Who We Are

Hell's Kitchen, NY
"Grub Sessions" merges a passion for music with a love for cooking and good food. We interview a featured musical guest while serving him or her an easy-to-make gourmet meal. The recipes are provided in simple steps and fully documented with photographs.

We hope you tune in!
- Jed and Megan

Looking to book your artist as a guest? Looking to submit a recipe?
Please e-mail us at grubsessions@gmail.com or message us at myspace.com/grubsessions

Photo by Isabel Santos Copyright© 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

LOUIS DORLEY a.k.a. LOUIS LOGIC featuring Jícama Salad with Watercress and Lime Vinaigrette and Vegetarian Enchiladas with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

We are proud to present our first episode of Hell's Kitchen Grub Sessions featuring none other than indie hip-hop veteran, louis logic. For those unfamiliar with his work, Louis has been rapping professionally for over ten years and boasts several classic releases including: Sin-A-Matic (2003,) Alcohol/ism [w/Jay Love] (2004,) and Misery Loves Comedy [w/J.J. Brown] (2006.)

With Slick Rick-esque storytelling abilities and drunken party anthems, louis logic has permanently secured his place in the annals of underground hip-hop. But just when it seemed like he had perfected his style and formula, logic began to experiment with ways of thinking outside of the boom-bap box. Louis took piano lessons, studied music theory, and began incorporating singer/songwriter elements into his rap music.

Most recently louis linked up with super-producers, Beatman and Rockin', to form the hip-hop band, Spork Kills. Their new EP entitled, Beaches Love Us, features groovy, Balkan and surf rock influenced rap tunes like "Black Widow," "Business for Pleasure," "Night of the Hip N Dead," and "Blast from the Past."

This month we sat down with Louis (and his little friend, Lexington) to talk about his new oddball project and eat Jicama salad (with Watercress and Lime Vinaigrette) and Vegetarian Enchiladas (with a Tomatillo-Cilantro sauce.)
- Jed I. Rosenberg

Here's what he had to say about the food:

“I am thoroughly impressed. This is mad pro. It’s ama-zing. It’s so good. I’m really, really enjoying it. First of all, the sauce is deadly. It’s spicy, but it not like 'my mouth feels hot and burny,' it’s more like an aromatic spicy—you can smell it while you’re eating it, and the flavor is like 'boom!' Really hot stuff is just hot. This is actually really, super flavorful. It almost reminds me of like Indian food or something, the spicy stuff. Really, really good."
- Louis Dorley a.k.a. louis logic


Jícama Salad with Watercress and Lime Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 bunch watercress, lower stems broken off
(about 2 cups)
4 large romaine leaves, ripped into small pieces
1 medium Jícama bulb, peeled and cut into
sticks (about ¼ inch by 2 inches)

For Lime Vinaigrette:
¾ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup red or white wine vinegar

Combine oil, lime juice, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Stir rigorously to mix. My amounts are approximate—mess around with to your liking. Add more vinegar for a stronger, more acidic dressing; add more oil for a milder dressing.

In a large bowl, combine watercress, romaine and jícama. Drizzle on some of the dressing (you may not use all of it) and toss to combine. Taste, and add more dressing or salt if you’d like. Serve right away or the lettuce will start to wilt.

Inspiration for recipe from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday (Norton, 2005), page 70.

Vegetarian Enchiladas with a Tomatillo-Cilantro sauce

Serves 4

10 corn tortillas
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 10 oz. bag spinach
3 cups yellow squash, quartered
(about 3 medium squashes)
1 ½ cup queso fresco*, crumbled
olive oil

For the Tomatillo-Cilantro sauce:
15 medium sized tomatillos, husked, rinsed,
and cut into quarters
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 (or one for a milder sauce) Chipotles
en Adobo**
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar

* queso fresco is a crumbly, mild white cheese. You can buy it at most grocery stores, or you can substitute it for another fresh cheese such as feta or goat cheese.
** Canned Chipotles en Adobo sauce is a total staple for Mexican cooking (especially if you like it spicy). You can find it at a good, well-stocked grocery store, Mexican market or specialty store/deli, or online at mexgrocer.com.

