I gotta quit showing up to places where members of the Schlegel family live. It's bad for my morale. It makes me question whether my hard-working, up-by-their-bootstraps parents couldn't have just put in a couple extra hours at the office and bought me a 29th floor penthouse at the W Residences in Victory Park. Because it's hard work that gets people penthouses, right? Right.
A few weeks ago, I was there when the Parental Schlegels hosted a press conference for Ebby Halliday in their third-floor basketball gym, and Friday night, kiddo Kirby hosted a gifting lounge for a hundred of his closest, Super Bowl-loving, high-heeled and button-downed friends. But while I was just another media hound at the Ebby party, I fanagled my way into Kirby's place the old fashioned way: by drinking a hell of a lot.
Specifically, I drink a hell of a lot at La Grange, the Deep Ellum swankytonk where you can find me a couple nights a week tossing back Sno-Cones and Shiners. Owner Stephanie Schumacher used her shining personality and impeccable business sense to get me, and, more important, her amazing Chef Ro and kitchen staff into the Schlegel party. I went to drink. La Grange went to serve up their signature Texas takes on Southern, Mexican and American classics.
To that end, I have two words for you: brisket empanadas. To another end, I have some more words: Do not walk on Kirby Schlegel's cow hide rugs, because they were not meant to be walked on, even though they are rugs. If that doesn't make sense to you, you probably don't even deserve to be thinking about cowhide rugs.
But what you want to know is: Were there celebrities in the (pent)house?
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Native Haitian and "Nightlife philanthropist" Unik Ernest, buddy of Schumacher's, played party host to promote his earthquake relief charity. He kissed me on the cheek moments before we found out that Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino had just left the party. Then Schumacher made me take a red carpet picture and told me that somebody told her that ladies never allow themselves to be photographed with a drink in hand. To which I said: I am not sure people would recognize me in photographs if I wasn't holding a drink.
Schumacher said a very pretty blonde lady, who I believe may have been named Heidi Dillon from some couture charity in Dallas called the Fashionistas, was there. Their website looks very nice, and I wish I'd known what and who they were before I hung out with all of them and their fabulous shoes, but that's the way celebrity gifting lounge go.
With a biting IPA and a smooth blonde ale from the Deep Ellum Brewing Company in hand, the Man O' The Hour and I stepped -- well, I kind of slip-hobbled in my cowboy boots -- to check out the patio view from Schlegelland. Predictably, it is epic, and will only grow more epic once the Perot Museum is completed. Ellumites will be excited to know that the D.B.C. folks told me they'll be launching bar-specific brews for the neighborhood in the coming months, with La Grange getting some of the first dibs.
Double Wide bartenders were also on hand, and little display cards touted the venue as a great party spot, and I can only hope that the posh crowd was charmed by East Dallas's quaint and friendly charm and ability to make delish drinks and amazing hors d'oeuvres. So I'll say this for Stephanie Schumacher: The woman does a fantastic job not only of making her friends happy, but of giving them the space they need to shine. Friday night, the combo of Deep Ellum native food and drink in a W penthouse was about as fantastically Dallas an evening as I could have asked for.