AS UNTHINKABLE as it still is, a new sun has risen over America, and like the old sun, it’s huge, orange, and thinks everything revolves around it. There’s been a lot of hard work done by journalists and critics to humanize Trump voters, to try and understand what they think and feel that makes them say “yeah, but” every time their guy is proven racist, sexist, or flatly villainous. But now that he’s President, I’m more curious about the man himself. I often imagine what it would be like to spend the day trying to get to know him here in Portland.
Trump—who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes—doesn’t drink (apparently to spite his late brother Fred Jr., an alcoholic whose children President Trump helped write out of Fred Sr.’s will), but that’s not my problem. I know exactly which bars I’d take him to in order to make him as comfortable as possible and keep me as drunk as I’d need to be.
I don’t want to push Trump too far out of his comfort zone too fast, so we’ll start somewhere he’ll be right at home—where he’ll feel safe, and reminded of his closest supporters and deepest allies: Grand Avenue’s finest Russian bar, Kachka (720 SE Grand). While the President Snapchats his brother-from-another-Motherland Vladimir Putin for menu recs and shirtless selfies, I’ll think about saying “President Trump” and pre-wash my mouth out with a couple of bristlingly spicy shots of Kachka/New Deal Distillery horseradish vodka. When I finally say it out loud, it’ll burn my mouth worse than the ghost chili salt in the Rokatinka ($9), and without the sweet relief of apricot liqueur.
Trump will mutter something about how in two years every restaurant will serve zakuski and pelmeni, so we might as well move on. I know the President loves his steaks and his hometown of Manhattan, so we’ll do dinner right with beef and whiskey cocktails at Laurelhurst Market (3155 E Burnside). I’ll ask the kitchen to sear the Sharper Image logo into the meat for old times’ sake and the bartenders to make my rye-sherry-pecan Smoke Signals cocktail ($12) a double. That way I can get lost in its smoky, nutty depths, ignoring that the sherry in it reminds me of how disappointing it always is to rediscover Kelsey Grammer’s political views, which will remind me to ask the Donald if he can introduce me to Frasier. For good measure, I’ll drink a Selective Memory (blanco tequila, Carpano Antica vermouth, lime, pineapple, bitters: energetic and punchy, $10) and think of Kelsey Grammer’s 30 Rock cameos.
With some red meat in him and a phone covered in steak sauce thumb smears, Trump will be ready to really unload some vitriol, so we’ll head to the most recent example of his Chinese invasion nightmare, Danwei Canting (803 SE Stark), which officially opened last week. While he—and again, I’m just guessing how he eats based on his personality—loudly slurps Beijing style noodles into the mysterious hole in the center of his “face,” occasionally mopping sweat off his brow with the threadbare dishrag/Jimmy Fallon plaything on top of his head, I’ll drink baijiu and mentally draft the 2020 Democratic primary. If Trump is as noxious as I assume, Danwei Canting’s “elixirs” will come in handy. A Chinese-style baijiu rice spirit from Wilsonville’s Vinn Distillery serves as a base for these infusions that read more like eastern medicine than western mixology: The sweeter pear/bamboo/mushroom elixir will help soften the edges of the President’s most pointed attacks, while the Sichuan pepper/fir/juniper shot ($8) will numb my mouth so I won’t accidentally commit treason. For a taste of the future of American spirits under Trump, I’ll try Danwei’s selection of imported Chinese baijiu, which is much less clean and refined than Vinn’s—you can virtually taste the deregulation.
Toward the end of the night, I imagine we’ll need one more snack. Based on social media, I know Trump loves KFC, but I refuse to be seen with someone eating KFC with a fork and knife. We also know Trump loves taco bowls, so I’ll get him some very inauthentic Mexican food at a bar whose name sounds more and more appropriate: Expatriate (5424 NE 30th). After Laotian tacos ($11) and late night fried wonton “nachos” ($12), I’ll order Expatriate’s tiki monster cocktail, the False Flag (disturbingly complex, dangerously boozy, $14), which will prompt Trump to pull up a bunch of Alex Jones videos on his phone.
In the end, I’ll carefully shake Trump’s fragile doll hand and head home to reflect on just how little there is to know about this man or his plans. As I settle into bed, I’ll imagine Trump nestling into the Air Force One toilet, bearing down on his greasy cell phone to tell his millions of Twitter followers what a sad, disgusting person I am for disparaging real American hero @KelseyGrammer.