Trader Joes(l), Woman looking surprised(c), Pasta in bowl(r)

EQRoy/Shutterstock @elle_pooh/Tiktok @elle_pooh/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Thought it tasted familiar’: Guest catches hotel trying to pass off Trader Joe’s food as ‘expensive room service,’ has to pay $20 for cacio e pepe

'I would've lost my mind.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Feb 14, 2024   Updated on Feb 14, 2024, 10:37 am CST

When traveling, it can be tempting to treat oneself to room service. However, just because a hotel has an item on their menu, that doesn’t mean they actually know how to make it, as TikTok user and actress Elle McLemore (@elle_pooh) recently learned.

Recently, this hotel guest’s ‘luxurious’ dinner service went awry after she discovered her pricey pasta was just a frozen dish from Trader Joe’s.

In a video with over 59,000 views, McLemore shows two dishes being unveiled from room service containers. One of the dishes is a pasta dinner, specifically spaghetti cacio e pepe.

However, as the video progresses, McLemore reveals that she found a bag of frozen Trader Joe’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe in the hotel’s communal refrigerator.

“Thought it tasted familiar,” she writes in the text overlaying the video. She also notes at this point that the frozen bag costs just under $4.

Given this, the final price tag from the hotel came as a shock. According to a receipt shown by McLemore, the total price charged to her for the dish was $20.

“When you accidentally find out your expensive room service is from Trader Joe’s,” she wrote in the caption.

McLemore does not reveal the location where this incident took place.

This isn’t the first story about trying to pass off store-bought goods as homemade to spark discussion. Last year, a user on TikTok claimed that they repackaged microwave meals to send with their kid after their school requested “homemade” meals. Then, earlier this year, another user on TikTok said he was selling store-bought tortillas to his co-workers while passing them off as homemade.

@elle_pooh When you accidentally find out your expensive room service is from Trader Joe’s 😜 ##traderjoes##fyp##roomservice##luxury##dining##cacioepepe##dinner##trending##epicfail@@Fat Jewish##traderjoescacioepepe##traderjoeshaul##roomservicefood##ridiculous##hilarious ♬ Funny – Gold-Tiger

Given the popularity of stories like these, it’s not surprising that many commenters alleged this was a relatively normal occurrence.

“Was at a fancy morning spot charging $8 croissant. On the way out saw the clamshell box of them from Costco,” claimed a user.

“I went to a fancy vegan place in Hawaii & it was 22$ for orange chicken,” offered another. “Undercooked and from the stores frozen section & not even the whole tiny bag.”

The Daily Dot reached out to McLemore via Instagram direct message.

We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Sign up now for free
Share this article
*First Published: Feb 14, 2024, 6:00 pm CST