First though, these guys should go die in a fire. Walking past their storefront window is pure torture every time. They seem to revel in making the ugliest clothing imaginable, and then putting it on light-up mannequin so that it can assault you from a distance. I can't find the main monstrosity on their website, so this shapeless sack will have to do.
There are a few clothing stores on Walnut Street and the surrounding areas that have some gorgeous stuff. Y'know, if you're into paying >$100 for a blouse. Shit, one store was charging >$300 for a non-formal dress. There's a similarly overpriced furniture store ($400 for candlesticks! AFTER a 25% markdown? If I wanted to pay too much for candlesticks, I'd go to the Pottery Barn!).
There are some great stores though. There's a "General Store" which "generally" sells toys. But they're great old-school style toys. The sorts of toys you buy for a dollar and enjoy for the entire summer. And they also still carry candy cigarettes. It's nice to see that our children can still be exposed to bad habits at a young age. It makes me feel warm inside.
There's also an SW Randall. Pittsburgh's answer to FAO Schwartz, it's a decent toy store with a good variety. There's another one in Downtown Pittsburgh, and that one has some really cool stuff. Lots of tin-robots, etc. Also on the toy vein, there's a Japanese imports store, mostly focusing on the cute-stuffed-type-animals (the place is named Kawaii fer chrissakes).
The biggest treat in terms of consumer-whoredom is this little store named "Kards Unlimited" or something equally inane. I remember "Kards" from the sign. The front window displayed ironic t-shirts and posters- so I wasn't really expecting much. A low rent novelty shop or something. I pretty much ignored the store for awhile, but recently, they put a Breakfast at Tiffany's poster on display. Minna loves Audrey Hepburn, so we decided to investigate.
The store was shockingly awesome. It's got this "little-of-everything" approach that just works out brilliantly. There's an army of the trendy nerdy action figures. Cube toys. They have a small section devoted to books, and they chose very well. Lots of Vonnegut, Gaiman, Dick. We picked up a volume of Lovecraft (since we don't actually own any). There's very little by way of mass-market-best-seller-paperbacks, and a lot more real gems. Looking at what's available, I almost take seeing a book there as a recommendation from a trusted source. There's kids books too. All of Oz, craploads of Roald Dahl. Even real treats like "The Hungry Caterpillar" and "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". The A.A. Miline Pooh.
There are some awesome restaurants. The Thai restaurant (aptly named: The Thai Place) was incredible. Nothing like having your food on the table five minutes after ordering and enjoying every bite. I'm sorry Sukothai, but you've got nothing on this joint.
There's a place that specializes in crepes (savory and sweet) and makes for a great breakfast (it's so crepey though). True to its French roots, it offers nothing by way of customer service, but the food is good. Speaking of good breakfasts, there's also a Pamela's, which is a bit of a chain around here. It's like Romona's on Lark Street, but somewhat larger and better lit. And, well, there's more of them. Directly above it is a chocolate store, complete with all the deadly treats you could ever want.
There's a few of the standard pub-food type places. And there's also the devil restaurant, the Walnut Grille. American Apparel can make room in the fire for this place- which should also die in a fire. The menu is overpriced, the food isn't that great, they screwed up my order. The real big thing though? When you order a burger, you get just that- a burger. For each topping you want (mushrooms, cheese, etc) it's a $1. That's right, a friggin' dollar to slap a slice of cheese on your burger. We don't intend to go back there, when Doc's, right next door, offers better food (but less pretentious "mahi tuna" and more "burger") cheaper.
So far, my biggest complaint is that it's hard to find a place near Walnut street with a decent selection of beers on tap. I haven't been looking that actively, mind you. There's a place not too far from here that has an army of imported beers available (and a great cremé brulee), but there's no walking-distance-pub that has Magic Hat. Or Killian's. Or any of the beers I particularly like. The ghetto chopper by Lark Street offered a better selection of beers. I can get Yengling, which is okay, but let me tell you- I'm sick of Yengling. And don't get me started on the communist state-run beer stores (no beer in the grocery stores? how is this civilized?)
This is a great neighborhood though, once you get past the pretentious hipster scumbags, the "designer" clothing with the ridiculous markup.
//This messages has been brought to you by the YOU SHOULD VISIT REMY IN PITTSBURGH foundation.
//No animals were harmed in the making of this message.