A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 07, 2016
Caesar Salad

Caesar salad is not named after the Roman emperor Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC). Caesar Cardini (1896-1956), an Italian immigrant, operated a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, where it’s claimed that the salad was first served in 1923 or 1924. A Caesar salad usually consists of romaine lettuce, croutons and parmesan cheese, among other ingredients.

The salad became famous in 1937 when a Hollywood screenwriter requested the salad at the House of Murphy restaurant, and then the salad (under the name “Caesar salad,” first cited in 1946) began to be served at the famous restaurants of the Brown Derby and Chasen’s

Alex Cardini (Caesar’s brother and business partner) claimed that he invented the salad and that it was originally called “Aviator’s Salad.”


Wikipedia: Caesar salad
A Caesar salad is a salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, and black pepper.

It is often prepared tableside.
(...)
History
The salad’s creation is generally attributed to restaurateur Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant who operated restaurants in Mexico and the United States. Cardini was living in San Diego but also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of Prohibition. His daughter Rosa (1928–2003) recounted that her father invented the dish when a Fourth of July 1924 rush depleted the kitchen’s supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef.” A number of Cardini’s staff have said that they invented the dish.

Wikipedia: Caesar Cardini
Caesar Cardini (originally, Cesare Cardini: *February 24, 1896 – November 3, 1956) was an Italian American restaurateur, chef, and hotel owner who, along with his brother Alex Cardini (c1899 – December 22, 1974), is credited with creating the Caesar salad.

23 June 1933, Los ANgeles (CA) Times, “Vacationist Finds Varied Choices in California” by Harold Mendelsohn, pg. 17, col. 5:
CAESAR’S PLACE AT TIJUANA DIFFERENT
Caesar’s Place in Tijuana is a modern fireproof hotel of Spanish design. Rooms are available both with and without bath. Also under the management of Caesar Cardini are an excellent restaurant in the same location, serving delicious foods and imported beverages, and a gift shop stocking many items of interest.

2 July 1936, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Tijuana’s Leading Restaurateur Closes Up,” pg. 7, col. 4:
TIJUANA (Mex.) July 1. (AP)—Caesar Cardini, pioneer restaurateur and one of the men who built Tijuana to a leading border resort, today made good his threat to “just put on my hat and walk out, saying ‘I’m never coming back.’”

(New-York Historical Society Menu Collection—House of Murphy, California, 1942-45)
Salads
Salad de Murphay A HOUSE OF MURPHY CREATION...1.25
Crisp hearts of Romaine, Iceberg Lettuce, Toasted Croutons, Coddled Eggs and Romanella Cheese, Imported Olive Oil and Wine Vinegar.

March 1945, Sunset magazine, pg. 27, col. 1:
A SALAD TO REMEMBER
Down in Coronado, California, there’s a restaurant called La Avenida Cafe which is known as the “Home of Romaine Salad.” Small wonder, for the salad which is their specialte de la maison is a dish to tempt the epicure. Here’s the recipe as given us by S. Jack Clapp, who is La Avenida’s authority on such matters.

ROMAINE SALAD
3 or 4 heads chilled, crisp Romaine
2 handfuls crisp croutons (little cubes pf fried bread)
6 tablespoons garlic oil
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 heaping tablespoons grated Parmesan-type cheese
1 egg
Juice of 3 lemons

Break the Romaine into a salad bowl; add croutons, oil, seasonings, and cheese. Break the raw egg over the salad, then pour the lemon juice over the egg. Toss all together lightly from the bottom, and serve. Serves 6.

Regarding the ingredients, Mr. Clapp has this to say:
Romaine: Purchase pale green heads. Remove outer leaves, wash thoroughly, shake dry, and chill in refrigerator.
Garlic Oil: Chop or mash a clove of garlic and place in bottom of a pint jar. Fill jar with any salad oil except olive oil, keep at kitchen temperature, and use as needed. Use the oil only; don’t add the garlic to the salad.
Olive Oil: In the case of this particular salad, best results are obtained if only a part (4 tablespoons) of the oil used is olive oil.
Black Pepper: If possible, grin it yourself with a pepper mill.  Use plenty.
Parmesan-type Cheese: Ideally, this should be freshly grated.
Egg: The raw egg acts as a binder and causes the dressing to be evenly distributed through the salad. The flavor of the egg is not detectable in the finished salad.
With the salad, Mr. Clapp suggests serving Garlic Toast.  To make it, split French rolls, brush the cut surface with garlic oil, sprinkle with Parmesan-type cheese and paprika, and heat in the oven.