Turn on the oven to 350 degrees. Drop the tomatillos, garlic cloves and chipotles in adobo into a blender, one or two at a time. Process until smooth. Add about ½ of the chooped cilantro into the blender and process again (save the rest of the cilantro for garnish).
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillo puree to the pan, stirring frequently until the mixture reduces to the consistency of a thick tomato sauce, about ten minutes. Cooking the sauce down makes it richer and sweeter. Add the chicken broth and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and yellow squash and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach on top (or in another skillet) and stir, until the spinach is wilted. Cover the filling for the tortillas to keep it warm.
Lightly coat the tortillas with olive oil—use a brush if you have one. Bake them in the over for a few minutes each so that they become warm and flexible.
Once the sauce has simmered, add the sugar (this will take away some of the tart, sour bite from the tomatillos) and heavy cream. Stir to mix the sauce and add salt if desired.
Spoon some sauce on the bottom of a plate. Add filling to the middle of a tortilla, fold over and add to the plate, seam-side down. Repeat with another tortilla and add to the plate. Sprinkle the enchiladas with the queso fresco and garnish with some red onion slices and the leftover chopped cilantro, and serve.

Inspiration for recipe from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday (Norton, 2005), page 215.

Grub Session with Louis Dorley a.k.a. louis logic (of Spork Kills)

GS: Let's begin … Okay, please introduce yourself.

LD: I’m Louis, Dorley … which is cool, because this is the first time in my career where I get to introduce myself that way. For nine years I’ve had kids shouting out to me from across rooms going, “Logic! Logic!” and me being like, “Who the hell are they yelling at?” I don’t really like having a rap name. That’s why I made it 'louis logic,' so people could just call me Louis. You know—listeners and such are real bent on the concept of using the rap name. So now I get to be Louis Dorley, so I’m Louis Dorley tonight, for the purposes of this interview, and I am the front man for the band Spork Kills. I also play keys, I rap and I sing.
So tell us about Spork Kills.

Well, originally after we already met and all that excitement, we realized we were like-minded in our interest in getting to indulge our musical fantasies and get as weird as we wanted to, regardless of the
consequences. And usually when I would make a record, I had to be at least a little bit mindful of who was gonna listen to it, how it was gonna reflect on my prior career. This is the first time I got to make a record without rules, without a safety net, and we made that our—I guess you might say our motto, for the creation of it. That we would try all the thing that we always wanted to try but were never allowed to try, and tried to take as many of the rules that kept us making traditional hip -hop the way it’s always been done and throw them out the window.
Why is it different?

[to Lexington] Well…come here, Lexington, come here! You love me so much you want to be near me. This is my friend, Lexington. So, it’s different in two ways. Firstly, it’s not constructed with samples. There’s live instrumentation and original writing. On top of that, in really indulging our sense of adventure with this project, we tried to use music styles that aren’t often paired together: not just for hip-hop, but for other styles, even in rock. So, for example, we’ve got a lot of stuff that comes from surf, and we’ve also done a fair bit of Balkan sounding stuff. So those two alone, mixing together, that’s pretty odd. I mean, it’s like putting jelly in your pasta sauce—and for some reason it still tastes good, you know? Well I haven’t tried that. Don’t try that. I’m not suggesting that you put jelly in your pasta sauce. I don’t think that would go over well. The theme that we saw happening over the course of creating it was—not just that it was surf and rap together, which to our knowledge had never really been done, certainly not to a live band, anyway—the theme that we saw forming, though, was that it was a retro record, much in the same way Mark Ronson was able to re-create the old Motown sound using the Dap Kings band or Amy Winehouse. But what made this different was that it was retro from the whiter side of music, using surf and like really cheesy lizard lounge stuff. Typically when people do retro, especially in the urban scene, they tend to focus on black music, like soul and Motown, stuff like that. So that right there made it a pretty oddball adventure from the start: and when we noticed that happening, we got pretty excited about it. We even got a little bit of twangy, country stuff—but old style, not like country rock shit, like…who does that. Who does that? Shania Twain. Does she do that? I think she does. It’s not like that kind of country. It’s old, twangy—George Jones country. Old.
You spent a lot of time for this project going to Denmark—

That was an important part of it. We didn’t do anything long distance because we wanted the experience of this New Yorker coming to Copenhagen, staying there to write and record, soaking it up from that city, letting it influence the sound of the record. We thought that it would sound phoned-in if we did long distance material. So we actually forced ourselves to wait until we were all together to make songs. Everything that we’ve done together happened together: it was all written on the spot, together—which has also given the record a different sound; it’s a lot more whimsical than my typical stuff, because it’s all in the moment. [to Lexington] Oh, you like that? Sharing my jicama.
Being in Copenhagen obviously influenced the making of this record. How do you feel about Danish culture, on a personal level?

