free birthday food 2014 edition – san diego


Welcome to this year’s edition of Free Birthday Food! I have one special post planned for one of my BIG birthday freebies this year – stay tuned for that one! I got the majority of my free birthday food about a week before my birthday. All of them have various restrictions and expiration dates so be sure to read over your coupons! Some of them also allow you to only view a coupon a few times so be sure to print out your free birthday coupons right away. Here’s this year’s roundup:



The first of my free birthday food was over at good old Rubio’s. They have consistently sent out a coupon for my birthday with a value up to $7. Rubio’s may not be my first choice for lunch, but the food is pretty fresh and tastes decent enough. This year I decided to try their enchiladas in red sauce. I got one cheese and one shrimp.


Getting one shrimp enchilada made me go over the $7 mark, but not by much. This lunch ended up costing me a mere $0.42 cents. There was a good amount of shrimp in the one enchilada and the cheese one had a nice amount of cheese.

Rubio’s Beach Club | Received 5 days before my birthday. Two weeks to redeem. Value: $7.



IHOP changed their coupon for free birthday food this year. It used to be that you could get either a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Pancake plate OR any other item that was equal to or lesser than the value. Not this year. Now you are only allowed to get pancakes. If fruity pancakes aren’t your thing you have a choice of other pancake plates except for the Simple & Fit combo or the Pick-a-Pancake combo.


I really didn’t want to eat pancakes for breakfast so one morning last week I got up early and went to IHOP for breakfast. I picked the strawberry rooty tooty which comes with strawberries, strawberry sauce and whipped cream. You get a stack of four pancakes and nothing else. They tasted fine. Not outstanding. I didn’t feel the need to add extra syrup, it was already sweet enough.

IHOP Pancake Revolution | Received one week before my birthday. Two weeks to redeem. Value: ~$8.99.



Rita’s is a new addition for this year’s free birthday food coupons! I signed up when their first locations started to pop up in town and now they seem to be EVERYWHERE. I went to the location in Rancho Penasquitos since the Mira Mesa location did not open until this past Monday!


For Rita’s you get one free regular Italian ice. I sampled a few flavors but the only one that caught my fancy was the Strawberry Cheesecake flavored Italian ice. It had real strawberry bits in it, too, which I found exciting. I only ate about 1/4 of it and then I let Jake/T/my dad finish the rest of it.

Rita’s Birthday Club | Received one week before my birthday. One week to redeem. Value: ~$2.49.



I don’t usually use this birthday coupon since it’s only a discount (pfft) and not a freebie but this weekend we were in need of food after going to see St. Vincent (which I completely loved). You get 20% off your total bill with this birthday coupon.


Since I’ve written about Souplantation plenty of times I’ll only mention their current new dessert: Pumpkin Spice Cobbler. It has sort of a soft pumpkin pie like bottom with lots of crispy crumbly topping that you’d find on cobbler or crumb bars. I really liked it! It was warm and gooey with plenty of spice. They even put out whipped cream. YUM.

Souplantation’s Club Veg | Received one week before my birthday. Two weeks to redeem. Value: 20% off check.

Cafe 21

Cafe 21’s coupon for free birthday food is probably one of the most generous offers out there. It’s good for one free meal – lunch or dinner – and requires no additional purchases. Last year we went for dinner and this year I went for breakfast. I took Monday off so I could kick back and use a bunch more coupons and ended up taking my mom out to breakfast.


I ordered from their little special menu a plate called Victor’s Prosciutto Benedict and added avocado to the dish ($15 total).


This comes on house made bread and with lots of prosciutto. I found the prosciutto to sadly be too salty for my liking. I also did not really care for their Hollandaise sauce which was tangy and spicy. Mostly I kind of just ate the bread and avocado. The bread was a little touch to cut through but tasted fine enough.


The cool thing about Cafe 21? Dog friendly patio. Maya was able to join us for breakfast!

It’s a much better deal to go for dinner, but hey, free is still free!

Cafe 21 (subscribe to their newsletter located in the footer) | Received two weeks before my birthday. Valid the entire month of your birthday. Value: Variable – good for any item on the menu.

The Cupcake Store and More


So… yeah…

This is SUPPOSED to be a “Minty Frank” (as in Frankenstein) cupcake. Well, I suppose it still IS but I accidentally tripped on a stair and the cupcake went flying… frosting side down.


PLOP. You’ll just have to image how cute it was. There were two chocolate chips on the side for the “bolts”. SIGH.

Anyway, this is another new to me coupon this year that I scored from the iBirthday Club. There is like an unholy amount of places to sign up free birthday coupons on there and you have to do one at a time, which is a major pain in the ass. The other bummer was that the majority of the coupons from iBirthday Club require another purchase, BUT this was one of the completely free ones. Woohoo!

