Lunch at Michael’s: A Kareem Dream

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgIt’s official — the holidays are over! It’s back to business, people! Now that the weather has finally turned cold (it is January, after all), things are heating up once again at Michael’s. The dining room was abuzz with the usual mix of movers and shakers, moguls and random celebrities (we understand Hugh Grant had a reservation but was stuck at the airport, darn it!) — and plenty of power suits. Even the most jaded regular craned their neck to catch a glimpse of basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he arrived shortly after 1:00. While we’re still awaiting the return of some of our favorite friends, there were plenty of boldface names to more than keep us interested.

Here’s the rundown on who was dining and dishing today:

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and a group of unidentified handlers and executives. The NBA hall-of-famer cut a towering figure (he’s 7’2″ after all) as he made his way to his table stopping to shake Al Roker‘s hand en route. Sporting a Tonight Show bomber jacket and penny loafers, he arrived with a copy of his new book, On The Shoulders of Giants, due out at the end of this month from Simon & Schuster, tucked under his arm. The retired L.A. Laker, who has the reputation of being something of a gentle and generous giant himself, writes movingly of Harlem’s renaissance in the upcoming tome. Sounds interesting …

2. Gerry Byrne and guests.

3. MTV’s John Sykes, a hip looking dark-haired beauty and an unidentified gentleman.

4. Norman Pearlstine, and we’re told, Fairchild’s Ed Nardozza.

5. Stanley Jaffe.

6. Today‘s Al Roker, his producer Jackie Olensky and our good pal Today show flack Lauren Kapp. The glowing new mom of two-month-old Oliver Darcy Wraps managed to tear herself away from her bouncing baby boy for the afternoon to catch up with her pals. She showed Diane Clehane, today’s lunchtime chronicler, lots of adorable pics of her bundle of joy. (We’re so impressed you’re out and about already!) Lauren, still on maternity leave, is back at her Today perch on March 1.

7. Vogue‘s Andre Leon Talley and Manolo Blahnik’s main man, George Malkemus. ALT caused quite a stir yesterday at 55th & Fifth when he arrived with newly-minted superstar (and sure to be Oscar-nominated) Jennifer Hudson. We guessing Ms. Hudson is in line to get the full Vogue treatment in an upcoming issue now that she’s arrived on the A list due to her shattering performance in Dreamgirls. We’re also thinking that Andre will step in and style the plus-size glamour gal for the red carpet as he did for Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) at last year’s Oscars.

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia (who fought off today’s bracing winter chill by drinking mint tea) with good pal Beth DeWoody. Thanks again DPC for introducing us to the Jong ladies last week. We’ve become fast friends with Molly!

9. A glam gathering of movie folk that also commandeered tables 12 & 16. (The last time we saw such a spectacle was the festive November lunch for Nancy Meyers attended by Cameron Diaz and company). On today’s call sheet: Oscar winning producer Marty Richards (“Chicago“), Dreamgirls director Bill Condon and a host of Hollywood types that looked important and imposing. We also spotted legend of stage and screen Lynn Redgrave and Arlene Dahl (mother of Lorenzo Lamas and “astrologer to the stars” — yes, really!)

11. Today show contributor Bill Stanton, who gave us a hearty hello.

14. Hearst’s Cathie Black — wearing the biggest pearls we’ve ever seen — and Steven Blacker.

15. HarperCollins’ David Hirshey and a female guest.

17. Walter Sabo and Estee Lauder’s executive vice president of global communications, Sally Susman.

18. The beautiful winter greenery blocked our view.

19. Ditto.

20. Kate White and Dave Zinczenko. The Cosmo editrix and Men’s Health honcho are long time pals who got to know each other as both have been tirelessly building their global brands. Today, though, the conversation was on more lighthearted fare — we chatted with Dave about his first trip to South Africa over the holidays. (He was dazzled by Cape Point’s beautiful beaches and awe-inspiring surf). Dave also weighed in on Steve Cuozzo‘s less than glowing review of Graydon Carter‘s new eatery, The Waverly Inn, that ran in today’s New York Post. “I’m offering the complete counterpoint,” says Dave. “The food is incredible, the service is wonderful.” We’re calling now for a reservation … Kate was still tickled by the buzz she created by showing up for lunch with rapper turned actor Ludacris last month. “I’m thinking I should show up with more mystery guests,” she told us. We’re all for it — just as long as you give us the scoop!

21. Jerry Inzerillo of Kerzner International who was sporting pics of his daughter Helena taken with Nelson Mandela. We’re impressed!!

22. Our own Laurel Touby —’s founder and CEO — with Bacon’s Jack Serpa and Mary Durkin.

23. Jack Romanos and television producer Kathleen Murphy.

24. Larry Kaiser.

25. Steven Greenberg.

26. Victor Garvey.

27. Steve Scheffer.

28. Missy Godfrey.

29. Author Pamela Keogh and good pal Renee Morrison. Ms. Keogh told us Ms. Morrison, who gets our vote for the most stylish diner of the day (we were coveting her gorgeous jewels) has “the prettiest house in Palm Beach” with room for lots of guests. Just say the word and our bags are packed!

30. Jonathan Capehart.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro DOT com & Lunch AT mediabistro DOT com.

Map of Michael’s