This month marks the 92nd anniversary of Tijuana’s most internationally renowned dish, the Caesar salad, born at Restaurante Caesar’s (Avenida Revolución, between Fourth and Fifth streets).
The salad was first thrown together (literally) on July 4, 1924, when a group of U.S. Air Force pilots from San Diego and their families swarmed Caesar Cardini’s famed Italian restaurant, mere blocks south of the border, as part of their Independence Day celebration. Legend has it that chef Livio Santini, understocked but aiming to please, whipped together a simple salad he remembered from his childhood in Italy: full leaves of romaine lettuce bathed in a dressing made of anchovies, garlic, black pepper, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, freshly squeezed lime juice, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and day-old bread.
After that the salad’s fame supposedly spread thanks to another American, Wallis Simpson, the jet-setting socialite and wife of Prince Edward of Wales, who asked for her salad to be prepared the same way wherever she traveled around the world. The rest, as they say, es historia.
In 2007, Restaurante Caesar’s won the Guinness World Record for largest Caesar salad at 3.287 tons, tossed by 160 chefs. The following year, renowned chef Javier Plascencia’s family bought the restaurant, where his grandfather had once worked as a bartender.