Our Authors

Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz

National Editor

Max Falkowitz is a national editor at Serious Eats, where he covers New York's international food world and explores the science and technique behind making great ice cream.

  • Location: Queens, NY
  • Favorite foods: Noodles and dumplings in most every form. Pastrami. Eggplant. Chilies, coconut, and ice cream (occasionally all at once). Beets and sour cream. Lamb and goat. Lentils and mustard seeds. Cabbage and kale.
  • Last bite on earth: Dry aged steak tartare. Pass the sour cream.

The Tea Cup and the Dragon: Secrets of China's Favorite Green Tea

When outsiders try to learn about tea, they're usually stymied by the industry's mindboggling complexity, and a marketplace rife with misinformation and counterfeit product doesn't do much to help. That's why I've made the journey to one of China's tea capitals: to learn how and why this little leaf from a plain-looking shrub drives a whole economy wild. More

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

@BillyZoom Please also feel free to always hit us up at contact@seriouseats.com. We make an effort to respond to every inquiry that comes to that address. Eliminating Talk was more about cutting out a feature only a tiny minority of the site was using, but that clunked up navigation and, we felt, detracted from the direction we wanted to take the site in.

The number of our sponsored posts hasn't changed (and I do think they're less invasive than many of our competitors), but you're right, the number of editorial posts a day has, by about 300%. Here's why.

Very little of our traffic comes through our homepage, i.e. from hardcore readers checking SE several times a day. Far more comes from social referrals and Google search results. For years our editors have lamented an ever-increasing number of posts per day that prevented them from digging into bigger topics—we were scrambling to fill post quotas rather than focusing on bigger projects. The goal now is to make every post feel like more of a big story that has stronger evergreen potential. Since cutting our number of posts, we haven't seen any dip in traffic. Actually, it's gone up, a good sign that the plan is working.

But we're still figuring out how to do it—what to write about and in what way. So we'd absolutely love your input on topics you're curious about, what you think works, and what you think needs improving. But bear in mind that a lot of the changes you're seeing are us trying to become more of a national food site and less of a local source for restaurant news. There are some topics that just aren't right for us anymore.

Part of the problem is that we're now using a frankly outdated blog format to present this kind of content, one that doesn't really do our stories justice. Over the year we've been working on a massive site redesign that'll change the way our homepage and search functions work. This process is taking longer than expected—we have one developer and one designer to do the work of a whole team—but I think it'll make a big difference for you all when we roll it out.

Anyway, that's enough blabbing for one Friday night, but if you want to talk further about the site do please email us. We're listening.

Fruit Roll Up: How to Grill Sliced Eggplant and 3 Ways to Stuff It

@OneWallKitchen This Saveur recipe will get you most of the way. You want some fenugreek bitterness, onion pungency, a little heat and acidity, and I like mine with lots of herbs. The consistency should be whipped like a light mayo but also dense and chunky with small walnut nubs.

Fruit Roll Up: How to Grill Sliced Eggplant and 3 Ways to Stuff It

Damn these look good. My favorite rolled-eggplant filling is Georgian walnut sauce: walnuts, water, onion, cilantro, fenugreek, and some other spices blended into a chunky paste. It's usually made with pan-fried eggplant, but grilling treats it just as well.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

@Josh Mandel I go over this briefly in the article, but I think the fondness has two reasons. One is tradition—a local product that became synonymous with egg creams the same way Coke or Pepsi becomes someone's default cola.

The other reason is more interesting. U-Bet has milk powder in its formula, which adds a lactic, almost mineral flavor that lengthens the chocolate's tanginess. That extra flavor cuts through the milk and seltzer especially well, and complements the seltzer's own carbonated flavor. A subtle difference but an important one.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

@Desert Dryad We've gone over this time and time again. Honestly don't know what else to tell you, so I'm done.

@LA Pizza Maven That map is incredible! A friend and I are talking about hitting them all on an epic egg cream day.

Requiem for an Egg Cream: In Search of a New York Classic

@illone As we receive no ad money from restaurants we have no economic pressure to avoid being critical about them. We don't run local restaurant news these days, so we generally focus on positives more than negatives now because that's far more useful for a national audience.

Hey Chef, What Can I Do With Honey?

@Ocean thanks for the catch—fixed.

Jonathan's amazing. Love that Jacqueline's featuring him in this series.

Cheese 101: How 4 Simple Ingredients Yield 10 Zillion Different Cheeses

@zorazen Liz is in Switzerland right now with limited internet, so it may take her a few days to get back to you. On the plus side: her next post is a dispatch from the Alps!

Also, "Cheese Rubbings" sounds like an adorable Wisconsin re-make of Cool Runnings.

Cheese 101: How 4 Simple Ingredients Yield 10 Zillion Different Cheeses

@nr706 @rogerrabbit222 There is no factual inaccuracy. Milk is an ingredient. So is bacteria. Of course there are many types, which Liz has acknowledged quite well in this and her other posts. The point she's making is that different methods of combining those ingredients, and variations within them, make up the whole world of cheese. I'm sorry if that's too lofty a concept, or if you feel like we've played fast and loose with categorizations, but I don't think it is. The kind of specificity you're demanding isn't accuracy; it's pedantry.

Also remember that this is a biweekly series on the site. One story isn't going to answer every conceivable variable about a subject as vast as cheese. That's what books are for. Liz is writing one. Check it out when it's published.

