When you land first place in the Healthy Options category of the Taste of Buffalo, what do you do for an encore?
In the case of Lloyd Taco Truck, you stick with what brought you success – at the festival, at your food trucks and at brick-and-motor locations.
Lloyd will again offer its black bean taco during the 2019 Taste, which will take place next weekend in and around Niagara Square.
“We want to bring a vegetarian option when we go to events and very much try and do things that a wide range of people can have," said Ally Ruiz Balcerzak, marketing manager with Lloyd.
Lloyd also will offer beef, pork or chicken tacos, nachos with Roja and queso, and Krazy Korn — the latter, at least, a small-taste treat that would never be mistaken for nutritious fare.
Still, each of the 56 restaurants and food trucks will carry at least one menu item low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, and deemed a Healthy Option by nutritionists with Independent Health.
Both Healthy Options and Taste-sized menu items are designated in the festival guide, available at tasteofbuffalo.com. They also will be designated on each restaurant menu banner during the Taste, which runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 13 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 14.
Other tantalizing Healthy Options will include Thai Watermelon Gazpacho with Marinated Crab & Shrimp (Patina 250), Turkey burger sliders (716) and garlic grilled shrimp skewers (Alex’s Place), as well as Tuna TarTar Shooters (Salvatore’s Italian Gardens), vegan eggplant parm (Cecelia’s) and mango smoothies (Clarence Center Coffee Co. & Cafe).
Last year was the first time Lloyd was recognized in the winner’s circle for what was its top-selling dish there in 2018.
“It was exciting, especially winning the Healthy Options,” Ruiz Balcerzak said. “There is really stiff competition in the category. Everyone is being much more conscious now of what they’re offering and what they’re serving, especially with all the new restaurants opening up and joining the Taste of Buffalo.”
Lloyd has offered the black bean taco as an option at the festival every year since 2010, when it launched the first food truck in greater Buffalo, Ruiz Balcerzak said. The item, which also comes in a burrito size, is part of the company’s Old School menu. It’s made with stewed, organic black beans grown locally and a chimi-dressed cabbage slaw.
The vegetarian option has gained a loyal following during the last decade. Those who order it at the festival fall into two categories, Ruiz Balcerzak said: Those who eat it at Lloyd locations in the region and embrace it for its taste and nutritional benefits, and those from out of town who have heard about Lloyd and want to try something healthy.
Admission to the Taste is free. Each menu item will sell for $1 to $5. Food and beverage tickets will continue to be sold in $5 sheets at three ticket tents on festival grounds, with cash, Visa and Mastercard accepted. Presale food ticket vouchers of $10 or $50 are available at Tops Markets, the lead sponsor. Each $50 voucher comes with a coupon redeemable for four free non-alcoholic beverage coupons during the festival.
For families, the Taste also includes a Fun KidZone with hands-on, pop-up food play exhibits, the Explore & More Children’s Museum milking cow, and a teddy bear hospital where kids can run a WellNow bear through an X-ray machine and see the results.
The Police Athletic League of Buffalo will bring its bike helmet safety program to the Buffalo Police Department tent inside Niagara Square. Bike helmet giveaways, helmet fittings and bike safety information will be available.