Friday, April 20, 2012

LA Guide to Gluttony (Birthday Style)

I’ve had a hard time writing this post because I am conflicted by it all. Shamelessly walking into establishments as if I did something that elicited a reward when all that happened is that I stayed alive for another year…but in the same sense thinking, but it’s my BIRTHDAY! Gimme stuff! Celebrate the crap out of this!

So we did. And we took it seriously. We spent a couple hours the night before researching through birthday freebie sites on where to go, which places needed to be signed up to first and then to map out the best course of action. We even got a cooler with ice in anticipation of all the free milkshakes people were going to be throwing at us for said birthday achievement.

Vamos hacerlos. Let the Great Diabetes Adventure begin

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The players: Denny’s, Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Panera, Carl’s Jr, Republic of Pie, Tutti Frutti, Bob’s Big Boy, BJ’s Steakhouse, Krispy Kreme, Menchies, The Frosted Cupcake, Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Melting Pot, the Federal, Benihanas

The Losers (in most disappointing order)

#1: Starbucks: I’m sorry, Henry, but you are rich as all hell and should give people a gd free coffee on their birthday. They sort of do, but you have to sign up for their rewards card and then get sent it SNAIL MAIL to your house to collect later. I lost interest in this before I even finished writing this sentence. I also don’t even drink coffee, but still, for shame.

This first fail did make us appreciate how nice it was when people were excited for your birthday, reacted with a smile and made it painless. I will revisit every establishment that did so. And what did it cost them, a couple bucks, if that? Buck up, businesses who make millions off us all every year as loyal customers. Throw us a buy back on our bdays.

#2: Carl’s Jr: We found something online that said you get a free birthday “surprise” or milkshake, but when asked they had no clue what we were talking about. Strike two. But probably for the better as a surprise from Carl’s Jr might not be something anyone would want. We got out of there real quick.

#3: Coffee Bean and Cold Stone: I can’t really hate on the Coffee Bean when their website said nothing about birthday freebies, but I thought they might give us something anyway. Nope. Cold Stone touts "receive a buy-one-get-one creation coupon delivered to your email for your birthday!" after you sign up for their rewards card. Buy-one-get-one is lame. You can spare one scoop of ice cream you cold hearted creamery. Thumbs down

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#4: Krispy Kreme: Ok, they had potential to be in the number one spot for being fantastic and they totally blew it. Any company who uses snail mail blows it. The birthday deal here is a dozen donuts, for FREE. WHAT. It was my most anticipated visit this day only to be told that no, you signed up successfully to our rewards program online, but you have to wait for the card in the mail for a free box. I asked if they had any extra that maybe they didn’t want. Nope.

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In hindsight we figured it was a blessing that we did not get a dozen donuts as we would have had to try every single one and may have slowed us down for the rest of the day/posed a serious health risk

#5: Tutti Frutti: No birthday freebies. I think they also hate puppies.

#6: Republic of Pie: We got a free sample of awesome chocolate pie and big smiles, no real bday freebie, but no hard feelings ROP, you’re adorable.

And now for the good guys, in no particular order:

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We woke up fairly early with that Christmas morning excitement rumbling in our bellies as we went for a run to stave off the impending influx of sugar calories. For the amount that we ate the run was not much, but if anything, a way to quell some of the gluttonous guilt. By 9AM we were at Denny’s and I had forgotten my ID BUT they let it go, the manager said it was fine and I got my free Grand Slam breakfast:

Oatmeal, whole wheat pancakes, egg whites and hash browns. The highlight here was not the breakfast, but the patrons around us. It was a rough morning in Denny’s. We opted for this over IHOP (where you allegedly get a free “rutti tutti fresh and frutti” on your birthday, whatever the h that is) which I feel would have had even more characters that make you want to not eat a pancake ever again.

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Buuut we ate all our pancakes. Hey, it was my bday! Col and I shared everything throughout the day so as to at least share the highs and lows that come with gorging. Also, we left a bite of each dish, y’know, watching our calories cuz we are:

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And boomslam, Col bought a tea, but the breakfast was on the house. Thank you Denny’s!

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Next up we went home to shower and hit the walkable stores in a paltry attempt to balance our energy intake with energy output. Meh. So, I had to sign up for Panera reward card, but with just the confirmation code I was eligible for TWO free pastries. I only got one because it was the size of my face and you don’t need two of those on days when you’re planning on eating your weight in desserts. Altho I would have shared the second one with that cranky mug featured below. Cheer up, champ, it’s my birthday!

