Sunday, July 12, 2015

Running Drinking with the bulls

Mr. Mouse and I don't watch a lot of the same stuff.  We have agreed upon Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Justified and Cougar Town, but he would rather have a tooth pulled than watch the genre stuff that I love, and just last week I was horrified to catch him watching a History Channel show on grease.  Not Grease, the classic Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta musical, but grease, the stuff you slop onto moving parts so they don't get stuck.  Seriously, for that I have no words.  We do tend to like the same sort of televised sports (except that he does like motorized vehicles rushing around on tracks and I don't at all): soccer, Olympics both winter and summer (but not gymnastics or figure skating), skiing, American Ninja Warrior, triathlons, curling, etc.  In the last couple of years, we've really stepped up our soccer consumption: Salt Lake City has its own team, Real Salt Lake (who are doing terribly right now, btw); plus the men's and women's World Cup; plus 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 television recap show on the BPL.  Some people find their shtick tiresome but we think it's just the right amount of bonkers.  (Mr. Mouse does miss a lot of their Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, LotR, and other references; I explain where necessary.)  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 do a good job of adding historical and cultural context, including lots of interviews with notable Spanish and American bull-runners, Pamplonan restauranteurs 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.

We tried it (good grief, when was the last time I ever drank Coke that wasn't diet?) and ... amazingly, it isn't that bad, with a sangria sort of feel to it.  Even the New York Times is on board.  I'm not sure we'll drink enough of it to kill that two liter of regular Coke I bought, but it was certainly quaffable.  (Next up?  The Basque combination of chocolate milk and cognac ...)

Poor man's sangria, right there