Lloyd turns 2: a recap - PHOTOS
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 04, 2012 @ 10:13am
The cult following that Lloyd Taco Truck has garnered over the last two years was in full effect last weekend at Artisan Kitchens and Baths. Well over 100 people congregated to try the food truck’s new menu items and celebrate an impressive two years that have included Buffalo Spree and Artvoice Best of Buffalo awards, a successful Kickstarter campaign and the birth of a second truck.
Hosting a party featuring all-you-can-eat tacos is a dangerous task for both the host and the consumer, as Lloyd was not prepared for the tidal wave of customers—and it was an irresistible temptation not to over-eat the carbohydrate-laden tacos. But we just had to sample everything!
“It was unexpected,” co-founder and head chef Chris Dorsaneo said about the packed party. “I’m a little overwhelmed by all of this, and I’m definitely humbled.”
Here’s a look at the new menu items with a description, feedback and a photo:
Watermelon and feta salad: Because the crowd huddled around the center booth at Artisan Kitchens and Baths—where all the new tacos were being distributed—few Lloydians visited the far table where the taco shells were being heated and the watermelon and feta salad was made. A simple dish with watermelon, cherry tomatoes and hearty chunks of feta cheese was refreshing, as the tomatoes were particularly ripe and sweet, the watermelon was juicy and the cheese delivered a nice bite of contrast. A dish appropriate for warmer weather months, I bet we’ll see the salad debut on the truck either in the coming weeks or next spring.
Al Pastor tacos: Speaking with Dorsaneo at the end of the evening, he admitted that the Al Pastor tacos were easily the most popular at both the pre-birthday tastings and the birthday party itself. Described as a “traditional Mexican pork taco marinated in annatto sauce and topped with pineapple salsa,” the Al Pastor was a proud blend of sweet and spicy, chewy and juicy.
While I thought the tacos were a bit over-hyped when I tried them at the party, I went back for more outside Thirsty Buffalo later that night. The Al Pastor was the “special” burrito on the truck—confirming Dorsaneo’s thought that it’d be introduced first on the real menu—and with the rice and black beans and more rocket sauce, the meal went from overrated to delicious.
Dorsaneo indicated that the Al Pastor was more complex than simply pork and pineapple, as the individual flavors of cloves and vinegar, combined with the “murky, muddy” flavor of the annatto seed, joined with the sweet juiciness of small pineapple chunks. Frankly, it’s one of those dishes that you chew slowly and relish the different tastes—or scratch your head in confusion about what you’re eating. It’s absolutely worth trying, though, and because it’s easy to prepare in bulk, expect to see it offered again soon.
“Dirty South” tacos: I was most excited for this debut, as the “Dirty South” tacos included buttermilk fried chicken, waffle strings, maple syrup, bacon mayo and Olmstead Fams baby kale (which you could tell Dorsaneo was pretty pumped about). Described by Dorsaneo as “adventurous,” the Dirty South tacos earned mixed reviews from the Buffalo.com team. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the sweetness and texture of maple syrup on anything other than pancakes or French toast, but I can say that the fried chicken was delicious and the waffle strings were crafty. While I may not have a very Southern palate, the “Dirty South” tacos could survive as a menu item.
“I’m a huge fan of chicken and waffles, but I could have appreciated some spice or pepper in the chicken,” said Buffalo.com’s S.J. Velasquez.
Skinny Thai tofu tacos: Easily the most risky of the newcomers, Dorsaneo decided on the tofu tacos (fried tofu, Thai peanut sauce, pickled cucumbers and toasted peanuts) over calamari tacos, which unfortunately didn’t make the cut for the birthday party.
“Many people are automatically turned off when they hear tofu,” Dorsaneo explained, “so we tried to add some strong flavors to accompany it.”
Because it was fried, the tofu’s texture was still chewy without the typical sponginess/gelatinous feel that usually turns people off. I started eating this with the notion that I’d hate it, but it actually wound up being one of my favorites. The tacos were sweet in flavor, and the crushed peanuts, peanut sauce and pickled cucumbers were really the dominant tastes, not so much the tofu. Pad Thai lovers will rejoice if this hits Lloyd’s menu.
“El Santo” rib-eye tacos: Defined as “grilled Aztec-rubbed rib-eye steak, roasted red pepper sauce and charred green onions,” these tacos were pretty standard. While I hoped that the Aztec-rub would result in a stronger flavor, the rib-eye was very tender and the roasted red pepper sauce was an appropriate pal. I’m not sure if the title refers to the legendary Mexican wrestler or if it’s “saintly,” but I wouldn’t hesitate to order this in burrito form.
Lloyd’s Puddin’: Rich chocolate pudding with dulce de leche caramel, Lloyd’s pudding was awfully decadent—but it still had a touch of what makes the taco truck’s Aztec hot chocolate so phenomenal: pepper (cayenne, I believe). Dorsaneo and co-owner Peter Cimino ran out of the pudding quickly, but S.J. touted the gooey caramel and the crunchy, sweet peanut brittle that lent a crunch. Sorry that I don’t have a photo, but here’s the ice cream that they served with the remaining caramel and brittle.
Dorsaneo dished out a bit of a teaser in regard to Lloyd’s future, as both Dorsaneo and Cimino have taken on more administrative roles now that the Lloyd employee count as closed in on 10. The business is currently considering either franchising to Rochester or building out a fleet of trucks—a brick-and-mortar restaurant is in the talks as well. While no plans have been set in stone, there are clearly grand plans on the horizon for Lloyd Taco Truck.
For a much crisper, less-Instagram’d gallery, check out Buffalo Eats’ post.