In 1986, Italian-born chef Edoardo Bucci was asked to cook in Agoura.
It didn’t sound like much of an idea to him at the time.
Bucci had been brought to this country from his home near Florence when he was 12 after his mother was named chef at the Italian Consulate in Los Angeles. Thirty years after learning to cook at his mother’s knee, he had gained a reputation, a following and had become head chef and part owner of two restaurants near UCLA, the Westwood Fettuccine Bar and La Bruschetta.
He liked being near a great university where people would spend hours conversing over their food. He didn’t know anything about Agoura.
Meanwhile, Dominick Annino had an idea.
Annino--who was born in the San Fernando Valley, graduated from high school in Agoura and had attended Cal State Northridge--owned an old gas station with his sister in Agoura that he wanted to turn into an upscale restaurant.
Annino was a fan of small restaurants with great chefs, and he considered Bucci a great chef.
Annino talked Bucci into looking at the property. Bucci, as did Annino, saw possibilities.
Located on Agoura Road, across from a new theater complex, the California Fettuccine Bar started out life as a watering stop on the stagecoach line between Calabasas and an area near Westlake Village.
It became a gas station, run by Standard Oil, before turning into a spa called the Seminole Hot Springs Inn, which was frequented in the 1950s by movie stars who were working at the nearby Paramount Ranch.
Then, according to Annino, it fell on hard times before being turned into a restaurant for the first time in the ‘70s. The man who ran the restaurant did well, Annino said, then fell on hard times and sold the property.
“The location was charming and had a lot of history,” Bucci said of his decision to open a third restaurant. “But there really wasn’t a lot around it when we opened.”
Now there is, and Agoura residents, as well as people up and down Ventura Freeway for miles, are beating a path to the door.
Outside the restaurant, three gas pumps from the location’s days as Scotty’s service station still stand.
Inside, Bucci features 20 or so freshly made pastas and 30 sauces.
Be It Resolved
These days, everyone’s a comedian.
The professionals are all over the movie screen and have television channels dedicated to their use.
People in high places pepper their pronouncements with witticisms, and presidents tell so many jokes you wonder if a gag writer will soon obtain cabinet-level status.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that when asked for their New Year’s resolution, the locals can’t seem to get their tongues out of their cheeks.
Asked what he had resolved for the New Year, Kenny Miller, a pool man from San Fernando, said, “To get better women,” and Mike Lecomte, a Chatsworth computer operator, said he has resolved to win big at Vegas.
People used to make resolutions about the state of their health, swearing to stop drinking and smoking and eating sweets and planning to lose 27 pounds a week and exercise like Jane Fonda on fast forward.
Now they go for the gusto and the gag, not the burn.
“My New Year’s resolution is to get a life,” said Mike Goodwin, a developer from Encino. Vince Campi, a masseur from Tarzana, said he’d like to “remain tall, happy and increasingly stupendous.”
Jack Church, a bartender from Studio City, wants “to remember women’s names and find out if I have any children out there.” Terri Phillips, an actress from Van Nuys, said she is going to get her Screen Actors Guild card and “kick Saddam Hussein’s butt, and then slap him around a little.”
Donna Bott, a teacher from Calabasas who also suffers from a sense of humor, said she’s resolved not to dance on the tables of the Sagebrush Cantina for a whole year, and Juanita Ildefonso, an accountant from Canyon Country, said she’s limiting herself to one shot of tequila a month.
Steve Katz, a shoe wholesaler from Woodland Hills, said he’d like to get more for his money this year and “continue his sexual education.” Meanwhile, Christy Gilpin, a receptionist from Sherman Oaks, said her resolution is “not to get caught.”
Deloren Lyles, a salesman from Canoga Park, aspires to “improve my respect for mankind this year.”
Lisa Allaire, an aerobics program supervisor from Panorama City, spoke for most of us when she said: “I hope my troubles last as long as my New Year’s resolutions.”
Those raindrops that have been falling on our heads aren’t really going to help the drought situation, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, because we are so dependent on the snowpack in the Sierra for most of our water supply.
Jerry Gewe, a senior engineer with DWP, said about 20% of the water we use comes from local sources, with the rest from snow up near Mammoth. And there isn’t a lot of snow near Mammoth.
Rob Carter of Van Nuys said he has figured out how to fix the situation.
He said that for years Indians have been doing rain dances to encourage the heavens to release some precipitation.
Now that we need snow, he said, all the skiers in Southern California, on a particular day at a particular time, should go out in their front yards, put on their skis, and start jumping around and pointing their ski poles toward the skies.
“That,” he said, “should get the snow gods to pay attention.”
Or a lot of people committed.
There has been a lot of talk lately about trains running hither and yon from Ventura through the valleys to downtown Los Angeles, but one of the things holding up the deal is the expected cost per ride.
Some things never change.
Back in 1887, an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times told of a Southern Pacific Railroad line from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, and some people thought that the fees then were exorbitant.
It cost 3 cents to ride from Santa Barbara to Saugus and 3 cents to ride from Saugus to Los Angeles.
“I’m not a lunatic. I’ve just been in a bad mood for 20 years.”
--In an office building in Woodland Hills