What came first – the chicken or the egg? Do good stores attract good residents, or is it the other way around?

I’m telling you, Independence, Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs ought to band together to show Overland Park a thing or two.

It just gives me the irrits that if I want to buy some interesting deli meats and cheeses, I have to drive 20 miles to achieve my goal, and I would have thought between our three cities, we ought to be able to come up with a plan to lure the likes of Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or The Better Cheddar to take a chance on our non-Johnson County non-country-bumpkin population.

I will say it’s great to see some independent restaurants popping up too. Summit Grill and Third Street Social are a couple which spring to mind, and Sir and I, together with Our Little Red Hot Tamale tried out another in Independence over the weekend.

Los Cabos is a Mexican restaurant just down the way from Bass Pro and Duluth Trading Company in that retail area between I-70 and U.S. 40 just off M-291.

Bravely venturing forth, we were treated to, I can safely say, the absolute best Mexican food I have ever had. The corn chips were made in-house and were light and paper thin. Their two different salsas presented with the chips were bright and full of flavor, their guacamole positively sparkled, and their shrimp quesadilla – well – I can still drool at the thought of them.

When I left Australia in 1999, in my local area of Sydney we only had one Mexican restaurant, and while it was quite tasty, it rather got lost in the shuffle of the myriad ethnic restaurants in the city. Chain restaurants were the exception rather than the rule, so on any given block you could eat Chinese, Thai, Indian, Greek, Japanese, Italian, Tibetan, Algerian – you name it, you could find it in Sydney.

My knowledge of, an appreciation for, Mexican food has naturally flourished here, but until last weekend, the cuisine would never top my list of "must haves."

One thing that has always flummoxed me – and dear reader, please set me straight – is the difference between the “peasant” and the “wealthy” food of Mexican cooking. To give you a for instance, with Indian cooking, the hotter the curry, the poorer the peasant, as the curry was used to mask the flavor of meat which had more than likely seen its used-by date sometime in the past. In French cuisine, snails and frog legs were for the low-caste, while the upper crust dined on foie gras, pheasant and the odd swan.

In the old days, all a peasant had to offer was time, and so often dishes we love today take a long time to prepare and cook – like a good marinara sauce, or a sweet and sticky Greek baklava. I mean, imagine making filo pastry from scratch for heaven sake.

So let’s get with it troops – encourage the local independent restaurants and stores, and let Overland Park know we don’t need it.

-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc@hotmail.com