I am traveling to an area that has naught for restaurants except for chains, but they do have a trader joe's. Being in the Fresh Market/Whole Foods dominated area of Tampa Bay, I've not dealt with them - but I am going to utilize my hotel room fridge as much as possible for my evening meals.
What can I expect to find that's portable, edible, and safe? I'm only staying 4 days, so I was hoping to find fresh pre-washed veggies, rotesserie chicken, and maybe some roast beef in a deli section.
TJ's can be hit-or-miss on the produce, but they have some good stuff- good deals on avocados, and usually a fairly decent fruit selection. Any leafy veggies come pre-chopped and bagged. If you do dairy, they've got a pretty nice cheese selection. They don't have a real deli or anything, but you can get pre-packaged deli meats I believe. They have light coconut milk that is BPA-free for .99 cents a can, which is nice, and canned seafood is always good- they have 14oz cans of pink salmon with skin and bones for only $3. They've got a pretty wide selection of nuts, too. Some things are awesome, but I think TJ's gets over-hyped. They try to sell themselves as really crunchy and hippy-ish, but the majority of their products are pre-cooked, plastic-wrapped frozen meals.
Its good for a few "specialty" items, but very limited on produce compared with Whole Paycheck. Where they trump most stores is that their specialty items like Coconut oil, bags of nuts, specialty cheeses, and such are very reasonably priced. Oh, and bottles of wine under 5$ bam!
They have precooked seafood in the freezer section - shrimp and such. Nuts, if you can eat them, are a great deal and they have many varieties. Most excellent place for coconut oil and Kerrygold butter, so you're in great shape for bulletproof coffee if that's your thing. I have yet to find a frozen Paleo-friendly meal there - too many additives, crap oil, soy, etc. They have a lot of fresh, prewashed and chopped veggies. There is an excellent Italian brand of roast beef in the deli section that doesn't have junk in it.
I just had to do the same as you when on a course far from home. I stocked up on prosciutto, wild smoked salmon, bagged kale and spinach, nuts, avocados and coconut oil as well as eggs. I was fortunate to have a suite with a hot plate, and managed to keep myself well fed with no nasty additives. I also picked up a salt grinder (Himalayan salt) and pepper grinder. Organic celery, cucumbers and tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries were also inexpensive.
I think I would probably end up eating a lot of fruits and Applegate Farms cold cuts if I had to derive portable foods from TJ's. Veggies you can snack on would be good, too, like carrots, etc. I think I'd suck it up and go to a chain restaurant and get a dry steak cooked in butter.