July 1946,Sunset magazine, “Chefs of the West,” pg. 45, col. 1:
ROMAINE SALAD
1 large clove garlic
4 small heads romaine
2 eggs, boiled 1 minute
10 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar
2 cups croutons
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice 1 lemon

Mash garlic clove in salad bowl and rub around sides. Add romaine, torn in fairly large pieces. Scoop the soft-cooked eggs out onto the greens. Add other ingredients, using lemon juice last.  Toss well with hands.
Serve al fresco with toasted garlic bread, a light, dry California wine, and a fresh fruit compote, well chilled.
Comet Brooks
Canoga Park, California

2 August 1946, The News-Herald (Franklin, PA), “The Voice of Broadway” by Dorothy Kilgallen, pg. 4, col. 7:
The big food rage in Hollywood—the Caesar salad—will be introduced to New Yorkers by Gilmore’s Steak House. It’s an intricate concoction that takes ages to prepare and contains (zowie!) lots of garlic, raw or slightly coddled eggs, croutons, romaine, anchovies, parmeasan cheese, olive oil, vinegar and plenty of black pepper.

April 1947, Gourmet magazine, pg. 78, col. 3:
Q.  If it is possible, could you please tell me where I might locate the recipe for Caesar salad?
Atherton, California Mr. Earl S. Douglas
A.  A real product of the West, this salad was created in Hollywood by the chef of the same name.
Caesar Salad. Be sure to mix this salad where everyone can see, and only immediately before serving. Prepare 2 cups croutons by frying cubes of bread over a low flame, in olive oil previously flavored with a split clove garlic. Into a garlic-rubbed wooden bowl tear two heads chilled romaine,endive, or escarole into not-too-small pieces and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each powdered mustard and black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less according to taste, and 4 ounces cheese, grated or crumbled. (Parmesan type or blue cheese.) Pour over 6 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of 2 lemons.  Break 2 eggs on the greens and toss enough to mix thoroughly, but not so vigorously as to bruise the greens, and until no trace of egg is to be seen. The leaves should be marinated, but there must not be excess liquid in the bowl.  Taste for seasonings.  An instant before serving, add the croutons, tossing the salad again enough to mix it with the croutons without making them soggy.

July 1947, Gourmet magazine, pg. 2, col. 3:
SIRS:  Have been an ardent reader and fan for a number of years, and have gotten some of the best recipes out of your replies. So herewith a little history and checkup on a recipe you gave, what you and some people out here call “Salad Caesar.”

There were two brothers, Alex and Caesar.  Alex, the older, had a partner named Paul, and Paul and Alex’s restaurant in Tijuana was far-famed, particularly during the prohibition era.  One of them invented a salad. Caesar, Alex’s younger brother, at this time worked for them. He got angry one day, took his “blue dishes” and left, and opened up another restaurant in Tijuana. He also took with him, as far as he could remember, some of their dishes. Somehow a salad got up into Los Angeles, probably hitchhiked, and is served in several restaurants in this area--nearly all of them “very.”

Your recipe for Salad Caesar is nearly right. Here is the real recipe of Paul and Alex’s salad:

Prepare—preferably a day or two ahead of time—a jar of olive oil with two or three cloves of garlic sliced up in it.

Now to start the salad. Wash and dry and cut up as many heads of romaine as needed to serve. Let’s say for four people, two heads of romaine.

And when I say “cut up,” I mean don’t let that old wives’ tale about tearing it up matter.  Over this in the wooden salad bowl sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon salt, ditto black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard.  The bowl is _not_ rubbed with garlic. Then add approximately 3 tablespoons wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons olive oil, not salad oil. Meantime, boil an egg (pg. 3, col.
1—ed.) 1 1/2 minutes and crack and drop the half-cooked egg on top. Having toasted French bread croutons, pour over these in a separate dish as much of the olive oil garlic as desired. Over all several (according to taste) tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan. Last but not least, toss well.

This salad with two roasted quail stuffed with wild rice and onion dressing, toasted French bread, and a bottle of cold Liebfraumilch is something that would make even Iles Brody’s mouth water. (...)
JAMES GLEASON
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

27 August 1947, The Daily News (Naugatuck, CT)< "Coast-to-Coast" by Walter Winchell (Jack Lait, substituting), pg. 4, col. 4:
Johnny Meyer still slathers the dough around. He phoned from a party in Acapulco, Mexico, on the far west coast, to ask Billy Reed at New York's Little Club his recipe for Caesar salad.

November 1947,Gourmet magazine, pg. 4, col. 3:
Caesar-Rendering
SIRS:  I am not one to quibble with anyone as delightful as Jimmy Gleason, or enter any controversy, but for your benefit, I would like to tell you that a dozen years ago, when I first came to this divine spot, I met the gentleman in TIjuana named Caesar and went out to lunch with some charming members of his family.

I still have the recipe he gave me, slightly stained with garlic oil, and since it varies a bit, I thought you might be interested.  With slight variations, it is featured all over southern California, and the variations make very little difference, with one exception, according to my lights.

As he gave it to me, there was 1 egg, boiled 1 minute, for each head of romaine, lemon juice instead of vinegar, oil, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, quite a lot of grated Parmesan cheese, lots of black pepper and—instead of pouring the garlic oil over the croutons--the croutons were sauteed in garlic oil, drained, and tossed in at the last minute, to retain their crispness. They are (pg. 5, col. 1—ed.) the best part of it.  The salad is often served as a first course out here. 
(...)
MRS. F. T. ANON
LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

SIRS:  As one who has delighted in the famed Caesar salad for more than a spate of local years, and discussed their manufacture with chefs and captains all over this southland, I want to take serious issue with Jimmy Gleason’s version which you printed in July.

