Tijuana celebrates a century of the Caesar salad with festival

A festival will be hosted on Sunday, July 7 on Avenida Revolución

An original Caesar salad at its birthplace, the Hotel Caesar's in Tijuana, Mexico in July 2024, 100 years since its invention. (NBC 7 San Diego)
NBC 7 San Diego

It is known throughout the world, but not everyone knows that its origin is Mexican. We are talking about the Caesar salad, which was created a century ago in the city of Tijuana.

"Lettuce, dressing, and a lot of love."

It was the height of prohibition in the United States, in 1924, when the city of Tijuana was a boom for visitors looking for fun. Avenida Revolución captured the story of one of the new benchmarks of international gastronomy: The Caesar salad.

"The first name it had was aviator's salad since the first people to try it were aviator pilots who visited this restaurant," said Ricardo Castro, a Caesar salad maker at Hotel Caesars in Tijuana.

It was the house salad that, three years later was renamed in honor of its creator: César Cardini.

The outside of Hotel Caesar's in Tijuana on Sept. 7, 2023. (NBC 7 San Diego)
The inside of Hotel Caesars in Tijuana, Mexico in July 2024. (NBC 7 San Diego)
Salad Master Efrain Montoya prepares a Caesar salad in front of an image of the inventor of the salad, Caesar Cardini, at Ceasar's restaurant Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Tijuana, Mexico. Caesar salad has something to celebrate: It's turning 100. Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini is said to have invented the dish on July 4, 1924, at his restaurant, Caesar's Place, in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

"It transmits a lot of history, it transmits heritage, it transmits part of Tijuana, so I really like to make it," Castro said. "I really like that people know the history and know that it is a 100% Mexican salad."

It's Mexican, but with the Italian touch of its creator 100 years ago.

The centennial will be celebrated in a big way at the festival that bears his name and that for more than a decade has been part of the Plascencia Group, who seek to preserve the tradition and expand the legacy.

"It is an iconic dish. Anywhere you go, you will find a Caesar salad. What we want to achieve now is making the original recipe a staple internationally."

It's a dish that is a tourist attraction and a must for visitors from all over the world, according to Chef Nadia of Caesar's Restaurant.

But the original recipe does have its secret. Ingredients include anchovies, Dijon mustard, egg, olive oil and more.

Starting Wednesday, there will be four days of a lot of partying on Avenida Revolución between 4th and 5th Streets in honor of the salad that will conclude on Sunday with a festival where more than 800 people are expected. The festival will include wine tasting, food prepared chefs from around the region, and live music.

You can purchase tickets to the event here.

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