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Orange County ITINERARY

Walking a Pine Line

Long Beach avenue hawks city surplus, African art, sushi . . .

July 02, 1998|BENJAMIN EPSTEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

You've marveled at the sea lions and sea dragons and petted the stingrays, and now you're fishing for fun stuff to do after the Aquarium of the Pacific. Nearby Pine Avenue offers plenty to reel you in.

AFTERNOON, 1 2 3 4

If you're hoping to take home a piece of Long Beach, City Goods is the place to find it. Alongside a variety of souvenirs--including Long Beach shot glasses--the shop sells furniture and other city surplus items such as a Long Beach Fire Department hydrant painted with Dalmatian spots. (Spotted hydrants are $125; unpainted, they're $75.)

City street signs start at $15; an architect's blueprint file is $50; a three-ring binder, no doubt used to bureaucratic ends, is 75 cents. You can keep the aquarium in mind with fish jewelry or otter magnets.

Those with an interest in North African rugs or ceramics will go nuts at Morocco's Gallery. The walls are lined with comfortable Moroccan clothing too.

Sir Tony's & Brotherly Love offers hip-hop fashions, body oils and incense. The incense, made on the premises, is $1 for 20 sticks.

Among unusually named scented candles ($3) are Jesus Lord and Prosperity. "Smell that--Success!" said one gentleman who called himself Brother Mathias, who was running the store in Sir Tony's absence and suggesting that the candle had a whiff of money in its fragrance. Perhaps he hoped to derive some vicarious pleasure--he said he's taken a vow of poverty.

Ancient Arts Imports offers art, ethnic masks and antique furniture of Asia and Africa. Contemporary silver rings start at $9; a 19th century Japanese bronze stove is $35,000.

According to a sign and a stack of fliers, you can design and order your own cartouche through the shop, in gold or silver: Artisans in the Khan et Kalili bazaar--in Egypt!--will purportedly transform any name, word or phrase you choose into ancient hieroglyphics.

DINNER, 5

Stick to the fish theme, and sample some sea creatures--oysters.

"He was a bold man who first swallowed an oyster," said King James I, or so he's quoted on the walls at King's Fish House. Also on the walls are mounted rainbow trout, barracuda and other faux fish. The menu describes King's as "home of fresh topless salty oysters . . . shucked to order." And get this: "Free pickles to pregnant women!"

The selection of regional oysters changes daily. Among those recently available were Blue Point oysters from Long Island, N.Y., which have a straightforward finish; Fanny Bay oysters from British Columbia, less firm and said to have a mild mineral taste; and flavorful Imperial Eagle oysters from Vancouver Island, which have a watermelon finish--no fooling.

The brew list includes King Crab Honey Ale (from Irvine's Bayhawk Ales) and Humpback Migration Ale (from landlocked Modesto). Whether you go for oysters or a complete dinner, King's admonishes that "Seven days without fish makes one weak."

Holy mackerel! As if upscale California cuisine, jazz, dancing, billiards and a private cigar room weren't enough, Mum's--opposite King's at 144 Pine Ave.--has added a sushi bar.

Among dozens of choices are surf clam ($3.25), sea eel ($4) and sea urchin ($6.50). The big news is "samurai half-price sushi," served 5 to 7 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. Bargains include tuna or yellowtail for $1.65 and spicy yellowtail or Alaskan hand rolls for $2.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

1) Morocco's Gallery

318 Pine Ave., (562) 499-6817

10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily

2) City Goods

309 Pine Ave., (562) 435-7915

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday

3) Sir Tony's & Brotherly Love

329 Pine Ave., (562) 436-3537

11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily

4) Ancient Arts Imports

343 Pine Ave., (562) 590-8982

Noon-8 p.m. daily

5) King's Fish House

100 W. Broadway, (562) 432-7463

11:15 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11:15 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11:15 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Monday

Parking: There is three hours' free parking in the city lot at Long Beach Plaza, 4th Street and Pine Avenue.

Buses: Passport Route C runs from the Aquarium of the Paciic along Pine Avenue to 3rd Street. OCTA Buses No. 1 (San Clemente-Long Beach), No. 50 (Orange-Long Beach) and No. 60 (Tustin-Long Beach) connect with Long Beach bus lines at the Long Beach V.A. Hospital.

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