First off, you must designate freshly ground pepper and a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce. However, where he fell down completely is in advocating the use of vinegar.  Never!  Caesars, from the first, have always been made with the juice of lemons, only!

An important aspect of the dish—and which might mean the difference in the salad—is the addition of the grated cheese.  Parmesan, or the tangier Romanello, can be used, but certainly not “several teaspoons.” Toss on a good saucerful!  Sprinkle it on thickly until the top of the bowl is delicately yellow with the stuff.

Some aficionados advocate the tossing in of cut-up anchovies. Bravos to this school, too.  I’ve never entered into one of these “cat-and-dog” magazine battles before, and I suppose you have been swamped with other versions. However, this is my attempt to keep the record straight!
BENN F. REYES
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA
We’re so drooling hungry at this point that we’d eat anybody’s salad—even Caesar’s.

24 January 1948, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. 10 ad:
THE HIGHLAND HOUSE
A FEW OF THE “LITTLE “THINGS” WE’RE FAMOUS FOR
(...)
CAESAR SALAD
Made of Romaine lettuce, egg, croutons, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, English mustard, lemon, olive oil, garlic...50c
(...)
THE HIGHLAND HOUSE
1733 N. Highland

31 December 1949, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 11, col. 7:
Best Dishes of 1949 Reviewed
List Starts With the Latest: Caesar Salad, in True West Coast Style, Found at Fay Ross’s
(...)
Bob Dalton came to town. Bob is the owner of the restaurant which carries his name at 1056 South La Cienga, Los Angeles. He owns the Hally Ho, also the Encore, and caters almost exclusively to the motion-picture trade. He claims to be the man who introduced Caesar salad around Hollywood. He didn’t originate the novelty, of course; that honor goes to Caesar Hermandez, a head waiter at the Coronado Hotel in San Diego, where his Caesar salad became nothing short of a rave. Bob Dalton, hearing hymns of praise for the Caesar, hurried to be first to give it menu starring in Hollywood.

16 June 1952, Austin (TX) Statesman, “Inventor of Caesar’s Salad Finds Many Claimant” by ALine Masby, pg. 11, col. 4:
“But it didn’t become famous until 1937 when a screenwriter, Manny Wolfe, one of my (Caesar Cardini, owner of an Italian grocery Store in Hollwyood—ed.) regular customers, went to the House of Murphy restaurant here, called for the ingredients and made the salad.

“The manager, di Cicco, called it his salad. But Wolfe took the recipe to the Brown Derby and Chasen’s and they called it Caesar salad.”

5 November 1956, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Cesar Cardini, Creator of Salad, Dies at 60,” pg. 31:
Cesar Cardini, 60, credited with the invention of the Cesar salad, died Saturday night in Good Samaritan Hospital following a stroke at his home, 8738 Bonner Drive.

Mr. Cardini devised the salad while operating the restaurant and hotel which still bears his name in Tijuana. Since 1935 he had lived in Los Angeles and was active in the marketing of the salad dressing he concocted.

He was born in Lago Maggiore, Italy, worked in many European hotels an came to the United States when he was 20. For a time, before going to Tijuana, he owned a restaurant in Sacramento.

He leaves his widow Camille, a daughter Rosa of the Los Angeles address, two sisters, Maria and Carlotta of Italy, and two brothers, Alex and Caudencio, who are in the restaurant business in Mexico City.

Funeral services are pending with Pierce Bros., Beverly Hills.

7 November 1956, Los Angeles (CA) Times, pg. B8:
Cesare Cardini
Funeral services for Cesare Cardini, 60, creator of Cesare salad, will be conducted today at 2:30 p.m. in Pierce Bros. Beverly Hills Chapel, followed by interment in Inglewood Park Cemetery.

7 September 1972, Christian Science Monitor, “Caesar Salad: A ‘right’ way?; On the Trail of the Original; Originated in Tijuana” by Phyllis Hanes, pg. 9:
They were generous enough to tell me how the salad was started and that their information came from Annette Ashlock Stover of the Chicago Tribune who interviewed the man who dreamed up the salad, Alex Cardini, in 1967.

Originated in Tijuana
Alex first made the salad when he and his brother Caesar had a restaurant called Alex and Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico. It was a popular spot with the Hollywood and southern California jet set and the dish was then called “Aviator’s Salad,” since he had been a pilot in the Italian Air Force in 1917.

As the salad became well known, people talked about it as Alex and Caesar’s salad, then as Caesar salad, even though the restaurant changed its name to Paul and Alex’s Place. The name on the menu, however, is long. It’s “Original Alex-Caesar’s Cardini Romaine Salad.”

In the 1967 interview, Alex Cardini was not only insistent that the Cardini brothers invented the salad, but he had very definite instructions for making it.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Thursday, July 07, 2016 • Permalink