Rolando: Rich People Food

May 27th, 2017

When we were younger we’d always hang out over at the Oglesby Monument which stands on a hill next to the North Pond, in a park just west of Diversy Harbor.

We liked the place because it was on a pond and it had a good view of the downtown skyline and when we did the things that teenagers do on warm summer nights, the reflection of the downtown skyline on the pond’s surface added a trippy, surreal element to the hangout.

There was also the added benefit of being up on a hill with a 360 degrees view of the surrounding area. It was almost always after park hours when we were up there and it helped that we could see the cops coming and scurry down the other side of the hill and out of the park.

I spent a lot of time on that hill, staring up into the evening skies, thinking about life, or just zoned out, not thinking about anything at all, feeling the city whirl around me.

There were other times where my mind would head down this weird path and I would become obsessed with this little restaurant at the base of the hill that overlooks the pond: North Pond.

It looked like a fancy joint from the outside, looked expensive, I don’t know what made me think that, maybe it was the lack of signage and that it was tucked away and hidden from the rest of the city.

It was like a secret, ‘A rich people secret,’ I would think. ‘The kind that only rich people can enjoy. And definitely didn’t want to share with my broke ass.’

I’d hike down the hill and peer into the restaurant’s windows, trying to take in as much as I could about the place.

‘I wonder what kind of food they serve in there? What do rich people eat?’

I knew Puerto Rican food. I knew there was Italian and Mexican and Chinese food. I wasn’t so sure about rich people food.

‘I’m going to eat here one day,’ I’d say to myself. ‘Probably not ever going to be rich people rich enough, but I’m going to eat here, somehow.’

“I’m going to eat there one day,” I’d say to my buddies as I hiked back up the hill.

“Yeah, and we’re going to be the kings of the world,” the smart asses would say.

Fast forward 17 years…

I never thought about the place again. Life happened. I grew up, had other food related experiences, travelled to other countries.

About a month ago the wife and I are in the car and we pass the hill, the old hangout. And I mentioned in passing how as a kid I always swore I’d eat at the North Pond place one day.

Being the amazing and thoughtful woman that she is, a few weeks later, she surprised me for my 35th birthday with a dinner at the rich people spot.

It was a great experience. Of course because the food was amazing and fresh and something entirely different than what I am used to.

But also because of the memories it brought back of my late teens, those years where I spent so much time dreaming about many of the things that I have been able to experience in the nearly two decades that have passed since those times spent staring at the city’s nighttime sky or peering into those windows.

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