Potential president-elect Donald Trump puzzled the nation this morning when he suddenly took to Twitter to attack Vanity Fair magazine and calling out editor Graydon Carter for lacking “talent,” seemingly unprompted.
Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2016
But Trump’s tweets are always in response to some perceived slight or offense; for example, his tweets attacking Boeing were in response to the CEO expressing his concerns about Trump’s volatility to the Chicago Tribune. Trump’s beef with Vanity Fair stems from a recent review of the “Trump Grill” restaurant at Trump Tower, NYC by Tina Nguyen, who – brace yourself – did not have a good eating experience there.
Entitled “TRUMP GRILL COULD BE THE WORST RESTAURANT IN AMERICA (And it reveals everything you need to know about our next president)”, Nguyen’s brutal and hilarious takedown of the vapid pretension of Trump values and the ersatz luxury of his products is a must-read. Curiously, Trump has just ensured that everyone in America will read her biting words.
Some of the highlights from the meal include:
The allure of Trump’s restaurant, like the candidate, is that it seems like a cheap version of rich. The inconsistent menus—literally, my menu was missing dishes that I found on my dining partners’—were chock-full of steakhouse classics doused with unnecessarily high-end ingredients. The dumplings, for instance, come with soy sauce topped with truffle oil, and the crostini is served with both hummus and ricotta, two exotic ingredients that should still never be combined. The menu itself would like to impress diners with how important it is, randomly capitalizing fancy words like “Prosciutto” and “Julienned” (and, strangely, ”House Salad”).
Our waiter, coiffed and charming, was determined to gaslight us into thinking we were having a good time. “Trump gets the taco bowl and the lasagna and baked ziti,” he said, before subsequently informing the table that we could not order the lasagna or baked ziti. I asked the waiter what Trump’s children eat. He didn’t seem to understand the question, or, like Marco Rubio, appeared unable to depart from his prescribed talking points.“Oh, I’ve shaken hands with him before, and they’re pretty normal-sized hands,” he responded.
Our waiter eventually noted that Don Jr. gets the filet mignon cooked medium-rare, with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. The steak came out overcooked and mealy, with an ugly strain of pure fat running through it, crying out for A.1. sauce (it was missing the promised demi-glace, too). The plate must have tilted during its journey from the kitchen to the table, as the steak slumped to the side over the potatoes like a dead body inside a T-boned minivan.
But it was her experiences with the staff and her final analysis that really strikes home. More than simply a restaurant review, her experiences at Trump Tower provide a depressing window into the world of Donald Trump himself – and a microcosm into what our nation awaits after four years of rule by a megalomaniacal narcissist.
“This is on me,” said our waiter, who must have noticed that we sent barely touched plates back to the kitchen, as he slipped us a tiny chocolate cake buried under whipped cream and anxious drizzles of caramel with our check, and my heart broke. It’s not his fault that he has to run garbage food back and forth, from a slammed kitchen behind a door marked “TRUMP EMPLOYEES ONLY,” to a table waiting an agonizing half hour just to close the check. It’s not his fault that the only way he can make it up to us is with a free cake, still frozen in the center, that tastes like Tums.
I reflexively want to be generous in my assessment of what the post-election Trump Grill says about the Trump presidency. Perhaps it’s a sign that Trump is in over his head, and a shallow, mediocre man who runs a shallow, mediocre business empire (and restaurant) would sink and implode, crushing the expectations of millions of his hopeful supporters. But watching Trump parade his enemies through the nearby lobby, taunting them with prestigious appointments only to cruelly humiliate them, I had to look over at the human cattle herd at the Trump Grill, overwhelming a well-meaning staff with their dreams of a meal fit for a president, and wonder if he cared about any of them, either.
While it may seem low to blame Trump himself for the quality of food at one of his restaurants, this is the grill at Trump Tower – his castle and home, his pride and joy, his overcompensating giant metal phallus that proclaims to all that TRUMP is a bigly man who demands respect by shoving it in your face.
The fact that one of the defining features of Trump Tower is still such an agonizing ordeal – Eater published a similar review before the election describing the fare as “prison food” – shows how little care Donald Trump takes in the details of his success; it’s all a grand facade that insists on grabbing your…attention with ostentatious frippery but can’t hold it long enough to keep you from seeing the insecurities that dictate Trump’s behavior manifest themselves in everything that he does – and that should ring alarm bells for our nation as a whole.
Read Tina Nguyen’s incredible review here. Tell your friends, it’s truly a stunning piece of writing.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.