There’s so much that I want to say about it, but I fear for my life because we live in the country that we do, and people don’t like naughty words like Socialism and stuff like that here; but I really think that they have it dialed over there. At the risk of being persecuted. It just makes you wonder what all the fuss is about, when you visit a place like that, and seeing how cool and at ease all the people are, and how well planned out and taken care of everything is. You ask yourself, is it really a bad idea? Why is everybody so defensive and sensitive about that?

So you mentioned that the songs now are a little bit more whimsical. You’ve changed a lot as an artist over the years—how do you think the content of your songs or your messages or mindset has changed?

Well, a lot, really…because I used to enjoy shocking people by being really graphic, and it was more my goal in the beginning of my career to be regarded as a great rapper, a great MC. And then over time, as I learned more about how music is made, I wanted to be a great musician and I wanted to learn how to play instruments and I wanted to branch out from simply chasing down the impossible crown of “best rapper” or “best MC.” It was just, you know, the childhood fantasy and dream of like all young rappers: you want to be the best. That wasn’t important to me anymore, and I think it made it really so I could focus on making good records, as opposed to this really self-indulgent and narcissistic drive to be the best rapper, you know. When you let go of that part and you’re a little more selfless about making the music, I think it opens the doors for a wider array of creativity and ideas and styles, as you can let go of the range a little bit with regard to “I’m going to impress you with my rapping thing,” and try to impress people with your songwriting. I want it to feel more like songwriting—not just, like, writing raps. I had done that for so long that I guess I felt justified in drifting a little bit; I felt like I’ve done my time there, and people should be respectful of that. I wouldn’t necessarily say that that had translated entirely, publicly; some people think that I’ve drifted into the stratosphere. But, I try to make myself happy first and the just hope that fans and listeners are gonna show up and agree. But it’s scary; it’s the chicken vs. the egg thing. You don’t want fans making you do what you think they’re gonna like.
Right. And what do you think the overall perception has been like? It seems like it’s been mixed, but how do you deal with the inevitable loss of fans?

I cry and I drink. I whine into the ears of friends, you know, friends who are musicians, friends who are supporters of my career. Every now and then I get brave enough to hit up a friend who doesn’t like the direction that I’ve gone in, just so I can get another perspective on it.

But you’re also gaining fans…

Yes, I am. I certainly don’t mean to make this sound like a funeral or something like that. In fact, this has been a really exciting time for me, because in the beginning we would attract the attention of listeners and media outlets who are more a part of the style of music that I listen to in my personal life, in private—I’ve always been a very big rock fan, really into indie rock and classic rock and singer/songwriters. It’s been really exciting for me bringing hip-hop to those people, in such a way that they feel like the complexity of our musical arrangements…they warrant calling us peers, you know. And I think one of the criticisms that you typically hear from musicians who work in different genres and styles about hip-hop is that it’s very elementary in its construction. But I think that’s been to the benefit and to the detriment of rap music. It’s not that all music that is simply made is bad; I just think that there’s enough of that happening already. We could use some people who are willing to risk everything to make stuff that’s a bit more complicated and ambitious, musically speaking. So for me, that’s been the exciting part: when I play this stuff for people who don’t even listen to hip-hop, they like it. That feels great, you know, turning people onto something that you’ve loved so much for so many years, when they typically don’t like it…it’s a victory that feels even better than satisfying all the kids that love rap music ‘cuz they just love rap music. Most of those guys are gonna come, anyway. They’re gonna show up because they love hip-hop and they want to see people spit, you know, hear beats, see DJing, be a part of that whole culture. But it’s exciting when you can pull somebody in who’s resistant to it, and doesn’t even really typically like that kind of music. And then they start thinking about other styles of hip-hop, you know? And they may learn something about the older guys, who made all this possible.
Well, what do you love about hip-hop—not as an artist, but as a listener?

