The Radar: Chris Black

Portrait of Chris Black. Photo: Chris Chang

  • Feb 15, 2023

For this edition of The Radar, our regular column of cultural recommendations from friends and colleagues around the world, Chris Black—writer, co-founder of Done To Death Projects and the co-host of How Long Gone—shared his Los Angeles go-to's in advance of Frieze LA, taking place this year on the city's Westside at the Santa Monica Airport.

Raffi's Place Sure, you can hit Musso & Frank's or Dantana's, but Raffi's Place in Glendale is my favorite old-school spot and is the mecca for Persian cuisine in Los Angeles. The place is always packed because they have been making excellent tahdig since 1993. Don't worry: They have a valet.

Noguchi's California Scenario Located across from one of the best malls in the world, South Coast Plaza, this secret Noguchi sculpture garden in Orange County is a must-visit. Commissioned by the Segerstrom family in 1979 and completed in 1982, it's one of the artist's most important public sculpture gardens. The design symbolizes various geographical characteristics of California, incorporating indigenous plants and materials.

California Scenario, also known as the Noguchi Garden, in Costa Mesa, California. Courtesy Modernica Inc.

Horses You have seen this on Instagram: the galloping horse-wall projection, the Yves Klein blue bathroom, the horse-shaped butter. It is the definition of a hot-spot, and a table can be hard to come by, so set your Resy alarms. The room hums every night, and the food is delicious. Make it a priority.

Castle Castle is a gallery in my friend Harley Wertheimer's incredible apartment that is located “Hancock Park-adjacent,” just down the street from Larchmont, a retail strip, so if you need to pick up some gluten-free pastries or Augustinus Bader cream, you can. Harley has an excellent eye for both established and up-and-coming artists. The openings take place during the day and have an espresso cart. It's all very mellow and very LA.

Maru LA coffee culture thrives because no one has a job, and the product is good. Maru has two locations and is hands down the best bean you can get. The people-watching is almost better than the iced matcha.

Back room of the restaurant Horses, featuring art by Kacper Abolik. Courtesy Eater Los Angeles. Photo: Won Frank Lee

Installation view, Max Xeno Karnig at Castle LA. Courtesy Castle LA

Sunlife Organics You are doing it wrong if you are in LA and not drinking a smoothie. It is our culture. Some might send you to Erewhon, but the best in town is at Sunlife Organics. The interior design and merch are offensive, but “The Wolverine” is a must—the perfect smoothie.

Jacques Marie Mage JMM makes the best sunglasses in the world. Substantial materials are applied to classic, flattering shapes. They just opened a new flagship in the heart of Hollywood, right next to my favorite infrared sauna place, Pause Studios. Make an afternoon of it.

Chris Black is the co-founder of Done To Death Projects and the co-host of How Long Gone. He lives in West Hollywood and Soho.