Lake Cuyamaca Restaurant and Market
15027 Highway 79, Lake Cuyamaca
When the first winter snows come, Franz Dorninger's is the place to be, watching the wildlife over steamy, wildlife-crowded Lake Cuyamaca. Golden eagles. Bald eagles. Foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats have all been spotted. Beyond the open deck (great for summer breakfasts) the lake stretches out to distant blue mountains. Inside, you're biting into Austrian-style knackwurst, broiled bratwurst, smoked bratwurst, or smoked pork chop with potatoes and sauerkraut, all Dorninger specialties. "The bratwurst is my grandfather's recipe," Dorninger says. "When I was seven years old in Linz, he taught me how to grind the meat, clean the intestines, add the spices, stuff the sausage. Now I have a butcher in San Diego who makes these exactly as my grandfather made them." Franz says the absolute best time to come is at full moon. "Come watch it rise over the lake," he says. And if you're not driving, try one of his 17.5-oz. bottles of Edelweiss dark cloudy beer.