free birthday food in san diego, ca / 2012 edition

I turned 34 this year. It’s not a significant number. I can still say I’m in my early 30’s but I think I’m just shy of being bumped up to the next demographic group. I sure don’t feel like 34, not that I can really imagine what it should feel like. In my 34th year I can say that I’m happy. I’m content. I have a job that I enjoy, a boyfriend I adore, and I don’t feel like I’m lacking anything. I’m hoping for good karma and continued happy times.

As I do every year, I look forward to my birthday instead of shunning it away. I drag out the celebration by getting a bunch of free, delicious food into my belly. Or maybe I like hearing strangers wish me a happy birthday when I present my coupons? (Truth: It is definitely the former.)

I kicked off the year by getting lunch at Rubio’s.

[Rubio’s Street Taco Plate – $6.59 value]

Rubio’s Beach Club sends you email offers as well as a coupon good for 1 item up to $7.99.

This is the Rubio’s Street Tacos plate ($6.59) with one chicken, one beef and one carnitas taco, plus beans and chips. Of the three, I liked the beef the best, though really, I probably should have stuck to seafood here since that is their namesake. The chips were warm (a plus that has not always been the case) with a decent side of beans.

Coupon notes: Sent two weeks before birthday. Expires on birthday. Can use your phone to show coupon or you can print it out. Rubio’s Beach Club signup.

Panera Bread also treats you for your birthday by loading a “special offer” onto your My Panera card.

They don’t tell you what the offer is though, but let me spill the secret for you – it’s good for one bakery item.

When I found out what it was, I think I gave a little bit of a pouty face because I said, “Aw, I really wanted a bagel.” The guy serving me though instantly said, “What kind of bagel would you like?” and I told him I wanted the pumpkin bagel. He went ahead and rang up a chocolate pastry in it’s place, letting me get my pined for pumpkin bagel. How sweet!

Coupon notes: Free offer is loaded onto your My Panera card. Expires 60 days after your birthday. I got an email notice about my special offer 4 days before my birthday. Can pick up a card in store or join My Panera online.

I have skipped El Torito in the past but I decided it was high time to try out this deal. I haven’t been to El Torito in ages, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The nice thing about this one – the free chips and salsa!

[Tableside Fajitas Salad – $12.99 value]

Signing up for El Torito’s Email Club yields you a birthday coupon that’s good for one item up to $12.99 – no other purchase necessary. I opted to get the Tableside Fajitas Salad with chicken which clocks in perfectly at $12.99. The salad and the sizzling fajitas are brought tableside and tossed together right before you – you have the option to get the dressing on the side, too, if you fear too much dressing. I walked on the wild side and let them do it for me. The onions and other fajita goodies are also tossed in with cojita cheese, chunks of avocado, roasted pepitas, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and a serrano-grape vinaigrette. Overall very delicious and fresh. I was surprised at how tasty it was!

My waiter also brought me a mini flan! Probably the cutest mini flan ever.

Coupon notes: Sent about 1 week before birthday. Expires 1 week after birthday. Doesn’t specify, but I printed this one out. El Torito Email Club signup. No other purchase required. Good up to $12.99.

[Mini Club Supreme with roast beef, turkey, swiss, bacon done “Mike’s Way”]

This is another one of the deals I haven’t used in years past because I thought I didn’t really like Jersey Mike’s. I went a couple of times when they first started popping up in San Diego and I tried their hot sandwiches – which I didn’t like. This time around I went for a cold sandwich and found it to be a much better experience.

The meats and cheeses are sliced fresh when you order your sandwich. I got the Club Supreme (roast beef, turkey, swiss, bacon) and I got it “Mike’s Way” – which is with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, mayo, olive oil and vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. The cold sandwiches are way better than the hot ones with the fresh slices of meat and cheese. The bacon was also surprising good – very crisp and it tasted like real bacon, not like those flimsy pieces of “bacon” found in fast food restaurants. Glad I finally decided to drop in and get this deal!

I actually got the “mini” sub because I didn’t want to eat a regular sized, but this deal is good for the regular sized sub.

Coupon notes: Coupon emailed about 1 week before your birthday. Can only be used on your birthday with the printout and photo ID. Good for any regular sized sub and a drink. Jersey Mike’s Email Club signup. No other purchase required. Continue reading “free birthday food in san diego, ca / 2012 edition”