As I mentioned in the Italian cookie article comments already, that story broke down 40-odd cookies into the six major types you can find in most bakeries. Chocolate biscotti are one cookie. Hazelnut are another. And anise are yet one more. But guess what: they're all biscotti! We could write out separate descriptions for each cookie in a completely pointless exercise of mindless completeism, or we could synthesize all those types into a more useful and digestible guide. Please find a more thorough article on the subject and point out to me what we did wrong by comparison, or how we shorted you on any essential know-how.

Oh, and for the record, we've only lightly increased the number of ads per page in the past year and display far fewer, and less invasively, than many of our competitors. All while growing staff and resources to put out a product that you consume entirely for free. Please check your own facts before dashing off spurious speculation.

12 Must-Eat Breakfast Sandwiches Across America

@Nick D. has it right—these are simply sandwiches that some of our contributors in cities across the country love. We're not trying to name every great breakfast sandwich in the U.S.

Those interested in a more comprehensive study of American sandwiches should visit our guide.

Foolproof Vegan Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

@kochipoik It should whisk up into a thick liquid.

@ippac1 No. Coconut cream is a very specific product. Items labeled "creamer" won't be fatty enough.

As for the corn syrup, I recommend sticking to it. This recipe hasn't been formulated for other sugars, and corn syrup really is the best tool for the job.

The Science of the Best Sorbet

@VeganWithaYoYo That's why the starting ratio is with fruit purée, not whole fruit!

An Introduction to Mexican Cuisine, Part 1: Puebla and Central Mexico

@David There are more in not-Bronx New York, but I'd recommend hitting up Chris for the best intel.

An Introduction to Mexican Cuisine, Part 1: Puebla and Central Mexico

@David Fortunately for you Chris is a tacos arabes MISSIONARY. Unfortunately for you his dispatches are all from New York. So come visit!

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2014/02/taqueria-tlaxcali-the-bronx-mexican-gordita.html
http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2014/03/queen-of-tacos-the-bronx.html

How to Make the Best Pesto

A comment from one of Daniel's test subjects re: mortar and pestle vs. food processor. None of Daniel's pesto batches tasted bad, because hey, Daniel knows what he's doing and the basic ratio of ingredients is pretty solid. But the mortar definitely felt like the biggest subtle upgrade, and personally I'd rather clean a two-piece mortar and pestle than a clunky food processor.

An Introduction to Mexican Cuisine, Part 1: Puebla and Central Mexico

@cook au vin Borked html, fixed now, thanks.

An Introduction to Mexican Cuisine, Part 1: Puebla and Central Mexico

An Introduction to Mexican Cuisine, Part 1: Puebla and Central Mexico

The Best Ice Cream, Gelato, and Soft Serve in NYC

@wpb80 I don't mean to say Mr. Softee and Ben & Jerry's have identical ingredients, just that the stabilizers in Softee are quite common.

Softee's vanilla ingredients: milk, cane sugar syrup, cream, nonfat milk, whey, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, tetrasodium phosphate, and carrageenan.

B&J's vanilla: Cream, skim milk, liquid sugar (sugar, water), water, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract, guar gum, vanilla beans, carrageenan.

So not all the same, but many commonalities.

As for low-fat ice cream vs ice milk, aren't they both correct? As I understand it ice milk was the definition of ice cream with less than 10% butterfat; low-fat was then used as a marketing term.

The Best Ice Cream, Gelato, and Soft Serve in NYC

@katkat You're right! I was thinking of the Thick Mint. The Morticia is great, too.

The Best Ice Cream, Gelato, and Soft Serve in NYC

@kazandruh Omissions are not unintentional.

Bagelnomics: The Curious Pricing of New York's Bagel With Cream Cheese

@theoceanblue1 I'm so glad someone finally started playing the "who's more New York" game, and thank you for pronouncing "god" that way so we can establish your credibility. Would you prefer your winnings in Bloomberg Bucks or Koch Koins?

Novelty Ice Cream Week: How to Make Your Own King Cones

@800lb Absolutely.

A Closer Look at Your Italian Bakery's Cookie Case

@salasos14 They're my local bagel shop so I could ask...but I'd be afraid to see the result. Scallion and veggie cream cheese are as far-out as I like to go. Maaayyybe horseradish, but only when Russ & Daughters does it.

A Closer Look at Your Italian Bakery's Cookie Case

@morley We've tried but the results were pretty depressing. That said, Harrison Bake Shop in Westchester makes FANTASTIC rainbow cookies. Real dark chocolate! Fresh, natural-tasting jam! And moist cookies that aren't overly sweet or greasy! Highly recommend.

@rogerrabbit222 That's because there are only six big types! But each section notes variations within the category. Or should the post have been 6 times as long?

@bf Bagel + rainbow cookie was my childhood. Surprised "rainbow cookie"-flavored cream cheese isn't more of a thing.

Dulces: Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

I couldn't help but think of the stereotypical fiery Latin temperament when I was making this recipe. Arroz con leche (riz au lait or rice pudding), is such a languid, drowsy, gentle thing, so tender it's even suitable for those with smooth gums and weak constitutions, and yet, it is among the most well-liked and frequently made desserts throughout Latin America. Maybe we're all bark and no bite. More

How to Buy, Store, Use (and Re-Use!) Spices

It continues to baffle me how little attention is given to spices today. Maybe it's because we're told to eat local (they rarely are) or organic (they're usually not). Spices seem to still have a reputation of being slapdash cover-ups for mediocre chicken—and far too often they are—but they don't have to be. Yes, spice hunting requires a little time, effort, and money (though less than you think), but once you start using fresh spices in you're cooking, you may just find yourself addicted. More