If I had a dollar for every time my waiter recommended the fish tacos, I’d be cruising the Keys in a new yacht! My name is Daniella DeLucia, and I’ve lived in Islamorada since I was a tiny tot. My parents and I used to go to Lorelei every Sunday for jerk chicken. In fact, my dad and I fell through their old, wooden dock and into the water years ago before they remodeled; and still, we remain loyal patrons! I have stories like these at eateries throughout the Keys because we’ve been back to our favorites at least a hundred times over.

Lately, I’ve been craving something different. I needed more variety in my diet — something I couldn’t find on an Islamorada menu. I got the idea to start cooking.

Only one (embarrassing) problem: I am 25-years-old, and I am just now learning to cook. And, I know I am not alone. As a single girl working full-time, I didn’t have the energy to find a recipe, go buy ingredients, and then actually prepare a home-cooked meal. It just wasn’t happening. Instead, frozen dinners became my go-to. I was open to meal kit delivery services, but they don’t deliver to the Keys. When I discovered that Publix and Winn Dixie deliver groceries to my door, my cooking took off! It’s changed my life — I shop less, cook more, see more friends, and even have lost weight. I’m happier and healthier.

Publix delivers through a phone app called Instacart. When I search online for recipes on any major recipe website such as Food Network, All Recipes, etc., I use the “Get Ingredients” button to add all items from my chosen recipe to my Instacart. I remove items l already have in my kitchen (i.e., salt) and make customizations. The technology is smart and remembers brands I prefer. Then, I choose when to have my groceries delivered, and I don’t even need to be home when they arrive (unless I order alcohol). This simple grocery service has taken the stress out of meal prep for me, which has actually allowed me to cook a decent dinner.

There are other perks. Last summer, my boyfriend Edward Mallon and I ordered Instacart while we prepped the Contender cabin for our trip from Islamorada to the Bahamas. Within two hours, we stood in the trailered boat as an Instacart delivery man lifted and handed us multiple cases of water, beer and snacks for our voyage. Amazed, Edward exclaimed, “He definitely earned his tip that day!”

Instacart Shopper
Instacart shoppers are rated and reviewed, so it’s in their best interest to select the best produce for a client.

The most common question I get asked is, “Do the shoppers choose good quality produce?” Yes — avoiding faulty fruit isn’t rocket science. Also, Instacart keeps shoppers accountable by prompting users to rate them. You can also leave special instructions. For example, I wrote “Super squishy please!” as a special instruction for my avocado. Voila! A couple hours later, I had a perfectly ripe avocado for my instant guacamole.

The service has helped my friends and family who live far away from a grocery store. Debra Jiovenetta, resident of Lower Matecumbe, used to drive 40 minutes to the Key Largo Publix before they built the new store in Islamorada. She exclaimed, “I wish I knew about this app sooner! I will definitely utilize the app on holiday weekends when the traffic is backed up.”

Shipt is the Winn Dixie equivalent of Instacart. Out of curiosity, I signed up for a free trial with Shipt to compare the grocery delivery services. The cost for the service and the interface were nearly identical. One night I actually did an experiment: I entered my entire shopping list into both apps. Each item was never the same price, but the total cost for both orders came out to be almost exactly the same. So, if you are deciding between which service to use, I recommend making your decision based on whose products you prefer.

The drawback to using a grocery delivery service is that prices on the apps are slightly higher than in-store. For example, a Publix coconut oil via Instacart is $4.55 versus $4.05 in store. I rationalize that time is money; five minutes of shopping time is at least worth the $0.50 cent markup.

With all the time I save using a grocery delivery service, I cook gourmet dinners five nights a week now; frozen dinners are in the past; and I feel a sense of pride when I make a great tasting meal for my family and friends. It’s well past time that this Italian conch learned her way around the kitchen.

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any company/service.

Details, Details:

  • Order minimum: $10.
  • Delivery Charge of ~ $3.99 – $7.99 per order if not a member.
  • Instacart Express: membership option for customers who want to use the service regularly for a flat annual fee of $99 or a monthly fee of $9.99. Membership gets you unlimited free deliveries on all orders over $35.

Wanna eat with friends?

  • Each membership account can have multiple people.
  • Group Cart option: send a unique link to a group of people to add to the cart. They don’t have to have an account. Once everyone is finished, you can “check out” and get the group’s groceries delivered in about an hour.

Wanna try?

  • Phone App: tip your shopper, add multiple delivery addresses or payment cards.
  • New users are eligible for a free 14-day trial of Instacart Express.
  • Use promo code DDELUCIA2601F5 for $10 off your first order.

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