There’s no arguing with this one factoid about Donald Trump from a Newsmax item about him last month. “Trump has become his own ‘Iowa’ — a must-do stopping point for all GOP candidates,” the conservative site reported. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) is heading to the Big Apple today to meet with the Donald.

But after Perry meets with Trump at his Trump Tower abode on Fifth Avenue, the two will head out to dinner. Not to of-the-people La Famiglia Pizzeria as Trump did with Sarah Palin in June. Nope. The Republican Party powerhouses will roll across town to the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle for dinner at ultra-chic Jean Georges.

That dining detail was dropped by Trump when we chatted Tuesday. I gave the reality-television star a call to discuss Monday’s Republican presidential candidates debate in Florida. “Very interesting,” is how Trump described the Tea Party debate. He also noted that some of the candidates exhibited “a lot of anxiety.” He was no doubt alluding to candidates struggling to break out of the shadow of Perry and Mitt Romney.

Unlike the pundits, Trump didn’t think that Perry did poorly at all. “His performance was just fine,” he said. “Perry did well. Romney did well.” But Trump added, “The problem with the debate is that there are too many people on the stage.” He declined to say who he thought should have been allowed to spend more time with their family that night.

Trump did admit to being distracted on debate night. The Miss Universe pageant was also on. After reminding me that he owns the pageant, won by Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, he also wanted me to know something else. It was the highest-rated television show on NBC since the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks.