Hitting the Foodie Jackpot on a Road Trip

How hunger pangs on a random country road led to two fabulous food finds--an amazing market and the ultimate cupcake truck.

OKaysions Katering & Fresh Market in Alpha, in Warren County. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery
OKaysions Katering & Fresh Market in Alpha, in Warren County. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

On a road trip, there is usually nothing but fast food to halt hunger pangs. But on a recent drive through bucolic Warren County, near the Delaware River, I happened upon OKaysions Katering and Fresh Market in the tiny borough of Alpha. I might have whizzed right by had I not reached a red light and noticed people bustling in and out.

I parked, went in, and the food cases and the aroma told me I had lucked out indeed.

There were no tables, but it was a beautiful fall day, and I slid into one of the picnic tables outside to enjoy a steaming bowl of chicken and corn chowder and a salad with apples and butternut squash in a fig balsamic dressing.

When I finished, I went back in and soon emerged with takeout packages of roasted-pepper and smoked gouda-glazed chicken wings, a creamy pierogie salad, a jar of house-made pickles and some chocolate chip pumpkin bars. Since I wouldn’t be near a fridge for hours, they graciously gave me a bag of ice to keep my treats cold.

Adding to my good luck, every purchase that day included a ‘winning ticket’ for a free cupcake from the Pirate Cupcake truck parked outside.

The piratecupcake.com food truck. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

The piratecupcake.com food truck. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

OKaysions was opened last January by Darrell Swinicki, a former building contractor, and his daughter Kayla, 25, a graduate of Northhampton College’s culinary program in Pennsylvania as well as East Stroudsberg University.

Through word of mouth, the business has grown to include corporate and personal catering. “I keep telling my daughter this is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Swinicki of their first year in business.

The community has come to appreciate the special promotions, like the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner for 10 for $55. The bundle includes turkey, stuffing, gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, corn or green beans, fresh-baked rolls and pumpkin pie.

Swinicki met Laura McConnell, owner of the Pirate Cupcake, when he renovated the kitchen in her Holland Township home. Now she pulls up to OKaysions every month or so with a van full of cupcakes.

The Pirate Cupcake sells 6-to-10 varieties of nut-free cupcakes, including seasonal flavors like apple caramel and pumpkin snickerdoodle. My free cupcake, needless to say, did not suffice. I had to buy more.

 

Pirate Cupcake Board. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

Pirate Cupcake Board. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

McConnell, a Flemington elementary school art teacher, bakes in a commercial kitchen in Milford and drives the converted mail truck (that she bought on Craigslist), serving frosted cupcakes at events throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.

Laura McConnell in her piratecupcake.com truck. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

Laura McConnell in her piratecupcake.com truck. Photo: Suzanne Zimmer Lowery

All-in-all, my random visit turned into a special OKaysion.

okaysionskatering.com

 piratecupcake.com

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