Max Jacobson: Vegas Personality and Traumatic Brain Injury Accident Survivor

Traffic accident nearly killed Luxury Travel's multilingual food & hotel critic

Las Vegas restaurant reviewer Max Jacobson
••• Max Jacobson, before his accident, relaxing in the Uruguayan countryside. ©Karen Tina Harrison

Yes, Max Jacobson Is Alive. He Survived a Horrible Accident

On December 23, 2013, while walking to his Vegas gym, Max crossed the street at a red light. He was hit by a speeding pickup truck that went right through the light. Max suffered serious head injuries: TBI, or traumatic brain injury.  

In the days following the accident, Max's life was in grave danger. Many TBI patients die of their injuries.

For those who survive the accident itself, the main threat is swelling of the brain against the skull. Max's neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Seiff, helped save his life.

Max was unconscious for three months. When he came out of his coma, he could not speak. He spent nine months in a series of hospitals and rehab facilities and came home to Las Vegas in September 2014. Max is continuing his rehab on an outpatient basis and picking up his former life, though his online passwords remain elusive.

Max is slowly but surely easing back into his life and into conversation. He has recovered many of his former skills, not to mention his computer passwords. And he is once again an ardent viewer of Turner Classic Movies.

I was pleased to publish, here on TripSavvy, Max's first story post-accident, a bubbly review of FIZZ Las Vegas Champagne BarGo Max!

Max Jacobson's Background

Max Jacobson is a food, wine, and travel writer with over 25 years' expertise and a devoted following (5,000+ Facebook Friends!)

A native Bostonian, Max left a Ph.D. program in Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison to report on food and restaurants for the Los Angeles Times.

Explains Max, "I wrote a long letter to the dining editor, Ruth Reichl. I pointed out inconsistencies in the paper's Chinese food reviews.

She hired me to see if I could do better." Max adds, "I had the reviewer job for 15 years."

When Max Met Vegas

Max relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 1999 at the urging of his friend Wolfgang Puck, the first celebrity chef to open shop in Vegas.

Max caught a cresting wave and became Sin City's premier dining critic. Says Max, "I've reviewed thousands of Vegas eateries ranging from battered carts ladling up Pueblan goat stew to Michelin-starred French culinary shrines." He is a co-author of Eating Las Vegas the city's indispensable dining guide, updated annually until 2013. Here on TripSavvy, the Top 10 Restaurants in Las Vegas.

Max is a Vegas macher (bigshot) who seems to be everywhere at once. He has written for a batch of newspapers, magazines, and websites, and he has hosted dining events, festivals, and KNPR programs. 

He has traveled to all 50 states and to "95 countries, give or take," he says. Besides dining, writing, and traveling, Max likes cycling in Southern Nevada's mountains and plying his luck in a Vegas casino's Texas Hold 'Em poker room.

Max Jacobson's Unique Ability

There's more than one elite food and travel writer in the United States. But not a one shares Max's inimitable attribute.

He speaks over a dozen languages including French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Swedish, German, Serbo-Croatian, Japanese, Cantonese, and Bahasa Indonesia. And he can get by in Danish, Estonian, Greek, Hindi, Korean, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, and Yiddish.

"Because I can talk to the locals pretty much wherever I travel, I can really get into the culture and cuisine," says Max. "I strive for my food and travel writing to convey this insider sense, and give my readers a real 'you are there' feeling."

Max is traveling again. From September 2017 through January 2018, he and his wife Setu will be traveling the globe. First he will be in Europe (Italy, France, Spain, and the UK). Then Max will spend time with Setu's family in Pokhara (a lake retreat in Nepal).

Then the Jacabsons will dip down into India to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra and check out the eats in nearby New Delhi.

Max's Stories for TripSavvy
Read all about it! L.A.'s strikingly designed beach hotel that channels Hollywood glamour, Viceroy Santa Monica; Santa Barbara's secret love hotel for movie stars, now not so secret, thanks to Max: El Encanto; the lowdown on California's only triple five-star hotel, Fairmont Grand Del Mar;   NYC's welcoming, stylish Hyatt 48 Lex Hotel; a dignified hotel dead-center in Max's hometown, with New England's best brunch, The Langham, Boston; a spectacular Relais & Châteaux hotel on wild Vancouver Island, the Wickaninnish Inn.

Max knows Europe well, too. See where single-named superstars of the Beyoncé variety find privacy near Big Ben, Corinthia Hotel London; the original grand hotel (1865!), renovated for a new century, The Langham, London; a  Victorian beauty reborn in London's happening fashion district, Andaz Liverpool Street London; a legendary French Riviera hotspot, Hotel Byblos. ; a  deluxe small hotel on Portugal's Algarve coast with a two-Michelin-star restaurant, Vila Joya.

Max's Dining Adventures on TripSavvy

The man explores one of America's beloved culinary travel destinations: Napa Valley, California; his Tour de Québec tells you which five eateries are Quebec City's best restaurants; Max ate his way through Mexico's capital to find Mexico City's Top Tables & Tastes; it wasn't easy, but Max picked the 5 Best Restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; a taste of Miami's top restaurant for supreme seafood, Milos Miami. Viva Max!