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Orange County ITINERARY

Paradise of Birds

Whether you wish to buy one, eat one or read about one, this part of Anaheim can handle it.

June 25, 1998|BENJAMIN EPSTEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Anaheim is for the birds, after all. You can buy birds, read about birds and even eat birds--some of the finest-tasting birds in the county--on and near Magnolia Avenue.

AFTERNOON, 1 2

1955 was a big year for Anaheim. Walt Disney opened Disneyland and Frank Miser Sr., a switchman for the Santa Fe Railroad, decided work was interfering with his hobby and opened the Magnolia Bird Farm on the site of a 2 1/2-acre chicken ranch with a blue parakeet named Tuffy and 13 of his winged friends.

On a recent visit, the inventory of several large birds included Corky, a double yellow-head Amazon who, according to a sign, "likes tortillas, prefers women," and Handsome, a harlequin macaw priced at $1,250, who doesn't like to be touched but loves to kiss; he even uses his tongue to affectionately lick his handler.

Lovebirds, which don't kiss, start at $30. Frugal fanciers might opt for button quail ($3) or pigeons ($2); the bird farm supplies pigeons to several churches that ceremonially release them. Budgerigars are $11.50 and up, and if your budgie won't budge, books for sale include "Taming and Training Your First Budgerigar" ($11).

To find more birds indoors and out, you can follow arrows around the maze of aviaries and cages. (Note: The Magnolia Bird Farm will be closed for two weeks beginning Sunday.)

Books at Book Baron include "All About Lovebirds," "The Private Lives of Birds," "Yellow-Fronted Amazon Parrots" and several copies of "Parrots of the World." Bird books take up eight shelves. Nearby are several aisles devoted to animals, where intriguing titles include "God's Dog," a book about coyotes. Clearance paperbacks are three for $1.

And that's just one corner of the store, which buys and sells new, used and rare books of all kinds. In fact, there are hundreds of sections listed in the store directory ("Indians" fills 16 shelves) and more that aren't listed: H.G. Wells gets six shelves, for instance, and immortality four, though stock is running low.

There's also a bargain wall as well as fiction, fantasy and tech rooms. Up front treasures include "The Adventures of Mickey Mouse, Book Number 2" ($350) and "Thumper Annual" ($85).

Music Baron (CDs and LPs) and Magazine Baron are under the same roof. In the magazine bins, browsers will find copies of Sports Illustrated, including one from 25 years ago with Secretariat on the cover, and the third issue, dated Aug. 30, 1954. Both are priced at $15, as is a 1940 issue of Saturday Evening Post.

Newsweek's John Lennon memorial cover is $8. Baseball Card Baron (which also carries Beanie Babies) and Comic Baron are in the same center, at 1242 and 1244 S. Magnolia Ave. respectively.

DINNER, 3

If you want to dine on delectable birds, you'll find Armenian-style Zankou Chicken nearby. Their rotisserie chicken is crisp, golden and juicy, served with an addictive white garlic paste, pita bread, hummus and pickled turnips. ($3.75-$4.50 for quarter chicken, $5.25 for half). Beef or chicken shwarma sandwiches ($3.25) or plates ($6.75) also can't be beat. Appetizers and side dishes include mutabbal ($2.50), a grilled eggplant paste with sesame sauce and garlic.

DESSERT, 4

There's a piece of Middle Eastern heaven next door at Sarkis Pastry, where the Armenian-Lebanese owners offer sweets from ataif to znood, an array of honeyed, cream- or nut-filled little pancakes and filo pillows. Choose from items such as mushabbek (pretzel-like farina fritters dipped in sugar syrup) and balloriyah (chopped pistachios between layers of glassy shredded wheat-like kunafa.) Arabic music adds a bit of atmosphere.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

1) Magnolia Bird Farm

8990 Cerritos Ave., (714) 527-3387

9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

2) Book Baron

1236 S. Magnolia Ave., (714) 527-7022

9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Saturday-Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday

3) Zankou Chicken

2424 W. Ball Road, Suites S-T, (714) 229-2060

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

4) Sarkis Pastry

2424 W. Ball Road, Suite V, (714) 995-6663

8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday.

Parking: There is free parking in lots at each location.

Buses: OCTA Bus No. 33 (Fullerton-Huntington Beach) runs along Magnolia Avenue with stops at Ball Road and Cerritos Avenue. Bus No. 46 (Orange-Hawaiian Gardens) runs along Ball Road with a stop at Magnolia Avenue.

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