In the rush that was this summer I somehow missed the passing of Fred Spenner and the Sausage King, one of the really great spots in San Diego. A little shop on Washington Street in Mission Hills run by Fred and his wife, Charlotte, put out what were arguably the best German sausages in the country

I would stop in from time-to-time to pick up some bratwurst, knockwurst and a few other goodies at what was a butcher shop/deli. No tables here, it was all take out. Always enjoyed talking with Fred or Charolotte and the wonderful smells from the smokehouse.

Drove by last week and saw the place boarded up. So sad. Check out this story from NBC San Diego from June 27. And another good story, a blog post on San Diego Foodstuff from 2007.

I was by there shortly after the Super Bowl was played here in 1998. I had recently visited Milwaukee, the acknowledged sausage capital of the US. I chatted with Fred about Usinger’s, the famous Milwaukee sausage house. Fred smiled and told me that a food writer from Wisconsin was out for the Super Bowl and said his sausages were better than Usinger’s. I’ve eaten both and can tell you that was true.

So, farewell Sausage King. You will be missed.

Sometime after the Aztec game finishes on Saturday and before the Charger game on Sunday, do check out the Coronado Speed Festival. It’s an extremely unique event that’s actually a moving — fast moving — museum.

One of the great things about the car hobby is that unlike almost anything else, cars move. And for that rare owner that has the means and the will to have a priceless antique racer and actually drive it on the track, events like the Coronado Speed Festival give these pieces of history the chance to do what they were designed to do.

For the spectator, it’s an opportunity to see and hear what was. A brace of muscle cars from the ’60s running around the track? We can’t turn the clock back to the day when Richard Petty battled A.J. Foyt and others at Riverside International Raceway in Chargers, Torinos, Chevelles and Road Runners. Riverside’s now a mall and the drivers are 50 years older. We can’t turn the clock back to the 50s and see Hudson Hornets battling Oldsmobile 88s on the sand at Daytona, either. Or maybe the time machine could take us to a board track (maybe Lakeside or Pacific Beach) in the 20s to see Duesenburgs taking on Packards.

But we can watch and hear the actual cars rounding the curves on the North Island this weekend. Whether or not you’re a car nut, it’s worth seeing. Experiencing the sound waves from these vintage racers at full throttle is worth the visit. You can’t get that from a DVD.

And the elite of Southern California car culture show up. A few years back, I had the honor of hanging out with the late GM styling chief Chuck Jordan. I also met Barry Meguiar (of the car wax and TV show fame) at Coronado.

Here’s a great preview from Mark Maynard, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s auto editor. Hope to see you out there.

I was honored to work for about six weeks at FEMA headquarters in DC with a great group of professionals on the Sept. 11 recovery, arriving just a few days after the tragedy. I brought back with me some video from Ground Zero and put together this report on the Urban Search and Rescue team from San Diego. I hope you enjoy looking back at this video from December 2001.

I can’t make it, but Amphicar aficionado Steven Reich let me know that the 11th annual San Diego Amphicar Swim-In is  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 20, at Lake Miramar. Sounds like a can’t miss event for car or boat nuts. More info… Wish I could go, as seeing one of these vehicles “at sea” is something to behold. Thanks, Steven, for letting me know!

Hacienda Guest Lodge

Here’s the most popular destination on my website, Hearst’s Hacienda, the Hacienda Guest Lodge on Ft. Hunter Liggett near King City, along California’s Central Coast.

Built in 1929 by William Randolph Hearst, of Hearst’s Castle fame, it was a guest house and ranch headquarters for what was the northern half of the newspaper magnate’s ranch. Hearst sold the property to the U.S. Government in 1940 and it eventually became Ft. Hunter Liggett, an Army training center.

The “ranch house” reportedly cost $200,000 to build and looks more like a rambling mission (Mission San Antonio de Padua is nearby) than the Pondreosa. Today, it’s open to the public for overnight stays. It’s rather basic, but the prices are great as well. From there, roads twist around the mountains and over the peaks to Big Sur and the spectacular California coast.

It’s a real throwback in terms of the location and amenities. Enjoy Hearst’s Hacienda»