Friday, August 9, 2013

39 & Holding

I celebrated my 39th birthday on Friday, July 12th in similar fashion as last year, which means I tried to take advantage of all the free meals, beverages, etc. that many chains and even a few locally-owned places offer. Unfortunately, I wasn't moving around very well since I had the first round of Synvisc injections in both knees the day before. Ouch!!!

Once again, I referenced the Portland on the Cheap and Free Birthday Meals websites to get up to date listings of birthday freebies. I also had my notes & photos from last year to use as a guide
working on Grimm on my birthday last year
I actually took advantage of my first free meal on July 11th. Pastini Pastaria offers a free entree at any price valid on the day before, day of, or day after your birthday. You must sign up for email updates and print the birthday offer. No other purchase is required. My seasonal pasta dish, a trottole with lamb sausage & peppers, was $14.95. Since I drank water, I just tipped $2. It was delicious!
On the morning of my birthday, I walked (hobbled) down to my local Starbucks. There I had my choice of a free food or drink item worth up to $5, which is valid only on your birthday and is loaded to your Rewards card. All I had to do was start the app on my iPhone and redeem my offer. I opted for the Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, worth $3+ depending on your location. I also took an empty Starbucks coffee bag to redeem for a free 12oz tall brewed coffee.
Greg was working from home that day, so he gave me my birthday present when I returned from Starbucks. I love the beer socks and we both enjoyed attending our first Thorns match that weekend. I even wore the socks to the match!
I departed the house again by 11am for my next freebie. This time I had to use public transit to get to my destination. Denny's offers a free Grand Slam breakfast worth $6.49 only on your birthday with proof of I.D. No other purchase is required. I enjoyed my meal with the exception of the crazy guy who started shouting about computer code language. It was weird and a little scary but I left unscathed.
Next I hopped on a MAX train and headed downtown to Pioneer Square. I had read about an ice cream churn-a-ment and thought it would be fun to stop by this free event. Of course, there were long lines for free samples, but I was able to get a large scoop of sherbet pretty quickly from the booth along with a free CD of local music.
My favorite stop of my birthday is always Rogue Brewery because I get a free beer and a t-shirt. I decided to go to The Green Dragon which has 50 taps but a much more limited supply of shirts versus the location in NW Portland. I hung out at the bar, drinking Beer Valley Leafer Madness on cask. It was only 2pm and Greg still had to work for a few more hours so I ultimately decided to buy another drink, this time an Elysian Konishiki IPA. Unfortunately my knees were still very sore from the injections so I didn't feel like going anywhere else and decided to head home. But I still had one more place to go before the day was over.

Just around the corner from our house is a locally-owned restaurant called Vege Thai. They offer a free entree with purchase of an entree only on your birthday. We've been here several times and, while not fancy, the food is always good and portions are large. So after Greg finished working we walked to the restaurant for dinner. My Jungle Noodle Curry with Tofu was delicious and was priced at $10. Greg got Spicy Green Bean with Tofu, also $10, so with my free entree plus the tip we only spent $14.
I didn't take advantage of my other birthday freebies for a few days as we already had plans for the weekend. Thankfully, many places extend their offers for a week or so after your birthday, giving you more time to enjoy them. Thus we didn't venture out to Cascade Station to eat at Famous Dave’s until July 16th. If you sign up for their P.I.G. club, you will receive a coupon via email for a free entree up to $15 with the purchase of a second entree of equal or greater value. All you have to do is print the email; the coupon has an expiration date but is generally valid for the week after your birthday. My Texas Beef Brisket cost $15.99 so was basically free, but Greg ordered "The Big Slab" of St. Louis-style spareribs which cost $23.99. We both drank water, but with the tip the meal still cost $32. Not exactly free, but it was delicious!
On July 18th I used another birthday freebie, this time at Einstein Bros Bagels. Again, all you have to do is sign up for the Club. You'll receive a coupon via email for a free breakfast sandwich when you purchase any drink on your birthday or within seven days thereafter. My everything bagel with veggie cream cheese was worth $2.60. I only had to pay $1.10 for a large cup of decaf coffee (I brought my own cup).
The final food freebie I took advantage of was for IHOP where you can get a free Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity (or menu item of equal or lesser value, worth $7.59) for your birthday when you sign up for Pancake Revolution emails. No other purchase necessary. My coupon didn't expire until July 23rd, a week & a half after my actual birthday. I have not been to IHOP in years and thought it would be fun to compare my meal there to the one I had at Denny's the previous week. As it turned out, there were no screaming crazy guys, but service was pathetically slow. The food was pretty much identical.
I also used my Redbox birthday promo code for a free movie rental worth $1.20. It was valid through July 23rd so I rented No on July 19th. There were plenty of other birthday deals I did not have time to use or just ran out of steam: a free Mud Pie at RAM Brewery, a free drink at Dutch Bros Coffee, a free chocolate fudge cake or ice cream sundae at Buffalo Wild Wings, and a free burrito at Baja Fresh.
view from our seats at our first Portland Thorns match at Jeld-Wen Field
As for the title of this post, I must give credit to my father-in-law, who when he called to wish me a Happy Birthday said, upon verifying that I was now 39 years old, "Oh, then this is your LAST birthday!" As in, we don't mention age after that! I actually think my mid/late 30's have been the best years of my life for a lot of reasons, and I'm optimistic that my 40's will be equally fun, fulfilling and memorable!
"driving" a new hybrid Trimet bus on the day after my birthday