Tuesday, July 14, 2015


H and I are soccer fans, enjoying the fact that Salt Lake City has its own team, Real Salt Lake (who are doing terribly right now, by the way).  We watched a lot of the men's and women's World Cups and we have gotten into the British Premier League.  We even have our own BPL teams to root for: he's for Arsenal and I like Swansea, the only remaining Welsh team.

While watching the most recent men's World Cup, we were introduced to Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, also known as Men In Blazers, and then once the World Cup was over, we kept watching their BPL recap show on t.v.  Some people find their shtick tiresome but we think it's just the right amount of bonkers.  (H does miss a lot of their pop culture references; I explain where I am able.)  When we learned that the Esquire channel had hired them to cover the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, we knew we'd watch, despite not really having much foreknowledge of or interest in the event.

We've learned a lot, actually, because Rog and Davo have done a good job of adding historical and cultural context, including lots of interviews with notable Spanish and American bull-runners, Pamplonan restaurateurs and local figures, all in between calling play-by-plays of the action and being dutifully horrified at the gorings.  For the record, they seem to be on the bulls' side more often than not, especially when the runners display above average idiocy.  One thing they've been doing with each episode is featuring a local beverage or food.  One that piqued our interest was kalimotxo, a half and half mixture of red wine and regular Coca-Cola.  It's a recently developed beverage, starting in the Basque region of Spain, and the revelers at the Sanfermines festival and encierro, a/k/a the running of the bulls in Pamplona, drink it by the liters.

"Poor man's sangria," you betcha

We tried it and ... amazingly, it isn't that bad, with a sangria sort of feel to it.  Even the New York Times is on board.  We didn't drink enough of it to kill the whole two liter bottle of regular Coke I bought, but it was certainly quaffable.  (Next up?  The Men in Blazers also have been enjoying the uniquely Basque combination of chocolate milk and cognac ...)

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