When It's Too Hot Out For Coffee, Just Grab Buli's Naughty Toddy
Photos By Daniel Rodrigue
Not everybody had a Memorial Day spent reveling in work-free, care-free bliss; for many of us the holiday was pretty close to the same ol' daily grind. And, not naming names, but a handful of us showed up at Observer HQ on Monday.
By noon, Roasted had already finished off the lion's share of a carafe of our office-supplied coffee, which we brew up from less-than stellar, pre-portioned pouches of ground coffee.
Roasted likes to think of the stuff more as coffee-flavored caffeine water, and, honestly, if you drink enough then the brew will keep you going through the day. But, after the pot ran out and it came time for a mid-afternoon coffee break and sugar fix, Roasted was craving a stiffer, more palatable brew.
So, with thoughts of sugar and caffeine on the brain, the first place Roasted thought of was Buli -- a nearby Oak Lawn-area coffee shop and café that, in addition to offering a wide selection of coffee and espresso-based drinks, serves everything from muffins, Danishes, scones, sandwiches and omelets for breakfast to deli sandwiches, salads and grilled paninis for lunch or dinner.
But, on Monday afternoon, Roasted was dead set on something from Buli's amazing array of sweet-tooth sating cookies, cakes, brownies and pies to complement our serious coffee, and, yeah, caffeine addiction. An addiction which it's worth noting may be a little deeper today, because following the recommendation of one of Buli's friendly baristas, Roasted tried his first Naughty Toddy.
See, by the time we left the air-conditioned comfort of the office, drove to Buli (located at 3908 Cedar Springs just a block north of Oak Lawn), parked the car and walked to the coffee shop in the 90-plus degree afternoon heat, well, the last thing we wanted to sip on while devouring a giant slice of pie or hunk of cake was another steaming hot cup of joe -- even if Buli had a better brew than the beans back at the office.
On a daily basis, the shop brews up Buli Bold and a medium-roast called Bliss (both worth the trip), as well as two rotating flavored coffees like the recent choices of vanilla nut or raspberry white chocolate. On Monday, one of the two baristas working the counter suggested the shop's iced coffee as a whew-it's-hot-out-there alternative.
Not every coffee shop's iced coffee is created equally, and, when the brew's off, the result is an iced coffee that's both weak and tasteless (it'll look a bit like iced tea) or it'll be so strong that it ends up tasting acidic, sour or burnt.
But, the barista insisted that Buli's iced coffee was "good," and that the shop brews it using the Toddy or cold brew method, as opposed to simply brewing up a batch of extra strong coffee and then pouring it over ice like many coffee shops do.
Most folks tend to call cold brewed coffee simply Toddy, or Toddy coffee, despite the term and method being trademarked by some guy named Todd (think the Kleenex or Coke status of name/product adoption). And, if you follow that last link, you'll learn that Toss Simpson's cold brewing method results in a coffee that's been found to be smoother on the stomach than traditional brewing methods.
So, instead of ordering a "large iced coffee" like we would have ordered at most other coffee shops not located smack dab in the heart of the gayborhood, Roasted ended up leaving with a huge slice of carrot cake and a "Big Girl Naughty Toddy."
A Big Girl is the shop's large 20-ounce size, with the Butch being the smaller 16-ounce size. And, from the drink sizes down, the LGBTQ entendres are scattered across Buli's menu.
For example, of you want a hot cup of brewed coffee with a shot of espresso, normally known by coffee-shop lingo as simply as a "red eye," at Buli you'll have to ask for a Scream'n Queen. Want a shot of espresso? Order a Twink. Add whipped cream to that and you'll be sipping on a Creamy Twink.
But, aside from the tongue-in-cheek terminology and the metal lunch boxes that the sandwiches are served in, Buli stands as a serious coffee shop that provides the coffee or espresso hound in need of a bite to eat covered from 7 a.m to 10 p.m. weekdays, with later hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
The shop also offers "free-with-purchase" WiFi, though, at peak hours and on weekends the place can be too hoppin' with people to find a spot to work.
Buli (pronounced BYOO-lee) is an acronym for "Because U Love It" (according to this very insightful Dallas Voice piece preserved on Buli's website from back when the shop opened its doors), and, since opening in 2004, the shop has become quite the well-loved, bustling neighborhood hang out.
And Roasted highly recommends the Naughty Toddy, which provided the kick we needed to make it through the rest of the afternoon. The cold-brewed stuff was strong, yet smooth and literally good to the last sip without cream, sugar or any other hanky panky at the condiment bar.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.