Celebrate National Caesar Salad Day At JB Hook's

The Caesar Salad is a dish that is often found at any fine dining restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks. Whether it's a side dish or the main course, this salad is a fan favorite at JB Hook's. While you may have ordered this dish many of times, you probably haven' thought much about the history. And you may be quite surprised to learn about how and where this delicious dish originated.

According to legend, an Italian-American restaurateur named Caesar Cardini invented this delicious salad in 1924 in Tijuana, Mexico. That's right! This delicious salad has no ties to Rome and Julius Caesar. Cardini owned a restaurant in this tourist destination to supposedly attract Americans who were frustrated by Prohibition. While the exact details are a bit fuzzy, the general consensus is that over Fourth of July weekend, Carini's restaurant was busy and he was running short on supplies and didn't want to disappoint his customers, so threw together a bunch of ingredients he had on hand and served his concoction to his friends. Needless to say, the improvised dish caught on and was loved by his patrons.

Like many dishes, the origin of the Caesar salad is highly disputed. Various staff members from Caesar's kitchen say they came up with the recipe while working there. Even his brother, Alex, claimed he developed the dish, but he named it the "Aviator Salad" in honor of the pilot's he flew with in the war.

No matter who put the ingredients together first, as it became a popular dish, patrons would say, "Let's go to Caesar's and get that salad." The title of "Caesar Salad" was an easy transition from that.

The famous chef Julia Child fondly remembered visiting Caesar's restaurant as a child with her parents. She recounts her experience in her cookbook Julia Child's Kitchen:

"My parents, of course, ordered the salad. Caesar himself rolled the big cart up to the table, tossed the romaine in a great wooden bowl, and I wish I could say I remembered his every move, but I don’t. They only thing I see again clearly is the eggs. I can see him break 2 eggs over that romaine and roll them in, the greens going all creamy as the eggs flowed over them. Two eggs in a salad? Two one-minute coddled eggs? And garlic-flavored croutons, and grated Parmesan cheese? It was a sensation of a salad from coast to coast, and there were even rumblings of its success in Europe."

Over the years, the recipe has changed slightly. However, it always contains romaine lettuce, croutons and Parmesan cheese. The dressing is made up of various ingredients that every chef likes to play with a bit.

The Caesar salad that comes out of our kitchen is one that we are very proud of. If you would like to make it a bit heartier, we can add Ahi tuna, grouper, salmon, mahi-mahi, shrimp, or chicken. Stop by our Lake of the Ozarks lake view restaurant and give our version of the classic Caesar salad a try. We'd love to hear what you think about it.

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2260 Bagnell Dam Blvd.
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 365-3255 


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