Tai Davis and Grand Spirits Launch Dinner Series, Conexión, Next Week


Tai Davis is teaming up with Grand Sprits for a new dinner series, Coneción, that celebrates Mexican cuisine. - MABEL SUEN
  • Tai Davis is teaming up with Grand Sprits for a new dinner series, Coneción, that celebrates Mexican cuisine.

A thrilling new dinner series celebrating the food and spirits of Mexico is bringing together four heavy-hitters in the St. Louis food and beverage scene. Conexión, a celebration of agave and tacos, launches May 5 at Brennan's Work & Leisure (3015 Locust Street, 314-620-3969) and will feature food from the talented Tai Davis paired with drinks from Grand Spirits, a beverage consulting company from the genius cocktail minds of Ray Edwards, Michael Fricker and Kyle Harlan.

According to Fricker, who is also the beverage director at the Gin Room, the idea for Conexión arose organically during conversations with Davis. Both share a deep respect and appreciation for regional Mexican cuisine and mused about doing something together to express that.

"He's just an electric person and is just so authentic and real with who he is and what he wants to be," says Fricker of Davis. "We met up one night with Ray, had drinks, made food and really connected. When Tai said he wanted to do this pop-up, we were 100 percent in. We wouldn't do it if we didn't have a true understanding of Mexican cuisine."

Fricker says that this respect for Mexican food and spirits is the defining characteristic of Conexión. After spending nearly a year cooking alongside a friend's grandmother at a taco cart in Oaxaca following culinary school, Fricker developed a passion for its culinary tradition — something Davis, too, embraced after several stints in Mexico. He emphasizes that they are eager to show their love for the food and drink in a way that showcases the rich traditions.

For Davis, the format for this expression is the taco. Conexión will explore the various regional cuisines of Mexico, all the while centering on the street food staple. The first dinner will focus on the cuisine of Oaxaca, with each subsequent dinner (the plan is to do one per month), looking at a different region, but through the same lens. Dishes for the first dinner include a green chorizo taco with sweet potato, fried egg, tomatillo salsa and queso fresco; a fish tempura taco with pico de gallo, Mexican creama and charred lime; and beef soup with guajillo chiles and bocoles.

As for the drink component, Fricker is excited to showcase a different agave spirits maker at each event. For the inaugural dinner, he and the Grand Spirits team will be highlighting the local company Una Vida Tequila, pairing a different tequila-based cocktail with each of Davis' dishes. Though they are still putting the finishing touches on the cocktail menu, guests can expect a banana washed punch, Una Vida Reposada with herbal elixir and a clarified mole negroni. In addition to the dinner, there will be a tasting table and educational presentation.

"We want to educate as much as entertain," says Fricker.

Tickets for Conexión can be purchased through Eventbrite for $75, inclusive of food and drinks. Two seatings — one at 5 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. — are available.

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