more birthday goods [free birthday stuff, part two]

Hold onto your horses for part two of free birthday goodies! This post entails the sit down places I visited for my free birthday foods.


1) El Torito

The nice thing about a free birthday lunch at El Torito is that you get the additional bonus of chips and salsa. Ohhhh yeah!


Last year, this freebie was good for any menu item up to $12.99. It has been scaled back to any $10.99 combination meal – with this change you have three choices. I opted for the chicken tamale and cheese enchilada combination with rice, beans and a little corn corn. Not too bad for a freebie lunch if you ask me. No other purchases are necessary for this deal, but I bought a diet coke so I could put a tip on my card. Sign up for El Torito’s Email Club to take advantage of this freebie birthday offer.



IHOP’s free birthday thing is a “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity” or other menu item of equal or lesser value. I didn’t feel like having breakfast on my lunch break, so I opted to get the BLT sandwich with onion rings. This was an additional .49 cents since I went over a little bit, but that was okay with me.

This sandwich was pretty damn unexciting, but hey… free is free, right? Join the Pancake Revolution to get your own free birthday meal.


3) The Boathouse

Jake and I made reservations and went back to the Boathouse again this year for their monthly free birthday dinner for all October babies. The Boathouse has a pretty cool birthday deal – everyone born during that month gets a free prime rib dinner, you just have to make one other purchase (a drink, appetizer, salad, etc. – doesn’t have to be another meal).

Our friend, Chris, came with us to this meal. This occurred on the most awful of awful days for traffic when the 15 was shut down at the 805 due to a cop shooting. It messed up the traffic on every freeway and I barely made it on time for the reservation. Oy.

This is Jake and Chris’s mojito’s. The one on the right is a blueberry mojito. It needed to be muddled a little longer for a better taste and flavor.


I ordered some sourdough bread with butter for us to share at a cost of $4. The bread was extra sour and tasted a bit on the stale side… it was warmed but it tasted like they just reheated it. I wasn’t very fond of this.


For the birthday prime rib, you get garlic mashed potatoes and prime rib cooked to order. I ordered mine medium rare but it was a bit more on the medium side. It still tasted pretty good, though I wish they gave you gravy with your mashed potatoes.


4) Cafe 21

One of my new finds was Cafe 21. They have two locations – one in Downtown and one off Adams Ave. Jake, S. and I went to the Adams Ave. location one evening. Pro-tip: this place isn’t really kid friendly and the kid with you might get bored and start staring off into space… We distracted S. for a while with this fancy looking hot chocolate.


Jake ordered from fries, mostly for S. Actually, they don’t have french fries, but they made these up special order for us ($4). Simply fresh cut and freshly fried potatoes, these were pretty good. Tasted like something I’d make at home.


Jake ordered the Flat Iron Steak Flatbread ($16) to share with himself and S, but without tomatoes and without the avocado pesto sauce, so it looks kind of naked. I thought it was just okay, probably better with all the stuffs added to it.


For my free birthday meal, I ordered the Fall Spiced and Brown Sugar Pork Belly ($23) with fingerling potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, heirloom tomatoes and arugula with a braising sauce. This was very good – the pork belly had a nice spice and sweetness to it and a nice outer crunch from the top of the pork belly. My meal was free since I was the birthday girl. No other purchase is necessary for the free meal. You can sign up for this birthday freebie on Cafe 21’s website (on the top right corner).

Missing from my list this year is the Pearl – something that’s been a staple for day-of birthday dinners – but not anymore since sadly they changed their policy so that you must spend a $50 minimum in order to get a free meal. I usually just go with Jake so this really wasn’t feasible for us anymore – what a bummer!

Another place I discovered but didn’t get a chance to use was for Saska’s in Mission Beach. You get a free meal good for up to $16 but I just wasn’t able to squeeze it in since I’m out of town and on vacation. But you can sign up for Saska’s right here if you want to try and use it for your special birthday!

I have a couple of other things that I hope I get to in the next week or two, so I’ll follow up with those later! I hope you’ve enjoyed another year of my birthday recaps as I try and really spread out the birthday love as far as possible.

14 thoughts on “more birthday goods [free birthday stuff, part two]

  1. Ooh, I like Cafe 21 (the Adams Ave location)! Their food is great. I like the atmosphere and decor at Cafe 21. Funnily enough, Bert hasn’t been there, only TC, both times that I went. Was there a restriction on the price of the meal?

    Re:The Pearl – well, that sucks. $50 really? Not worth it. I really liked my bday dinner there last year. They didn’t even check my i.d. Talk about trust!

  2. I haven’t been to El Torito in ages. Are their chips hot and fresh?

    And I’ve never been to the Boathouse or Cafe 21 – will have to sign up for their bday thing next year 🙂

    Nice post !

    1. Thank you, sabas! I think the best of the bunch here was the dinner at Cafe 21. The pork belly was really yummy! Hope you had a great birthday as well!

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