Thursday at the Great American Beer Fest: five sneaky-cool things to check out

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The Great American Beer Festival, which starts tonight and runs through Saturday, is a river of beer -- and a river of people -- but there are some things that don't always meet the eye: secret fishing holes, swirling eddies, rapids. Here are a couple of things to do that may not be on your radar, but should be delicious or fun tonight. Cheers.

See also:
- Best Beer Swag of Great American Beer Festival 2012
- Great American Beer Festival 2012: The People
- Great American Beer Festival 2012: The Beer


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A food critic's commitment problem nearly derails her un-fatting

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in this series:

It's been almost a year since that full-length mirror-initiated wake-up call sent me to Jamie Atlas, Bonza Bodies owner and personal trainer, with a plea that he help me un-fat my ass without forcing me to quit my job. Things went swimmingly for a long time, and I dropped pounds and toned up while continuing to indulge in booze, bacon and butter, my three favorite food groups.

And then, three months ago, I hit a wall.

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In the quest for un-fatting, the right fitness buddy is key

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in this series:

As internet memes go, I really hope this one is just about to gasp its last breath before being lost in the annals of history forever and ever and ever, so I'm sorry for using it...but its application to what the personal trainer actually does is true.

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No one trusts a skinny food critic

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in this series:

No one trusts a skinny food critic.

That sentiment was a pretty awesome excuse to gorge myself on pastries and pork fat morning, noon and night, and when I set out to un-fat my ass -- high-calorie job requirements be damned -- it was a major mental stumbling block that I had to overcome before I could really start to achieve results.


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A food critic creates a sustainable workout routine

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part ten of this series:

Ow, every single part of my body hurts -- even my eyelashes, I think.

I wish I could distill and bottle this feeling so that next time I'm tempted to fall off the workout wagon -- and believe me, there will be a next time -- I can just get a hit of this pain and reverse right back toward the straight and narrow.

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A food critic makes a St. Patrick's Day fitness resolution

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part nine of this series:

Try and guess what I ate for breakfast this morning.

If you said eggs, you're wrong. You're also wrong if you guessed steak or lamb or some sort of meat left over from the night before. In fact, if you guessed anything even related to protein -- which is what I should have eaten for breakfast, were I following the plan laid out by Jamie Atlas, Bonza Bodies owner and personal trainer extraordinaire -- you are not even close. Because for breakfast this morning, after seriously contemplating a big old wedge of cherry pie WITH ICE CREAM, I slathered a three-day-old poppyseed bagel with peanut butter and jelly (over a base of butter, for good measure) and ate the entire thing, errant drops of jelly on the plate included. Gluten, dairy, sugar, mediocre food for not-work... I think I broke every single cardinal rule of the plan. Shattered them, in fact.

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A food critic figures out how to lose weight without eating diet food at home

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part eight of this series:

"Just hope you got your dad's metabolism," my grandmother whispered in a tone full of foreboding as she strapped me into the back seat of the family minivan. "Then you won't get fat like the rest of us."

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A food critic finds motivation to stay on the weight-loss wagon for the long haul

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part seven of this series:
There have been a few defiant (mostly ice cream-related) bumps in the road since I started my grand unfatting project with Jamie Atlas over at Bonza Bodies. But for the most part, I spent the summer metamorphosing from lumpy Laura to svelte, sexy Laura at a rather regular pace. As fall hit, I stayed on track, losing weight slower but maintaining my momentum. Things are good, I thought. I'll never be fat again.

Cue the effing Christmas music, it's the holiday season. Things have changed.


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A food critic learns how to survive the holidays and still lose weight, plus a bonus refeed workout video

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part six of this series:

Three weeks into Bonza Bodies and the Jamie Atlas plan, I'd achieved a precarious balance: I was breakfasting on protein; I was cutting the excess; I was drinking later in the meal (and, therefore, drinking less); I was refeed workout-ing. And then I got on a plane to head to a wedding in San Francisco.

I know myself. That terrible, terrible mantra that "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" wasn't even a single drop in the motivation bucket to help me say no to the culinary delights in store. Because whoever came up with that mantra has obviously never tasted croissants, dim sum, lamb belly or sourdough. Moreover, that person has never known the joy of an open bar, a free-for-all buffet or the towering pre-event cheese tray.


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Trying to lose weight? Eat more like a food critic

Categories: Bar Belle

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Over the last few months, I went from the worst shape of my life to the best while continuing to eat like a food critic. Don't punch me in the face; instead, read how I did it in part five of this series:

I like to blame my line of work for my fat-ass predicament.

It's a convenient scapegoat, since as soon as I took the food-critic job, everything I shoveled in my mouth -- be it a pint of ice cream, a platter of green chile-cheese fries or a meal so rich I needed a couple of drams of Fernet to settle the stomach - could be chalked up to research. Suddenly, all-day feeding frenzies - along with 3 p.m. taco-truck snack stops, the occasional two-dinner night and massive dessert orders after massive feasts -- didn't seem out of line.

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