This post is brought to you by Grocery Gateway by Longo’s.
Summertime means vacation, right? But sadly, all vacations must come to an end which is exactly what happened for me last week. And with that, back to reality and shopping and meal prep. Ugh right? Well, yes but I have a not-so-secret helper who, for over 17 years now has been helping me take the “ugh” factor out of returning from vacation. That’s right – Grocery Gateway has been helping me get ahead on my shopping and meal planning even before I get home for all these years (from the most far flung corners of the world!).
What is Grocery Gateway?
Grocery Gateway is an online grocery delivery service (one of the first in North America) celebrating 20 years in September! Longo’s acquired Grocery Gateway in 2004 as a natural extension of the personalised service on which Longo’s had built their reputation. They carefully curate the products on offer and foster relationships with local growers and vendors to offer good food, in-season, at competitive pricing. Read more about buying and eating local on Grocery Gateway here.
Why I use Grocery Gateway
We started using Grocery Gateway as an experiment. Back in the summer of 2000, I had just arrived in Canada and Neil wanted to try this delivery service since I don’t drive and he is not a fan of grocery shopping unless he is on holidays – it seemed like an excellent solution to the dilemma of “When/ how will I get the shopping done?”. Nowadays, I still don’t drive and we don’t like to go shopping when we have the time (peak time at the grocery store? No thanks!) so ordering through Grocery Gateway is a part of our weekly routine (and also a part of our “back to reality, post vacation” routine…).
How does Grocery Gateway compare to shopping in person?
In terms of pricing, the delivery fee is $9.99 but honestly, I think we save much more than that because online shopping doesn’t allow for impulse purchases (which I admit we are notorious for – set me in a grocery store and I’ll look at every aisle, “in case” there’s something I forgot to put on the list. Just like a bricks and mortar grocery store, Grocery Gateway offers weekly specials which I do take a look at, just as I might a flyer or in-store (and for heavy items like cat litter, I don’t hesitate to stock up if they are on sale, as I might if I had to carry my groceries home on public transit).
“What about freshness?”, I hear you asking. Well, fresh items come with a guarantee (fresh items will arrive with a guaranteed minimum number of days left before expiry), cool items arrive chilled and frozen items arrive frozen. Grocery Gateway says: If for any reason you are not satisfied with an item you receive or have mistakenly ordered the wrong product, let your delivery team member know during delivery and they’ll take the item back and arrange for a credit to your account. If you notice a concern after your driver has left, please call or email our Customer Care team about any order issues within seven days of the day on which the item was (or was to be) delivered. We can arrange for a credit to your account and pick up of the item.
In the many years we’ve been using Grocery Gateway we’ve had very few issues with fresh items but anytime we have got in touch with Customer Service, we’ve only ever had a positive experience – refunds issued almost immediately via a credit to our account. No questions asked, no hassles.
Why I love Grocery Gateway.
One of my favourite features of Grocery Gateway is the ability to add to your shopping basket as you remember items. You can save grocery lists in the “My Lists” feature (we have a few of those saved, including a couple of lists specifically for the classes I teach which makes prepping those classes so easy!). There’s also a “My Favourites” section where you can quickly choose from your most-purchased items – it’s the section we use the most, I’d say.
(as I said back in June), “For a household where the driver doesn’t like to shop, it’s ideal. You can add to your grocery cart through the week as you remember items, schedule deliveries (generally you can get a delivery window with just a day’s notice) and the service is top notch. For someone who doesn’t drive and who often needs three separate grocery orders each week (cookbook recipe development, our groceries and groceries for cooking classes), it’s been an absolute lifesaver.”
So… coming back from vacation… Grocery Gateway is truly the helping hand everyone needs when they’re headed back into real life after a holiday. Neil and I, for years now, have sought out internet cafés and, more recently, wifi towards the end of our trips so we can schedule a delivery either on the day we arrive home or the morning after (love that the delivery slots start at 6am – great if you are suffering jetlag and you need some breakfast!). This summer, after 7 weeks in France and Spain, I was craving some different flavours (don’t get me wrong, I love cheese and jamón but there’s only so much I can eat!) – Asian or Mexican food was at the top of my list. So when it came time to schedule a delivery to coincide with our return, I packed our shopping cart with fresh vegetables (and Ontario peaches and strawberries!) with plans to make the opposite of a “clean out your fridge stir fry” (which is what I often make when I’m leaving on vacation, ironically – a “stock the fridge” version, which made enough for dinner on our first night back with leftovers for the next day’s lunch. A perfect re-entry to meal planning…
Can’t think what you need because you’re still in vacation mode? Check out Grocery Gateway’s “Cart Starters” – pre-filled carts (including BBQ and Picnic versions or a cart filled with all of the most popular organic products) that you can add to your own cart in just one click. Simple, right?
Now, about my “re-entry meal”…
Stock the fridge stir fry
Quick and easy stir fry using ingredients you'll be happy you stocked your fridge with post-vacation!
- 200 g golden egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 1/2 red onion (approx 150g)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5cm piece of ginger, grated on a Microplane)
- 1/2 fresh red chili (optional), thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot (125g), sliced into matchsticks approx 1/2 cm wide and 7cm long
- 1 large red pepper (200g), sliced into matchsticks approx 1/2 cm wide and 7cm long
- 1 large green pepper (200g), sliced into matchsticks approx 1/2 cm wide and 7cm long
- 1 large yellow pepper (200g), sliced into matchsticks approx 1/2 cm wide and 7cm long
- 4 baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- 3 king oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of fresh corn)
- 1/2 cup fresh peas
- 1 tablespoon fish oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, cover and set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sauté the garlic, ginger and chili (if using) in the oil until they begin to soften and are fragrant (they should not get brown).
- Add the carrots and peppers and cook for a few minutes until they are just starting to soften.
- Add the bok choy, mushrooms, corn and peas and cook a couple more minutes.
- Decrease the heat to low, add the cooked noodles into the pan and toss with tongs to distribute evenly.
- Add the fish and soy sauce and use tongs to coat the noodles and vegetables.
- Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, green onions and bean sprouts and serve.
Bon appétit. And welcome back to real life. And hey, there’s a “Cart Starter” for this meal too!
Interested in trying Grocery Gateway? I have a one-time use (good for new or existing customers) $15 discount code (GGMardi2017) valid until October 2017. Please note the code is case sensitive.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post of the best kind. Grocery Gateway is a company I have personally been supporting since long before I was blogging. I’m thrilled to write about their services here and have received compensation and grocery credits in exchange for this post and associated social media promotion. But if you know me in real life (hello neighbours!) you’ll know this is 100% authentic, sponsored post or not!