. But the smells and the huge lineups said otherwise.
We also missed out on trying satays from a new (?) Thai restaurant near / at where there used to be a Mexican / Latin American restaurant. Damn. Damn you, eyes-bigger-than-stomache-syndrome, why do you plague me so?!
Aside from the food, Hats Off Day offered more, like the Elvises of past, present, and future (there was even an Asian Elvis, however he was performing at the time of this photo so he's not in this shot)....
...hot wet firemen (a la dunk tank style!)...
and murals throughout the area. This one graces the wall of Red Apple Farm Market.
What I like about outdoor events + Vancouver? People *love* their dogs. And dogs are all the more than welcome by me...you know, with the exception (as with children) that their parents are aware of their surroundings and others' personal space!
We saw a *huge* gentle and friendly Italian mastiff (love the grey coat!), a dog that looked like Sandy from Annie the musical (after a bath. :), and a cute German Shepard pup who is just growing used to his bigger body. Love love love those dogs...they have such character!
And of course, we saw a little bit of the "like owner, like dog" syndrome. heehee! I'll bet that the couple on the left are both extremely graceful runners, while the owner and pooch on the right would probably enjoy a good meal and music (saw them near the musical Italian duo who appear at EVERY Italian wedding and event. :)
It was a great Hats Off Day...where as last years event almost made me want to give up on The Heights, this years event made me want to return!
For more photos, please visit my Flickr photoset.