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Lunch: A Heaping Helping of The Usual Suspects

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It’s a lo-cal edition of ‘Lunch’ today. After all, you can’t expect to indulge in a diet rich in celebs and boldface names every week. We’ve spoiled you, I know. (By the way, if you’re looking to chat with some big-time media mavens and news makers, don’t miss the first TVNewser Summit on March 10.) After settling in at the bar, I went searching for tasty tidbits and found some of the regulars ready to serve up some interesting morsels. Men’s Health honcho David Zinczenko, who was praised in Keith Kelly‘s column in today’s New York Post as “a winner” and “the face” of Rodale, returned to the dining room after a long absence. “I’ve been having a lot more lunches at my desk,” Dave told me. Fresh off a round of appearances for his latest Eat This, Not That blockbuster book, Dave was lunching with Michael Caruso, the former editor-in-chief of Men’s Journal now with OpenGate Capital, the equity fund that recently bought TV Guide. No one multitasks like Dave, who was thrilled to show me the April issues of Men’s Health and its increasingly successful sister, Women’s Health, which boasts its first-ever beauty ‘flip cover.’ Dave is thrilled with new-ish hire Michele Promaulayko as editor for Women’s Health and was singing her praises with what she’d done with her first issue. “She’s already a star,” says Dave.

As luck would have it, Michele was right across the room lunching with The Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis so I went over and introduced myself. Michele told me she was “thrilled” to be with the title, and we chatted about the always interesting experience of interviewing and shooting celebs and dished over what makes for a great fashion story. I told her I loved the piece on dressing for work. It looked terrific and oh-so-chic. We both agreed service has its place, but the pictures have to dazzle. And in her premiere issue, they do. “Fashion cred is important,” Michele told me. You’ve got it.

At the bar, there was plenty of conversation among Michael McCarty and his staff about the design for the new label for the upcoming release of his 2005 Pinot Noir from The Malibu Vineyard Rambla Pacifico. It’s his first since replanting in 2000 (in case you were wondering). We cast our vote to stay with the classic but modern look of the 2004 label. Sommelier Seth Liebman tells me the talk also turned to wine yesterday when Jack Kliger, an avid collector, wanted to enjoy a glass of 1970 Les Forts de Latour and didn’t want the rest of the bottle of the impressive vintage to go to waste, so he graciously offered some to director Stephen Daldry. Cheers!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Steve Rubenstein presiding over a table of movers and shakers including Marty Bandier

2. Peter Brown with another distinguished gent (Update: That distinguished gent was New York Daily News editor-in-chief and deputy publisher Martin Dunn)

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Lisa Caputo

4. David Zinczenko and Michael Caruso


5. Stan Shuman

6. Most of ‘The Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andy Bergman

8. I stopped by to chat with my pals Felicia Taylor and Kim Vernon, two women of substance and style. These fab fashionistas were “talking business” and we wound up discussing how New Yorkers are having to think more carefully about how to best produce and promote the charity events that fill so many fabulous folks’ social calendars. We all agreed these days, a great deal of decorum and sensitivity is needed. Scaling back over-the-top decor and all the bells and whistles is the right thing to do, says Felicia, so that the maximum amount of dollars raised goes to the worthiest of causes. And, says Kim, black tie isn’t always the best way to go. Challenging times require innovative thinking — and these ladies are sure to lend the voice of reason to any cause they choose to support.

11. Hearst high priestess Ellen Levine (looking ab fab in a black dress accessorized with a killer purple belt) with Sid Holt.

12. Andy Stein toting an old-school black and white composition notebook.

14. Producer Stanley Jaffe and an unidentified blonde gal

16. Lorna Graevs

17. Michele Promaulayko and Giada De Laurentiis

18. The always-dapper Randall Jones with Jackie Leo (loved the boots!)

20. Freddie Friedman

21. Spinmeister Stu Zakim dining with Entertainment Weekly flack Barrie Gordon. Stu, who is always so great about keeping us up to date at the goings on at Showtime stopped by to chat with me at the bar. I told him I was looking forward to the series finale of The L Word airing this Sunday. (If you missed my wide-ranging conversation with series creator Ilene Chaiken for mediabistro.com’s So What Do You Do? series, check it out here). Stu is keeping busy these days getting ready for the highly anticipated Nurse Jackie starring Edie Falco. The series premieres on June 8. We can’t wait…

23. Imax’s Rob Gelfand

24. Lisa Shallet

25. Anthony Grillo

27. Beauty Fashion‘s George Ledes with Kevin Madden (Give our best to Chris!)

Faces in the crowd: The lovely Brooke Hayward lunching solo at the bar because her date, New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia was feeling a bit under the weather. Feel Better! In case you didn’t know, there’s a cool photo of Miss Brooke hanging in the men’s room. I’ve never seen it, you understand, but I’ve heard all about it.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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