The chocolate cupcake was really nice and moist and there was a bit of chocolate filling in the middle of the cupcake. The frosting was very, strongly minty and I kind of stuck to just eating the cake.

The Cupcake Store and More Birthday Club | Received on my birthday. No specific expiration date that I could find. Value: $2.75.

Nothing Bundt Cakes


This is another new to me coupon that I haven’t used before – a free bundlet at Nothing Bundt Cakes! Their shop used to be in Poway but they moved to the Santee Trolley Center – probably a lot more foot traffic in that area. I choose the lemon bundlet. The cake was really nice and extra moist and had a nice tang from the cream cheese frosting. They fill up the whole middle with frosting which I think is a little overkill but makes for a pretty presentation.

Nothing Bundt Cakes E-Club | Received four days before my birthday. Two weeks to redeem. Value: $4.49.

Schlotzsky’s Deli


Schlotzsky’s changed their coupon for free birthday food from last year. Last year you could get a free small sandwich or an 8″ pizza – this year, they only offered the small sandwich. I choose the Turkey and Guacamole sandwich.


Their bread is kind of like an cross between a crumpet and an English muffin and it’s supposed to be sourdough. The bread was round and a little thin but had a nice crunchy edge. The guacamole left a lot to be desired so overall I thought it was just alright. Not the worse but not the best. Just middle of the road “meh” sandwich.

Schlotzsky’s Lotz4Me (this is the only link I could find to a rewards program… unsure if they are still taking signups for birthday freebies) | Received one week before my birthday. Two weeks to redeem. Value: ~$5.99.



Sprinkles has FINALLY changed their free birthday coupon policy so you no longer have to visit on your actual birthday for your free cupcake – HOORAY! I was able to do a twofer and get my free sandwich (from Schlotzsky’s) and my cupcake in the same lunch hour.

I choose the lemon coconut this time. It comes with a lemon cake and like a crapton of frosting on top. The frosting was a little too sweet for my liking so I didn’t eat a ton of it. The cake was very light and moist.

Sprinkles Birthday Club | Received two days before my birthday. Five days to redeem. Value: $3.50.

Panera Bread


With your Panera Bread card you get a little free birthday something something: your choice of one pastry. I picked the cinnamon scone. There are swirls of cinnamon throughout the scone with a cinnamon glaze on top. It’s almost like eating a crunchy cinnamon roll since it’s so packed with cinnamon! 

MyPanera | Notification 4 days before my birthday. Doesn’t specify expiration. Reward is loaded onto your MyPanera card. Value: ~$2.49. 

Total value for this year (so far): $49.21. Not too shabby!

I tend to only go for the coupons that offer something completely for free. I’m not into these BOGO coupons for your birthday or things like free dessert with dinner purchase. Pfft, whatever. Even though I do my best to plan out the freebies, I’m not able to use everything!

Free Birthday Food Coupons I Might Still Use:

Baskin Robbins. One free scoop. Expires on 10/30. I could make it…
Brothers Family Restaurant. $10 towards a free meal – no other purchases required. Good for 20 days past your birthday.
Bruegger’s Bagels. If you buy a drink, they give you a free bagel and cream cheese. But I have to get up early to go…
Burger Lounge. Get a free milkshake. Good for one month past your birthday.
Coops West Texas BBQ. BOGO for up to $10. It’s Coops even if it is a BOGO.
Godiva. Reward is for $10 off $10 or more and good until the end of the month. I still have time!
Noodles & Co. Free bowl of noodles. Received at the beginning of October, good for the entire month.
Saska’s. Really tried to use this one, but it’s still good for another week so maybe I will get to! Good up to $16.
Which Wich. I have another week to use this since the coupon is good for three weeks!

Missed the Boat Free Birthday Coupons

Benihana. This used to be a rad deal for $30 toward any meal. Now it’s only good Monday-Thursday for dinner with another purchase. Boo.
The Boathouse. Free Prime Rib last Thursday of the month for all birthday girls and boys. Must reserve in advance.
Denny’s. Free Grand Slam on your birthday. I believe you just have to show ID. Only good on your actual birthday.
Del Mar Rendezvous does a BOGO thing for your birthday. I believe it’s good for the month of your birthday. It’s kind of vague.
Firehouse Subs – Firehouse Subs gives out a free medium sub on your actual birthday. You just need to show ID. Thanks to Charlie for emailing me the tip!
Islands Restaurant. Free Kona Pie or Chocolate Lava Cake. Since these are worth $6-7 I thought I’d mention it.
Jersey Mike’s. Only valid on your actual birthday which is a pain in the ass.
Jimmy’s  Famous American Tavern – J-FAT sends out a freebie for your birthday. Sign up by joining the J-FAT Club. Thanks to Kathy for the tip!
North Park Sushi. Coupon states it’s valid for 2 days before your birthday and 5 days after, but I got it on my actual birthday. And you have to make a reservation. Geez. But it’s a completely free meal.
Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. Get a free messy sundae.
Starbucks. Free drink. Need one of those Starbucks cards and it needs to be registered.

