After our nostalgia trip to Griffith Observatory in the morning, where we for a second time overlooked the way to the main parking lot in front of the building – park authorities really have to make parking directions more obvious – our next order for the day was lunch, and it wasn’t even seven minutes later when, along a seedy part of Hollywood Boulevard, we reached our destination.
The oddly-named Friends & Family wasn’t too impressive from the outside, though this was probably warranted given its surroundings. It was in a really odd neighborhood of beautiful houses mixed in with derelict ones, the several homeless, mentally-challenged, and at least one daytime streetwalker mingling with normal-acting locals of hipsters, dog owners, and parents with strollers, and strangely littered everywhere with abandoned pedal scooters. It was likely one of those up and coming neighborhoods on the cusp of gentrification, much like how 14th Street Washington DC was in the early 00s.
We walked in and found an airy counter-service restaurant that had a lot of great-looking baked goods, millennial staff who appeared partial to thrift stores, and thin-looking clientele who looked like they could be from Manhattan. We ordered our food – with two regular sandwiches, one pastry, one tea, and one OJ, we were out $46 before tip – and waited for the magic to happen.
The sandwich I got, a glamorized McMuffin, was admittedly good, though everything else we ordered was oddly overpriced. The shabby chic scuffed wooden chairs and high price point that this establishment marketed were apparently good enough for the steady stream who came in after us, though I scratched my head long after we left how such a place could exist in that an environment and be so highly regarded online. Obvious as it is the secret ingredient has got to be in the name – a lot of friends and family would surely make a difference to the bottom line, enough even to make up for every $13 McMuffin.