At the California Mid-State Fair, it’s tempting to leave your diet at the gate and wade into the annual indulgences of funnel cakes, cotton candy, corn dogs and anything else stuck on a stick and deep-fried. However, there are also some lighter — or at least a bit healthier — options available, and many of them are from locally owned and operated businesses.
The 2013 Mid-State Fair marks the 20th year that Tommy and Gretchen Gonyer of the Crushed Grape have offered fair-goers a menu based on the sandwiches and salads from their San Luis Obispo deli. (They also offer a wide variety of local wines by-the-glass, as well.)
Relax at one of the shaded picnic tables in the Crushed Grape area just across from the carnival entrance and enjoy an antipasto tray, a turkey Caesar wrap, or one of several veggie and pasta salads. For something easy to munch on while you’re walking around, try the mozzarella/basil/veggie kabobs, which are new to the lineup this year.
Big Bubba’s Bad to the Bone BBQ
Anyone who’s been to the Big Bubba’s restaurant just north of the fairgrounds knows that there are a host of hearty meats on the menu, but at its fair booth it also offers a couple of lighter alternatives. Gnaw away on one of the whopping turkey legs that are popular with fair-goers, or bite into summertime with one of the grilled corn on the cobs.
LaGuardia’s Italian Deli
This Paso Robles deli has brought its signature housemade pork sausage sandwich to the Mid-State Fair. True, this might not strictly qualify as lighter fare per se, but it is made according to owner Lou LaGuardia’s grandmother’s recipe dating back to 1912 and is served on a locally made rustic roll with grilled peppers and onions.
15 Degrees C
Throughout the fair, the 15 Degrees C wine bar from Templeton plays host in a relaxing space in the Mission Square, serving wine flights, beer on tap and a light food menu. Choose from a Central Coast cheese plate, a couple of salads, and either a veggie or meat boccadillo sandwich.
Leo Leo Gelato
Well, OK, it is ice cream, but for a refreshing taste of Italy that’s made right in Paso Robles, try one of Leo Leo Gelato’s 17 flavors. Go for chocolate or vanilla, pistachio or pineapple, tangerine basil or sea salt caramel. Note that the toffee chip flavor is made with PasoAlmond toffee, and there’s also a new chocolate flavor debuting at the fair made with Firestone Walker’s Double India Pale Ale beer.
Though it’s now an international brand, Jamba Juice did get its start in San Luis Obispo. Cool off with one of the four fruit-based smoothies, such as the Mango a Go Go or the non-dairy Strawberry Swirl.