El Torito seemed to have canceled their birthday club promo in favor of a new Real Rewards club. It asks for a birthday so maybe it’s only available through the new program now.

I signed up for a CRAP TON of free birthday coupons on the iBirthdayClub website. All of the ones from iBirthdayClub I received on my actual birthday and a lot of them were sucky coupons – BOGO’s or free dessert with purchase or something. One actually required two meals to be bought before your could get your free birthday meal. Only three were 100% no strings attached free stuff (Brothers, North Park Sushi and The Cupcake Store). Sign up for a bunch if you want to, but know that they don’t state what the deal is until you actually get it. Most of them were not worth it.

Know of any other coupons for free birthday food that I missed? Please let me know about it! I’m always trying to find new places!

16 thoughts on “free birthday food 2014 edition – san diego

  1. Jimmy’s Famous Ameican Tavern; $25 off your purchase, no minimum, good any time, doesn’t seem to expire. We always enjoy this one twice a year (on my & my BF’s birthdays).

  2. I love your birthday freebie roundups! Especially because when you find new ones, it leaves me plenty of time to sign up before my January birthday!

    I didn’t know Rita’s opened in Mira Mesa! Man – they are opening everywhere… maybe now the one in PQ will be less crowded in the evenings.

    Oh – happy birthday!

    1. Hi Leanne – Glad to be of birthday freebie service 🙂 Rita’s is like taking over the whole town, I feel like there’s one in every neighborhood now! Or well, that’s their idea at least. Thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂

    1. Hi Hannah – Yes. I do that for coupon deals, Groupon deals, or pretty much anything that involves a freebie. Seems more fair to me.

  3. great post!!I too, LOVE birthday freebies!!

    Dickey’s bbq offers a free sandwich (no purchase necessary!). they are popping up in san diego (balboa mesa opening soon) – may be a good one for next year. happy birthday!

  4. I like your pinterest friendly first picture… =D

    I’ll check my personal list later to see what I missed from yours. Also, i think ghengis khan has something free but i won’t have the actual coupon until december to confirm! (maybe B1G1 instead?)

    For ibirthday, did you sign up for everything or just pick and choose? it took a lot of time to sign dennis up and i’m debating how much time to put in for me. also, i had issues at saigon on fifth, who isn’t participating (since may or earlier) but ibirthday STILL has them listed. the site doesn’t seem to be in sync all the time…

    1. Hi Lynn! I’m trying with that pinterest stuff, man. Pretty sure I haven’t hit 100 pins since the very first day, haha. Oh well, a little at a time.
      I didn’t sign up for everything on iBirthday since some places were too far and I knew we’d never go. I just tried to pick places we’d actually want to try. I noticed there were a lot of new items on there since I did the sign ups in the spring, I should go back and try and figure out which ones are new. Let me know if there are any I’m missing and you’ll have to tell which of the other iBirthday ones are worth it!

    1. Hi Jess – Cool, thanks for the head’s up! I didn’t know they switched so I missed out on that one. I’ll have to sign up again!

  5. Oh I look forward to this list every year! I just gotta remember to sign up for all the ones you listed (thanks for the list BTW!). I love how you’re still psyching yourself up to make the ones that are still makeable !

    This is the only year I signed up for Benihana. I’m sad they changed their bday deal. It’s hard to find someone to do that deal with for dinner. Kinda pricey.

    I wish I remembered the free bundlet. I love their stuff 🙁

    I wish someone caught you tripping with the Franky cupcake (like catching it using the slow mo function on the iphone). That woulda so made my day.

    Happy bday month!

    1. Hi Faye! Even if I don’t make it to anymore I think I did a good job covering some ground on free birthday stuff! I did the Benihana deal once, it’s tough that is only available during the week and not the weekend. Man, I’m glad no one saw me trip and drop my cupcake! I would not show a slow mo video of that haha!

  6. I love your free bday food posts! So very useful! My favorite is the Cafe 21. I like that it doesn’t require you to buy drinks nor is there a limit on the amount of your entree. Glad that Sprinkles changes their policy too. I didn’t go this year because of that. Plus it’s so far to drive. There’s some new ones one here that I plan to sign up for. Thanks for this and of course, Happy Bday (belated)….

    1. I was glad Sprinkles changed their policy since otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get my cupcake. There were a few I would have used if it weren’t for that restriction (I’m eyeing you, Jersey Mike’s). I still have a few left that I can use (if I remember) since they do their policy 20-30 days after your birthday. Kind of nice! Thanks for the belated wishes!

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