Does food taste better when it's free?

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I don't think anyone expects muckracking from the good folks of Chicagoist--their strengths lie more in synthesis, synopsis, and snark. And I'll grant that almost all restaurant coverage is somewhat PR-driven by nature--"Charlie Trotter opens new restaurant" is news, no matter what you think of the man or the restaurant. But this "feature" on Alinea stopped me in my tracks. The brief intro explains that Achatz invited Chicagoist to "sample" his latest 24-course menu, that Chicagoist accepted this offer without hesitation, and that Chicagoist "look[s] forward to working with him on more features soon." It's extra surprising considering the fuss Chicagoist's Scott Smith (who didn't write the Alinea piece) made over the recent ethical debacle over at WGN's Good Eats.

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