Class notes

How-To with Chris Dorsaneo, BS ’03

Co-owner and head chef, Lloyd Taco Truck

Chris Dorsaneo BS ’03

Illustration by Travis Foster

Chris Dorsaneo BS ’03

Lloyd Taco co-owner and head chef Chris Dorsaneo, BS '03. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

In 2010, Lloyd Taco Truck was exactly that—a truck. Its lone location was a lunchtime post at Main and West Mohawk in downtown Buffalo. Four years later, largely through word of mouth, the brand has exploded.

There are now three Lloyd trucks, and their schedules are packed fuller than one of Lloyd’s signature burritos, with booked locations for lunch and dinner six days a week and late-night service on weekends. Just this March, Lloyd Taco Truck was voted Mobile Cuisine’s 2014 Food Truck Taco of the Year, winning national recognition.

Lloyd is the brainchild of lifelong friends Chris Dorsaneo and Peter Cimino; Dorsaneo has the culinary training, and Cimino, the business acumen. We asked Dorsaneo for his tips on making a scrumptious Southern California-style taco.

How to build a killer So-Cal taco:

Start with a quality tortilla
If tacos are a piece of art, the tortilla is your canvas. You want to use a high-quality, flavorful one. We use 4.75-inch white corn tortillas, the most commonly found size on the streets of Southern California. Our goal is to achieve authentic taqueria-style street food.

Pick your protein
From chicken to lengua (beef tongue) to crickets, anything goes in the world of tacos. It depends on your personal preference and how adventurous you’re feeling. I personally enjoy slow roasted pork carnitas. You cook the pork butt until it’s falling off the bone, shred it and then quickly pan fry the meat to add a little crispness.

Balance your flavors
Taco toppings serve two major purposes: flavor and texture. You want the correct balance of sweetness, saltiness, creaminess, acidity and texture based on the protein you picked. For pork carnitas, my toppings would be shredded cabbage (for texture), pickled red onions (for acidity) and fresh avocado (for creaminess).

Add the final touch
The crown jewel of any So-Cal-style taco is fresh-squeezed lime and chopped cilantro. The lime elevates the flavor of anything it’s paired with and the cilantro adds a brightness that cannot be duplicated. Trust me.