WTF (What The Food) Wednesday: Caesar Salad

Et tu, Tijuana?

When you think Mexican cuisine, you probably don't conjure images of a fine Caesar salad beside your chips, salsa, and queso. So, how did this salad fit for an emperor come to be? Let's find out today on WTF Wednesday.


The Caesar Salad

Throughout the rest of North America and Europe, the Caesar salad serves as a staple side dish. Many folks even think it was named after a fellow that so selfishly named a month after himself, Julius Caesar... jerk. However, our story starts in Tijuana, Mexico.

As with many great things, the Caesar salad was born in a moment of quiet desperation. On a particularly busy weekend, the hero of our tale, Caesar Cardini, was serving patrons with all the effort of a fine Italian-American entrepreneur. However, supplies in the kitchen began to run low, and the patrons kept piling in.

Caesar grabbed some croutons, romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, and threw them into a bowl in a pinch. To his horror, the dressing was also gone. So, he threw together some olive oil, egg yolks, some Worcestershire sauce, lemon, mustard, garlic, and pepper together. Alas, the flavor was one-dimensional at best. That's when he spotted a lonely, unused jar of anchovies. Maybe... just, maybe.

BOOM! An instant classic. Soon, patrons were coming back to Caesar's restaurant asking for Caesar's salad. I hope that dude was able to get some royalties or something!


Fun Fact

If you love a good Caesar salad, then you need to thank prohibition. Caesar was a partner in a few restaurants in California through the 1910s. That is until congress thought we Americans had had enough alcohol (if only they could see us now) and enacted prohibition. Caesar kept his American holdings but opened up an eatery in Tijuana so that he could still serve alcohol.

Known as the city that was Vegas before Vegas was Vegas, Tijuana was always packed with patrons looking to get away from their day to day grind and unwind with a drink. Thus, on one July (see Julius again) 4th, Americans overran Caesar's diner, and the classic was born of a need to find some food to go with the booze..

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