Why did I love our dinner at this place so much? Could it be that The Dream Away Lodge is rumored to have been a brothel during the Depression years, which speaks of a rich history of satisfying and unburdening the cares of its clientele? Could it be that it’s so tucked away in the woods around Becket, Massachusetts that your GPS will not get you there — so that its current owner, Daniel Osman, refers to it as “Brigadoon” – a place that may exist only in a dream?
Jill and I dined there the other evening with three young and exuberantly attractive actors, who if you added up all their ages together would still be younger than me. And it didn’t matter — not at The Dream Away, where time has no sway.
Chef Amy Loveless’s menu is delightfully all over the place — as is the table setting — no plate, no fork, no spoon is like another. Thai Beef Salad; Korean Short Ribs; Moroccan Chicken; Armenian Grilled Lamb; Black Pepper Tofu and Sticky Rice; Grilled Vegetable Terrine with Quinoa Tabouleh and Olives; their self-proclaimed Famous Meat Loaf.
And — just to underline the dreamlike quality of our experience — they offered a baked trout in lemon and dill. The play we’re doing at this very moment has a scene where my character comes home from fishing and asks Jill’s character to prepare his catch with her “famous lemon and dill.” Are we talking Woo-Woo or what?
I asked the server about their burger — The Dream Away Burger.
Why would I go for a burger with all these scrumptious treats on offer? Because I’m a dedicated scientist and burgers are my field of inquiry.
“How’s the burger?” I asked.
“People say it’s the best in the Berkshires.”
I had to have it. Then she offered me the possibility of substituting the sirloin with a local beef with a high reputation for taste for two bucks more — and I went for that. I eschewed the bacon; I took a slice of tomato and a slice of onion.
It is a great burger. And I don’t throw that word around loosely — unless I’m drunk or stoned, in which case everything’s great. But right now in my cold-sober state I will say without compunction that this is a great burger. Not overly big; not underly small; juicy without the horrid addition of the ubiquitous “pink slime.” And full of taste. The taste is key. It’s very Neanderthal, the taste of perfectly cooked, well-aged, properly fed beef — a combo of charred flesh, blood and suet — the very elements that would make a Vegetarian take the pledge.
Come back soon!
It makes me want to fly back to the Dream Away Lodge and order another.
The Dream Away Lodge - 1342 County Road, Becket, MA 01223 - (413) 623-8725
Michael Tucker is an actor and author whose third book is the recently published Family Meals: Coming Together to Care for an Aging Parent. You can read more about his food adventures on his blog Notes from a Culinary Wasteland.