Two legends taken down


This is a food update special report. It has come to my attention the end of two true legends in the food world that many people probably don’t know, but they’ve eaten their creations.

Ceasar’s Restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico
Ceasar’s was the birthplace of the Ceasar Salad in the 1920s. Yes, Mexico. The salad has nothing to do with the Roman emperors of the same name. While you can find handmade Ceasar Salads outside of Mexico, you won’t be getting one at it’s birthplace. Ceasar’s is closing due to crime, drug violence, falling economy and swine flu scares…all of which caused drops in tourism.

Here’s the classic recipe for a Ceasar Salad, give it a try sometime:

4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
6-8 anchovy filets, finely chopped
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 medium-sized lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Approximately 1/2 cup olive oil
1 large head Romaine lettuce, cleaned, broken into large pieces and chilled
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Approximately 2 cups croutons

Use a large salad bowl, preferably wooden. Rub garlic all over inside of bowl using back of spoon to crush pieces. Do the same with the anchovies. Add the egg and beat well, breaking down any pieces of white. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and pepper. Taste for adjustments. Add olive oil, beating well to emulsify. The amount of oil is dependent upon the size of the lemon, etc. I always take a crouton, dip it into the dressing at this point, taste for seasonings and add more oil if needed. Just before serving, add lettuce, cheese and croutons. Toss well. Place in serving bowls.

The next to fall:

Moderno in Piedras Negras, Mexico
A Moderno waiter, Ignatio “Nacho” Anaya is credited with inventing the nacho, which was whipped up in a hurry after the kitchen had closed for American visitors. His quick thinking resulted in a toasted corn tortilla chip with melted cheese and a jalapeño slice, which he named the “nacho” after his nickname. Again, a slump in tourism cased by drug violence and fear of swine flu claimed this restaurant as well.

It’s always sad to hear of a restaurant closing let alone ones that create legendary foods. Next time you have a Ceasar Salad or Nachos, remember these folks and raise a shot of Tequila to their names. Vaya con dios.


~ by JR Prospal on 21 September 2009.

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