Big Jim’s in the Run

This morning, Natalia called Lindsay for a brunch date.

Natalia, dealing with a pathetic addiction to bubble tea, suggested Lulu’s or the Rose Tea Cafe.

“But I choke on those damn things!” Lindsay replied. “How about … Big Jim’s in the Run?”

Okay … so screw the bubble tea! Not quite Greenfield, not quite Hazelwood, the Run is a neighborhood unto itself. To the unanointed, you’ve probably driven past the Four Mile Run neighborhood many times driving on the Junction Hollow Bridge on 376 East:

big jim's

Make the sharp turn on Saline Street from the Greenfield Ave. Second Ave & Hazelwood Ave. intersections. That red building – it looks like Big Jim’s, located at 201 Saline St.

We arrived at 11:45am. “Um … I kind of want a beer right now,” Lindsay said. I liked that idea, so we promptly ordered a Yeungling and Rolling Rock and REALLY BIG YUMMY veggie and chargrilled chicken sandwiches. Rumour is that the fish sandwich and italian sausage are excellent as well.

We love BIG JIM’S because it’s pretty much embodies all that we love about the ‘burgh. Amazing food, low price, good service, interesting characters and surprising location. A stroll around the block run reveals a playground, headquarters of a local labor union, a beautiful old church and a patchwork of houses and apartments. There’s another bar – Chaser’s in the Run. We have plans to go back.


Call Big Jim at (412) 421-0532. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12am; Sun 10am-11pm.

Cinco De Mayo is coming soon

I am not sure why it did not occur to me to me write a post about Mad Mex before. Mad Mex is like a home away from home for me, so I guess I assumed that everyone knows about it and eats there as often as I do. I don’t have time to give a full ode to Mad Mex – I am sitting here at Mad Mex finishing my excellent lunch special and I have to hurry so I can get back to work.
But I did want to take a moment to give everyone a head up about Cinco de Mayo celebrations at Mad Mex. I just gave my lovely server Sarah one of the I Heart PGH baby buttons and some of the other servers have already stopped by to see if I have more. I heart Mad Mex and the staff loves this website.

Anyhow, Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that I think should be celebrated – so save the date on your calendar and head over to Mad Mex for
$1 off Mexican Bottles
Breakfast Burritos starting at 9am
$5 big azz margaritas
A Chance to win free mad mex for a year (which is about the best thing I would ever want to win ever)
Mad Mex Menu

Where is this place? The original Mad Mex is hidden in Oakland. Great location (just be warned it is usually loud there.) Plus there are some other Mad Mex locations in ‘gasp’ the suburbs. Which is another reason I heart Mad Mex because they provide a safe and healthy place for me to dine on those rare ocassions I have to stray from the city.
Click here for a list of Mad Mex locations.

Bloomfield Bridge Tavern

Friday evening I visited the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern with some friends. This was my first time there, and I took some ribbing from people who said “and you’re from Pittsburgh?!” The place was very easy to find coming from Oakland. I don’t think I would have found the parking lot for the place though, as you need to pass the Tavern and then turn through a neighborhood street.

So onto the review. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the place was empty when we arrived around 5PM. It was a warm day so they had the entire front of the Tavern opened up to the outside. It made for a very nice light and airy atmosphere. The beer selection was pretty impressive, from a large selection of bottles to drafts. I sampled some Polish beers and found them quite unique (unfortunately I don’t recall the names, as I could barely pronounce them anyways!)

But the reason I wanted to visit this place is the Polish food. I played it brave and ordered the Czarnina for starters. Czarnina is duck blood soup. I overlooked the color and aroma of the soup when it arrived. Needless to say the flavor of the soup is obviously an acquired taste because I couldn’t bring myself to finish it! Next I ordered the sampler platter which included kielbasa, pierogies, haluska and golabkis. I was very impressed by the food, and let’s just say that these pierogies were not the frozen Mrs. T’s!! They literally melted in my mouth. The food was also served piping hot. I will definitely go back again. Lastly, the service was outstanding and our server was very friendly and prompt, and had no objections to breaking the bill apart for everyone.

The Bloomfield Bridge Tavern is open from 11am to 2am and is located at 4412 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield.

Hotness – Pittsburgh’s answer to Pink

The party’s inside, so click inside!

Oh yes. It’s HOTNESS, our favorite fuschia-wearin’ silver-sequined spectacle on the Pittsburgh muzack scene. Lindsay and I became Hotness fans when we first saw him play at the Shadow Lounge last year. And we were so excited when we found that the party anthem “We Gotta!” now has a MUSIC VIDEO. (“I got a feeling / from the boredom patrol / that we gotta! / get this party started right now!”) Take that, Pink.

This March 2005 article from the City Paper explains why we love Hotness:

“At a typical show, he does most everything on the fly, often playing along to a CD of pre-recorded material, improvising lyrics and dancing clumsily as he goes. He passes out pots, pans, muffin tins and other kitchen utensils, encouraging the audience to add its own percussion; most enthusiastically comply. At a recent house show in South Oakland, the crowded basement full of twentysomethings took the notion to heart, banging on heating vents while Doggett sang his party anthem, “If You Are What You Eat, Then I Must Eat a Lot of Awesome,â€Â? which commands, “If the party’s inside, let’s go inside,â€Â? and “if the party’s in the tree, let’s get in the tree,â€Â? among other poeticisms.”

Note: “If You Are What You Eat, Then I Must Eat a Lot of Awesome” does not yet have a music video.

You can see Hotness and friend Weird Paul for FREE!! next Thursday April 27. at the Quiet Storm. They will be playing the “Be Well Healthcare Resources for the Uninsured” zine release event at 8PM.

Come to think of it, Hotness is more like Pittsburgh’s answer to Norway’s Hurra Torpedo. Now isn’t that something! We don’t have to travel to Norway to see music made with kitchen appliances!

The Next Warhol?

Right now in the Hall of Sculpture of the Carnegie Museum, works produced by students in the studio art programs are on display. The youth programs at the Carnegie nurtured the early talents of such Pittsburgh artists as Andy Warhol and Renee Stout. Walking through the variations on a project, like many examples of “figure proportion study,” I already got a sense of some of the young talents’ imitations and innovations in the exercise. It is well worth seeing if you are already at the museum, maybe taking note of a name or two, because you never know when you might preview the next Warhol.