Farm and Restaurant Are Friends | Frolicking Salad

Michael Madden | Sam Lamb

Any new idea you consider will be more likely to be welcomed if you actively and intentionally introduce it to your other ideas and interests.  Look for unusual and inspired pairings.May Talisman Frost

A good frolic, for me, usually involves surveillance of two or more things that on the first glance seem unrelated, but after woolgathering reveal a magnetic pull towards one another.

You may call it oddball. I call it connecting the dots.

Often these new ideas make friends over there in the right side of my brain. And if I’m lucky by mealtime, they swirl into a party. With a meal.

*Case in point – The Farm and Fiddle; Santa Fe, Tennessee AND Left Coast Food + Juice; Chicago, Illinois – The two met up in my kitchen like this:

I sign up each month for The Farm and Fiddle’s CSA. Farmer Samantha Joelle Honey Lamb (Sam for short) is a darling. I sort of like that in the person who grows my ingredients.

She delivers the most extraordinary assortment of things to eat and she presents them in a country dream sort of manner. You will have to see for yourself (

Her menu is not only composed of enchanted produce (fairy tale eggplant last week), but eggs (duck or chicken), meats and always an angelic surprise: pasta, honey, herb vinegar, pickled beets, and Muletown Coffee ( produced under the influence of her seasonal vegetables.

With 8 years under her belted farm girl apparel, she moved her farming operation, animals et al, from her birthplace in Oklahoma to 20 acres in Middle Tennessee, “more convenient for the fiddle,” her husband and rarified stringed instrument player Daniel Foulks.

Sam is one who fully lives her originality and some would say is a purist each and every day. She was influenced by her Grandpa who utilized the commercial farming practices of his day.

She followed him from dawn to dusk in an era absent of female farmers and around those who considered her action plan of farming “just too fanciful”. But Sam was nothing if not intentional with her old but new again farming ideas: ‘small and sustained by diversity’ has always been her ticket.

Certainly she says, “not every farmer’s cup of Joe because it requires 110% of the physical and mental self everyday, but” she says, “we now have timesavers with technology”.

Sam loves the variety of duty: milking the cows, trestling the peas and seeing to the ducks. She suggests that newbie farmers should first check in with themselves for a heavy desire to farm because producing “heart food”, as Sam calls it, requires just that.

And then miracle of miracles, a related soul popped into view on one of those regular trips to Chicago. I mean sojourns to food heaven where my daughter and son-in-law keep me in tune with foodies who showcase a pioneering spirit.

And that brings me to the other brilliant chimerical food purveyor in this story, Michael Madden. Michael is the inventor of Left Coast Food + Juice (, a Chicago eatery noted for its casual, but speedy delivery of healthy and divine combinations of greens, wraps, salads, cold-pressed juices and smoothies.

Michael, a long 6’ 4” presentation of good will, came to an exotic menu by way of a huge and loving family. He is the beloved youngest with 14 years between his closet sibling. His mother, a seasoned cook, served up simple foods prepared from scratch. Today Michael says that his eighteen month old son previews “a broader spectrum of foods than I did in my first 18 years.”

Michael’s wife introduced him to the idea of clean living through what to eat. She researched food allergies which were altering her health and energy. Their journey through to a conscious diet – more vegetables, less processed food, more organic produce and proteins, was a bingo!

Michael will sign a body up in a Chicago minute when he speaks of the necessity of never compromising on high quality ingredients. “You can taste it and your body benefits,” he says.

Enthusiasm for design of said eating out experience brought Michael to a request opportunity for Paul Kahan to create the Left Coast menu.  And If you haven’t had the thrill yourself, be sure when in Chicago, to check out Kahan’s incomparable dining experiences at Avec, Big Star, Publican, Dove’s or Nico Osteria.

“Paul Kahan is in that handful of the best on the planet in his field. He gets it,” says Michael “And he crushed our menu.”

Left Coast is a welcoming spot; the staff is right there with you and the food combinations have a distinctive stick with you goodness, sort of like an IV surge of energy.

Their dish, Jimmy Ching, was my first order. I could not get it out of my mind.

And that’s how those dots connect. Back in my Tennessee kitchen, after I introduced Michael’s menu to Sam’s veggies, I noted that some souls with heart are in cahoots whether they know it or not.

Frolic with me – wherever you may be, dropping food crumbs for better eating choices is a party. With a meal.


Frolicking Salad

Inspired by Left Coast ingredients and Farm and Fiddle produce.  Amounts to suit yourself.

Nappa Cabbage *thinly sliced
Romaine Lettuce *thinly sliced
Snow Peas *blanched
Cooked Quinoa
Green Onions * thinly sliced
Mint *chopped
Sesame Seeds
Vinaigrette of your choice


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