Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, sadly, never got to enjoy this combo of lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese and a creamy dressing made using anchovies. It was created centuries later by chef Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico.
Like other origin stories, this one has gotten a little fuzzy over the years. Some say Cardini created the dish when he was running low on food one weekend and just threw some things together for one of his customers. Others say it was created by Cardini's business partner, Paul Maggiora, and called "aviator's salad" after it was made for American airmen stationed in nearby San Diego. (During Prohibition, many restaurants moved to Tijuana so they could serve alcohol.) A third version of the story says Caesar Cardini's brother Alex made it from a family recipe to serve to the airmen in the morning after a night of drinking. At any rate, the salad quickly grew in popularity and different versions are served at thousands of restaurants today. Cardini's Caesar salad dressing is also sold in grocery stores.
Originally Published: Dec 16, 2016