Trader Joes Receipt

Writers of the Future Packing List: The Food Edition

by | May 7, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Gotta preface this by saying Writers of the Future is local to me. This list would be way, way harder (if not impossible) if I was flying, especially with just a carry on (as I prefer to do). You could swing it, as-is, with a checked-in bag and a trip to a local grocery store. WOTF does schlepp attendees to a Ralph’s supermarket, and Loews does have microwaves on the 5th and 10th floors, as well as in-room Keurig machines.

Los Angeles is not a cheap food town. Not for eating out. Not if you want to try to eat relatively healthy.

Add in the typical hotel up-charge on food (that doesn’t correlate to increase in quality) at hotels, if you end up buying hotel food, and you could easily end up spending well past $500 on food for the week.

I haven’t seen any blog posts (or any type of posts) on this topic, so here goes.

I really didn’t want to eat out the entire week. And I know, as an introvert-leaning ambivert, and from past experience, I knew I’d need time alone to recharge, especially if I was going to socialize at BarCon in the evenings.

Friday night I ordered bar food while Dave and I had drinks at the bar. (He was heading off for a birthday dinner with a friend, and of course I was going to be heading to the WOTF orientation meeting.) I ordered the Chicken Bao (fried chicken, pickled cucumber, spicy mustard, Bao Bun), $14, and a side salad, $9. The side salad was huge; I saved half of it for a meal the next day. There were two Bao buns; they were tasty, and filling, and I ate both, figuring they wouldn’t reheat well. (Sorry, I’m bad about food pics, didn’t get any.) Note: I’m not including my Manhattan or Dave’s wine in my food total!

The only other meal I had out was a lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with some of my fellow attendees and instructors. I saved half of my pizza, and had that for dinner that night.

Otherwise, here’s the food packing list, with comments.


  • Coffee Kit: includes scale, Aeropress, manual grinder, mug. I got lazy and only used the mug. Previously purchased.
  • Coffee Beans: got lazy, only used Starbucks instant packets that I did buy for the trip. Couple left over.
  • Half and half: I had a partial carton from home that I brought.
  • Tea bags: previously purchased. I think I had one cup of tea.
  • Cocoa packets: previously purchased. Used one for a smoothie.
  • Hot water heater: Used daily for coffee and the cup of tea
  • Oatmeal: never got into, already had in pantry
  • Dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon for oatmeal, salt: Used up the partial bag of dried cherries for salads; never got into the whole bag that I bought; didn’t use the cinnamon (though in hindsight, should’ve just tossed it into some of the smoothies)
  • Fruit (frozen): 2 bags strawberries, 1 bag blueberries. Used them all.
  • Yogurt: large container, used it all, previously purchased.
  • Oranges x 6. Used five in smoothies (one per smoothie) and had one leftover that I ate with a meal.
  • Bananas x 2: smoothies. (Dave ate the other 3 bananas.)
  • Salt: smoothies, salad, etc. Brought a tiny glass jar.
  • Pepper: salad etc. Brought a tiny glass jar.
  • Vanilla: used Trader Joes bourbon vanilla bean paste, previously purchased. Used it all in smoothies, brought home the cleaned jar.
  • Maple syrup: previously purchased, for oatmeal. Never used.
  • Blender: used every day I had ingredients for a smoothie.
  • Peanut butter: previously purchased, brought some home. Used some in the banana/peanut butter/hot chocolate packet smoothie. This was delicious.
  • Veggies: carrots, lettuce, cherry tomatoes. Ate the bag of lettuce over the course of the week. Ate all the tomatoes. Brought home some carrots.
  • Cheese: ate the blue cheese wedge crumbled into salads. Brought home, unopened, the Cotswold wedge.
  • Crackers: brought home the pita crackers. Ate the savory squares which are delicious vegan sort of cheesy things.
  • Roasted chicken: used in salads. Bought the 16 oz pack of roasted chicken breast from Trader Joes.
  • TJ meals frozen: chicken chili verde, chicken tikka masala, paneer tikka masala, one mac & cheese (which makes two meals): ate them all.
  • Paper plates & bento bowl (microwave-safe)
  • Plastic silverware
  • Dish detergent
  • Knife for cutting
  • Sponge
  • Nutribullet blender. Bought this for the trip, not including it in my food budget, because I love this thing and am using it both at home and for every future roadtrip.

I think that’s it. I did have a cooler, but it died—hole in the liner—so everything in there got moved to the minifridge. Of course the frozen stuff defrosted, but it all worked.

There was a barbecue from Author Services one night—tasty!—and then, of course, the Gala meal, which was very good. I shamelessly took leftovers–nearly all of my potatoes and an entire thick medium rare filet mignon—which I ate the next day for dinner.

All told, I think I spent less than $150 including the meals out.

If I didn’t have the blender, I’d have had a lot of oatmeal. If I couldn’t bring the hot water heater, either the in-room Keurig or the microwave (if you had a microwave-safe bowl or similar) could have worked.

I wish this was something I knew ahead of time, and could have shared with my cohort. But I hope it helps future winners!

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