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Then it was break time. I had course work and Col had a job interview (because as much as this post lacks evidence of it, we are not actually 16 years old). I ate a bowl of kale and broccoli as a plea bargain with my body to maybe not hate me too much for what the day had in storebirthday 28 003 copy

Couple hours later we were out for the next string of freebies. By this point it was about 3PM and first on the list for “lunch” was Bob’s Big Boy. This place wound up being my top pick. We had to buy something for our “free” hot fudge sundae so Col asked “ok what’s the cheapest thing you got?” and the cashier recommended the huge portion of $2 fries to dip in our sundae. They also gave me a balloon: Bob’s Big Boy for the WIN!

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We sat outside in the perfect weather enjoying the feast and then immediately onto the next stop; BJ’s Steakhouse. Free mini pizookie! aka a little cookie cake topped with vanilla ice cream. It was warm and gooey and gone in seconds. There was no purchase necessary, you just had to sit inside. We even got around the valet charge by telling them we were just picking up a delivery and parked curbside. We’re poor. Is that apparent yet? We are some poor, thrifty ladies. If it were the 1890’s we would be swindling money out of you by selling day old newspapers whilst coughing up a storm acting real sick and hungry. We would. But back on track, thumbs up for BJ’s!

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So to recap it’s about 4:30PM and that’s a full breakfast, a pastry, some french fries and two ice cream sundaes down.

Still feeling strong we head for Menchies, the best. best. frozen yogurt place in Los Angeles. Not only do they have a ton of stellar flavors, but it’s the only one that ever has peanut butter sauce. For your birthday you get $5 dollars free! You serve yourself in their giant cups from an array of fro-yo flavors (peanut butter, red velvet, Irish mint, mud pie etc) and then with endless toppings (cinnamon toast crunch, butterfinger crumbles) and pay by its weight. At 42cents/oz (I think)and having 5 dollars free, I somehow still went over…Col spotted me the 25 cents.

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We took this into the car to eat on the run to the next stop, literally scraping down the sides to make sure and get every bit of fudge. Here is the part of the journey where I started to feel disgusted in my ability to handle so much junk food, but at the same time feeling like a champ. Ugh, internal struggles!

On our way to the next stop, cupcakes on the brain and talking a mile a minute Col called us out that the sugar rush had set in. About ten minutes later we had stopped talking and zoned out the window (sugar crash) until it kicked right back in and I was yelling out the window “it’s my birthday!” again, as if I’d accomplished something spectacular.

Next up, the Frosted Cupcakery, another top notch birthday stop. We enter and Colleen says “It’s someone's birthday today!” to which the cashier responded “Well then someone gets a free cupcake!” (That’s me!) They were number two in the pleasant experiences of birthday cheer.

I just had to present my ID and pick my poison. On the ride over I was saying how I will probably not eat the cupcake, probably save it for later, probably unless they had some crazy peanut butter one. And then they had a crazy peanut butter one (Butterfingers on top!). So we ate it in the car.

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One cup cake down it was onto Sprinkles Cupcakes. We had to sign up for something at Sprinkles. Col had to show proof of the email and I gave them my ID and again, easy peasy. Pick yer poison!

Chocolate Coconut. Aom.

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We took the scenic route home through big beautiful cliff hanger houses and LA traffic

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Friends waiting for us to get home and head to dinner, first changing into different dresses (to be fancy of course, and not at all to wear even looser clothes to continue eating in…) Dinner was between Benihana’s and The Melting Pot. When you sign up with Benihana they give you 30 bucks towards dinner no strings attached. High five, Beni’s, I will use you later (the coupon is valid for a month I think). We chose The Melting Pot as we had some fondue virgins dining with us. I had their birthday freebie wrong in that I thought you got a free chocolate fondue, but you just get a box of free chocolate covered strawberries. Not that I’m complaining, they were delicious. Six of us split a two person meal and were happily fed with various veggies, meats, fish, fruits and salad. And we got the chocolate fondue anyway...


It was a cozy dinner with an animated waiter and fantastic people who went around the table and said nice birthday things that made me full of cheese AND love. Who are these amazing people and why am I allowed to be friends with them? It was a Wednesday night so the fact alone that they were saddling up for a late dinner on a school night was enough. I have become a mush and I’m totally ok with it. These chumps make it hard not to be so sentimental.

And last stop to top off the day-of-diabetes, we met up with Kasey to get a drink at the Federal and she treated me to a Chocolate Bread Pudding because she is the bees knees. We shouldn’t have been able to fit this in, but demolished it like champs alongside a couple Baileys shots. That is the recipe for a happiness coma, everyone.


It was an awesome birthday and most thanks to the partner in crime, Col bombs for chauffeuring our guts around and risking her heart and health with me. I have been continuously blown away by her generosity and tour guiding during my extended stay. We closed down the bar and headed back to bed to sleep off the insulin surges. Really, quite sorry, body, but it won’t (and it wasn’t) the last time I’ll be apologizing to you this week. Here’s to being an adult!


  1. thumbs up to bjs indeed!

    sounds amazing. i am glad you had such a wonderful bday celebration. much deserved.