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Birthday Food Roundup – The Free Goods
October 30th, 2010etc, MaryMary Desjean 10 Comments

It seems to happen every year around this time. Birthdays. Everyone has one and how you celebrate – whether you ignore it or embrace it – is a matter of personal taste. Awhile ago I signed up for as many restaurant clubs as I could muster, to see what kind of goodies I could get in celebration of my birthday. It’s a fun way to celebrate for a longer period of time and to make yourself feel a little extra special and ignore the fact that you’re getting a year older (even if it is just another number).

Having a late October birthday means I’ve had many, many Halloween cakes in my life – but for someone who likes Halloween, it’s not such a bad thing! I also get to spread out my celebration up into Halloween with my plethora of free coupons, which is pretty nice.

I never use every coupon I get – it’s just not possible. But I try to weed through things to get free lunches or other goodies and use what I can within the time frame allowed. Most places will send you coupons a week before your birthday and most items are good for about two weeks. Here’s my birthday round-up for this year.

This is the Grilled Gourmet Taco Plate from Rubio’s. I got the mixed taco plate and ordered one grilled chicken and one grilled shrimp. The grilled shrimp taco was much better than the chicken one. It just tasted a little fresher than the chicken. The chips are not that great at Rubio’s in my opinion and the beans are just okay. For your birthday you can chose any plate, up to $7. This was I think about $8.59 so I had to pay for the extra cost past $7.

Daphne’s Greek Cafe offers a very good deal for birthdays – any plate on their menu for free (no capped value). This year I got the Mix & Match Plate – gyros and crispy shrimp along with fries and a Greek salad. I placed my order online before I left work to run an errand, so I set the pickup time for a little later than when I placed my order, thinking they would put it together right before I arrived. By the time I got to eating this meal, all of the food that was supposed to be hot was cold.  The last few times I have been to Daphne’s has been very disappointing – the quality of their food has really gone downhill. I ate this but didn’t really enjoy it.

Every month at The Boathouse they have one night a month to celebrate the birthdays for that month. You get a free Prime Rib dinner with any purchase. Since Jake and I both celebrate birthday’s in October, this is perfect for us to both get Prime Rib dinners and a nice evening out together. My purchase was this Calamari appetizer ($11.95). A bit overpriced, the calamari was just okay. It seemed to be really haphazardly sliced and breaded. I also thought the breading was a little too heavy, but I still ate a lot of it. A little more chewy than crispy as well.

The Prime Rib dinner comes with garlic mashed potatoes and the Prime Rib, with au jus and a horseradish sauce. After eating some really, really great steak at Fleming’s Steakhouse recently, you could really see the difference between this steak and the one from Fleming’s. Ah well, you can’t always get the expensive stuff – it was still good for what it was. Mine was a little tough to cut though, maybe because it was medium rare?

At Denny’s, you get a free Grand Slam breakfast (available only on your actual birth date). I forgot my camera so I had to take bad cell phone photos of my meal. For the Grand Slam breakfast (usually $5.99), you get to chose 4 items from a list of available options. I got: pancakes, 2 eggs, 2 sausage links and fruit.

The fruit cup was the best part of the meal. I liked how it was served in a little glass. My waitress forgot to bring me any pancake syrup, so I slowly ate the rest of my food while waiting for the syrup. It was apparent she was never coming back and I had to ask the manager to please bring me some syrup. The pancakes were just okay. The sausage links were kind of gross. The eggs were fine and the fruit was awesome.

At Santana’s Fresh MXN Food you can get a free meal, valued up to $5, on the actual date of your birthday. I got the “baby tacos” (also called taquitos here) and a half order of plain chips for a bit of a “deconstructed” carne asada nachos. I don’t like the stuff on my chips since it makes my chips soggy. I come here often for a cheap lunch, so this was pretty good.

Panera Bread started a rewards system not too long ago. If you sign up for their My Panera card, you get a free item after you register for your card online. You also get a free pastry for your birthday. I’m guessing it’s the pastry that was free, since I also had a free coffee or smoothie at the same time (you can’t use both at once). I got the Apple Pastry one morning this week after I got an email telling me I had a sweet treat available for me on my card.

There’s obviously more free stuff to be had, such as ice cream cones and things, that I haven’t done yet. I’m not sure if I will get to them before my coupons all expire, but as you can see I really milk this whole “free stuff for your birthday” thing. Embrace your birthday, folks. Treat yourself like you are your own national holiday.

'10 Responses to “Birthday Food Roundup – The Free Goods”'
  1. Darlene says:

    Sounds like a good month for cheap eating! I also read in Real Simple that Benihana has a chef’s table and you can get a free meal there too.

  2. ML says:

    George’s Ocean Terrace in La Jolla gives away a bottle of olive oil, and it is good olive oil! I thought it was pretty cool, definitely something different. I love cooking with olive oil so it was great to get that instead of a dessert or appetizer for free. Granted the overall cost to eat there is high, it is still great for the special occasion birthday! and you can’t beat the view.

  3. Darwin D says:

    Thats a great idea Mary! Glad you got so much cool, cheap/free stuff to eat. Hope you had a great birthday!

  4. mary says:

    Hi Darlene – I did Benihana last year – it’s good for up to $30 – so it’s a really good deal. You don’t even have to bring anyone, but Benihana is the kind of place you don’t want to go alone to!

    Hi ML – That’s good to know – I’ve never actually been there, the price range kind of keeps me away. Though, I’ve always been curious about it. Maybe someday I’ll get to go (around my birthday!). Thanks for the tip!

    Hi Darwin – I did have a great birthday, thank you!

  5. happy (belated) bday!

    just wondering how you can get the free meal from rubio’s? do you have to sign up for something? the only free thing i knew of was the denny’s one. i never did it because i don’t really like denny’s. but rubio’s is a different story.

  6. mary says:

    Hey CC – For all of the free deals you just need to sign up for whatever club they have. For Rubio’s is the “Beach Club” and the sign up is at the top of their page. They do send other mailings for deals and such so be aware of that. I don’t mind it though. Cheers!

  7. thanks for the tip Mary!

  8. one more question mary,
    which ones of the freebies do you have to go on the actual day of your birthday? you mentioned that someone of them there’s a date range…just curious. i signed up for the benihana one and the rubio’s….

  9. mary says:

    hi cc! the only ones that were “use on your actual birthday” were the ones from Denny’s and Santana’s (which I will always call Santana’s even though they’re FRESH MXN FOOD now – same thing with Price Club!). the benihana one is good for the whole month of your birthday, but only monday – thursday. but it’s a good deal! i wrote about it on my blog last year.

  10. yeah, i read that post! can’t wait til next april to use it. i also signed up my husband (september!). the last time i was at benihana’s was for my gradation in 1993 when i finished my masters. so, it’s been awhile, ha ha. i’ve never eaten at santanas either so that will be a first for me.

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