• Panaderia San Luis

    Few days ago I was getting a haircut and noticed that some culinary business next door had been replaced by a Mexican Bakery.

    I asked the lady who was cutting my hair if she tried it yet, but she sounded hesitant to try something different. I, on the other hand, can’t pass a bakery of any kind without checking it out. I’ve been to a Mexican Bakery (Panaderia) before and our local grocery stores frequently sell Mexican traditional baked goods, reflecting Olathe’s rapidly growing Hispanic population.
    Panaderia San Luis opened at this location little over 3 months ago and seems to be staying busy. It offers a variety of pastries like familiar fruit-filled turnovers, as well as a huge selection of Mexican baked goods.

    There are fresh rolls…

    …a cold case with several varieties of Tres Leches cakes

    …and tortillas and tamales to go.

    Most of the items are made in the store (I noticed a different address on the package of tortillas) and are priced 60 cents and up.

    Pastries that are not so obvious or priced differently are marked in English and Spanish.

    My usual pet peeve with ethnic businesses is their neglect of potential mainstream customers. Many times a curious shopper shows up but feels intimidated or overwhelmed by the amount of unknown items and no one around to explain what they are. Panaderia San Luis got this right – not only everything is clearly marked, the owner is there to explain and answer questions in English to your satisfaction. The experience is very different from my first visit to a Mexican Bakery in Kansas City, KS where no one seemed to speak English and I had to watch the other customers to figure out what to do. Instead of a basket you get a tray and a pair of kitchen tongs, then bring your loaded tray to the checkout.

    Panaderia San Luis located at 2077 E.Santa Fe in Olathe is a nice addition to a growing list of authentic eateries in my neighborhood and a definite step up from your grocery bakery department both in quality and freshness.

    I hope they stick around.

    *this post is not sponsored or compensated in any way.

  • Charritos Taqueria

    A recent trip to Charritos Taqueria on Independence Ave. was a success. Aside from a homeless guy trying to start a conversation with me of which I only understood the word “Oklahoma” , the food was cheap and delicious. Tacos are $1.85 and I purchased one with pork (puerco) and another one with steak slow cooked in pineapple sauce. Delicious. They have more expensive items in $4-12 range. Service is a little slow but it’s worth the wait. I also tried horchata which I always wanted to try, it’s somehow made with rice and tastes like cinnamon. It wasn’t bad, but I like cinnamon in moderation. I will move on to another agua fresca next time.
    This area is not the safest part of town and gets mentioned on the news almost daily. Thankfully, concerned citizens are making contributions, albeit involuntary, to improve the safety and security of Independence Ave.
    And the guy who tried to talk to me? He understood the international sign of “I don’t understand what the hell you just said” and went back to pose for the picture.

    Charritos on Urbanspoon

  • Old Newspapers: Soviet Invasion Of Afghanistan


    Behind The Iron Curtain: Rules for the Soviet Military Contingent In Afghanistan
    Behind the Iron Curtain: War In Afghanistan

    In December of 1979, when my age was barely in the double digits, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan didn’t really make a big splash on the the government-run news. The New Year 1980 celebration was coming up, people were busy buying presents and stocking up on hard-to-find delicacies for the holiday table; and the TV mumbling something about helping out our Afghan brothers sounded exactly the same as it did every other time the Soviet Union was fighting a remote Cold War battle by proxy. I don’t think that many people knew then that these events will affect the country for the next ten years, destroy tens of thousands of Soviet and millions of Afghan lives, and ultimately contribute to the end of the USSR.

    January 14, 1980 © Time Inc.

    I wondered how the first days of the invasion were covered in the American press, so I stopped by the library to look at the old newspapers. Looks like it made front page news almost right away but there was some uncertainty about the extent of the Soviet military deployment. In less than a month it made it to the cover of the Time magazine. In Kansas City the invasion coincided with the firefighters’ strike so most of the front page space was dedicated to the coverage of the union negotiations and how the city was handling the lack of fire protection.
    All the articles should be large enough to read if you click on the image. The microfilm quality is not the best, but it has nothing to do with me.
    Continue reading →

  • Refund For Kansas Residents Paying Kansas City Missouri Earnings Tax

    Attention: Read Important Update 

    Attention: Read Another Important Update

    Following the Supreme Court ruling in Comptroller v. Wynne Kansas residents are allowed to amend their taxes and claim a refund of the amount of the Kansas City, Missouri Earnings Tax that was previously double-taxed. Just so it’s clear, you are not getting a refund from Kansas City, Missouri, but from the State of Kansas which previously didn’t allow the Earnings Tax to be subtracted from taxable income which resulted in the now illegal double-taxation.

    On August 10, 2015 Kansas Department of revenue issued the following instructions:

     Generally, the statute of limitations for amending taxes is 3 years, so with some exceptions the eligible years are 2012, 2013 and 2014, with the deadline for amending the 2012 taxes set in April, 2016.

    As of this writing the commercial tax preparation programs have not been updated to reflect this change and they are not likely to be in a rush.

    After consulting with an accountant and checking Kansas Tax forms online I have decided to pay a professional to refile my forms; this is a rare case when I think doing it myself is not worth the hassle. Also keep in mind that it’s likely that the amount of the refund will be taxed on the federal level in the year you will receive it.

    Knowing that Kansas is broke I wouldn’t recommend waiting too long to do this. I am sure everyone who files will get their refund eventually, but it may be a while, especially for the late filers.

    Important Update: 

    I finally had my taxes reviewed by a professional and the additional refund wasn’t nearly as much as I expected. Even though the State of Kansas now allows you to claim local taxes on your return, they still fall under the category of taxes paid to other states and there is a limit to how much credit you can get. The limit is calculated using this worksheet:


    If you already claimed maximum credit allowable on line 6, you are out of luck. So my suggestion is before you spend money or time trying to amend your taxes, run your numbers through this worksheet and see if it’s even worth the effort.

    Another Important Update:

    I received a response from the State of Kansas to my amended return where adjustment wasn’t granted. When I called to follow-up, it turned out that they also require a copy of Missouri return and a copy of Kansas City, MO form RD-109NR which actually is not required for taxpayers whose earnings tax is withheld automatically so you probably don’t have it. I downloaded and filled out the form and faxed it over together with my Missouri return. We’ll have to see what happens next.

    *I am not qualified to give tax (or any) advice, so please do your own research or consult with a trained professional.

  • Behind the Iron Curtain: 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics

    For a person with a surprising and painful lack of childhood memories I seem to remember a lot about the Moscow Summer Olympic Games of 1980. I remember where I was at that time and remember watching the games on a 12 inch black-and-white TV. Since the 1980 Olympics were boycotted by the USA and and over 60 other countries some of you may be seeing the clips below for the first time (and some of you were born after 1980). Boycotting Olympics is a tragic event for the athletes, some of whom may only get one or two shots at competing in the Games in their lifetimes. Moscow Olympics were not an exception, we will never know what the results would look like if all of the countries were participating. Nevertheless, for the Soviet people (especially in Moscow) the Olympics became a two week window when they got a peek at the West and they liked what they saw. The USSR went all out to impress the rest of the world, no expenses were spared, only the best was to surround athletes and the guests in order to show the superiority of the Soviet regime. For years after the Games people were wearing jackets with the Olympic emblem on it and the Olympic Bear is still recognized by most people. Not only the people in the stadium but the whole country cried when the Bear took off during the closing ceremony. I haven’t see one more touching ever since.

    It’s hard to believe that I am typing this 28 years later. In 1980 I was busy figuring out how old I will be in the year 2000. It seemed like it was 2000 years away….
    Opening Ceremony

    Closing Ceremony