I like the content of the songwriting—you know I feel like in rock, which I listen to a lot, the writing is very cryptic and there aren’t as many words, typically, in a song, so it’s harder to really get your point across. But I like that about rap music, that it’s so lyric-heavy. That’s my favorite part of the songwriting, is the content, the storytelling, the concepts.

You talked a little bit about your evolution as an artist: how has your live show evolved, and what can we expect from a live Spork Kills performance?

Well, learning to play piano has definitely changed my live show a lot. It’s made it so that I’m now even capable of playing an entire live set with just the piano and I. I mean, as somebody who actually cares about how I’m perceived by other musicians, whether or not they think I’m—well they used to think “you’re not much of a musician, you just rap.” That used to drive me crazy. I didn’t like that. I let it get to me a little bit—and maybe it ended up working out to my benefit because it pushed me to learn an instrument. And I’m not so crazy to believe that I’m a great piano player; I’m still a beginner and only good enough at it to be able to present it without making a fool of myself. People are usually surprised by how much I’ve learned, and they don’t know that I’ve only been playing for a couple of years. My third year anniversary just past in October. That’s been very different in my show. There’s more singing in my vocals now, which is something else I was doing, taking voice lessons and just trying to challenge myself to be more sincere about my singing, instead of doing a typical rapper tongue-and-cheek singing thing. The Spork Kills stuff will be very different. It will be the first time that I’m out on a regular basis with a live band. We’ve done that before, but only for individual shows in New York, and largely what we were doing was creating sample versions of our catalogue material as a live band. This stuff is different because this stuff was written by and for a live band. So there’s a lot more consistency and accuracy between what you hear in the studio recording and what we’re capable of doing live. We often have to sacrifice, when we’re translating from sampled songs into the live stuff because they’ll have instruments that we don’t have access to and we don’t know anybody who plays them. You can trigger samples, live—even when you’re playing with a band—but trying to we’re trying to make as much of this as possible happen right in front of the audience’s eyes.

So what’s the best way for people to get the EP, Beaches Love Us?

You can get it at the Spork Kills or the louis logic MySpace page. That’s the best place to get them right now. But, we’re also in discussion about small distribution deals and stocking this item at the more popular online retailers. Originally, when we decided to make an EP first, it was for the purposes of promotion. And so we didn’t bother to manufacture that many to begin with. So it’s a fairly limited run. I think we will do more, after the first run is gone. But at this point, it was never really our intention to make tens of thousands of these EPs in order to build our career, in that way. We wanted to use it as an item that would get us the kind of attention we wanted to negotiate for a deal that met with our needs and desires. So it’s largely promotional.

Ok. Is Okay. Is there anything else you want to say?

Only that I encourage everybody to tell their friends and even their family about the Spork Kills project. One of the odd side effects of making something that’s such a kooky mixture of hip-hop and other styles has been that it really does end up appealing to people who wouldn’t care for this sort of thing. We’re getting messages on our MySpace profile from an unusual number of women, first of all, which has been strange for me, because my typical career has been more male-driven, very macho stuff, often misogynistic and just really childish, especially in the beginning of my career. For some reason we’re attracting a lot of female listeners—we’ve even gotten an unusual number of comments from older women who are in their 40s and 50s. And I’m all shocked that they’re even on MySpace, let alone that they would like this hip-hop project that uses surf rock. It’s so weird. So I encourage people to show it to people that you don’t even think would like a rap record, and watch the surprise reaction when they go, “this is actually pretty, pretty cool.” That’s it. -Interview by Megan Conway

All photos by Isabel Santos. Copyright 2009.
Thank you to: Louis Dorley, Nadine Martinez, Isabel Santos, Nick Koenig, Ethan Blum, Danielle Plafsky.


  1. this is seriously such an awesome idea. put a delicious meal in front of anyone and they'll open up about the world to you. :)

  2. Great concept, well executed EXCEPT for the chicken broth.Thats not needed, at all!! And even though Im writing in the Louis Logic Lane(I like him two) I want to say THANKYOU for the Homeboy Sandman piece!!A new name for me(ageing b-boy)and already a new fav, thanks again and keep building!!!

  3. yeah, that was a fresh read aside from the chicken broth and the cheese...i guess i came to your blog when trying to track down homeboy sandman's vegan status and gathered that you and your interviewees were as well. no worries, i dig the interviews nonetheless.