Hung Truong: The Blog!

Free Birthday Stuff Adventure in Ann Arbor!

June 09, 2009 | 6 Minute Read

Yesterday was my birthday. I’ve been aware of this giant list of free stuff to get in Ann Arbor on your birthday at ArborWiki, and since my last day of work was on Friday and I’m basically on vacation, I figured I’d try and get as much free stuff as possible. This is my story. The day started pretty late. I was up kind of late the night before writing my post on the Quarterlife Crisis and then set the post to show up at like 9:30am. But I slept in until around 10:30 and didn’t get out of the house until after noon. I had to print out coupons and basically plan out my day. The first stop was Northside Grill. They offer a free entree until 3pm. For free! I went by myself since everyone else was working. I saw this in front of my parking spot:


Maybe I’m the only one who finds the sentence “DO NOT READ” to be slightly funny-ironic. Anyway, I went in and got some tasty potato pancakes. If you go to Northside Grill, I highly recommend them! I also got some coffee. While paying, the person behind me overheard that it was my birthday and suggested I go to Cupcake Station to get a free cupcake.


After Northside I went to Zingerman’s Deli to get 6 free bagels. I went in and told the girl at the counter that it was my birthday. She told me to just grab the bagels and bring them to her. At first I put the bagels into really small paper bags. I think they could only hold like 3 bagels. So I got two small bags. The girl thought this was dumb and got me a bigger paper bag. Then she didn’t even check my ID! I really wanted to prove it was my birthday to her though, so I showed it to her anyway. I was hoping this could turn into a good craigslist missed connection (you didn’t want to see my ID, I showed it to you anyway. I’ll share some of those free bagels with you for breakfast!).

1st 6 Bagels

After Zingerman’s I felt like I needed to recharge. So I went home and drafted an email for a Birthday Dinner Extravaganza. Then I chatted up my good friend KDT who happens to be on vacation as well. I picked her up and we went to Caribou Coffee for a free coffee drink (requires you to get on the email list prior). I walked in and asked the dude what the best drink they have is. He didn’t even blink and said it was the Turtle Mocha. I decided to get that. He kept pushing me to add more and more espresso shots. 1? 2? 3!? Every time he hit the extra shot button, the register read “Moose it!” I guess that’s their code for extra shots. Luckily KDT helped me drink the beast or else I probably would’ve been completely moosed.

Turtle MochaMoose it!

From Caribou we went to the other Zingerman’s, Bakehouse and Creamery, for more free stuff. The Creamery had lots of good gelato, of which I sampled each one before deciding on Mint Chocolate. KDT also tried a bunch. The guy gave us a huge lecture on the difference between gelato and ice cream. Thanks, guy! I also got 6 more bagels at the Bakehouse. Sorry if this is not kosher, Zingerman’s! After eating the gelato (remember, I had samples), I felt kinda gross. Too much heavy free food. We walked around the campus for a while with a prospective student at SI and then went to Pizza House. I got a free Carrot Cake! I couldn’t eat most of it though. So I shared it with the 6 other people there.

Finished Gelato2nd 6 bagelsIMG_1027

After Pizza House, we passed the Cupcake Station for a free cupcake. I thought I could just get a free one but they made me buy one, get one free. I didn’t wanna just say “nah, I’m too cheap to purchase one cupcake” so I begrudgingly got one for me and one for KDT. Hers was a “Red Wings” cupcake. I got a chocolate-filled one. I met up with 9 of my friends at Grizzly Peak for dinner. I got a GP pint glass, a $10 gift certificate and a free dessert (cherry cheesecake), but I had to buy dinner. I have to use the gift certificate within a month. I totally forgot to take any pictures at this point.

People weren’t ready to call it a night at that point, so we walked through the rain to get to Stucchi’s. Like, massive rain storm. I must’ve been hit by at least 400 individual raindrops. When we got there, I really couldn’t stomach the extra ice cream, so I got a scoop on behalf of my friends (buy one get one free). This picture is sort of staged; I ate like, a spoonful of it:

Stucchi's Ice Cream

Afterwards I met back up with KDT and had a cupcake candle ceremony and her co-op friends sang me Happy Birthday. It was an unlicensed performance, but I think it’s okay because it was a private performance.

Birthday Cupcake

Overall it was a fun birthday filled with free stuff and good company. I hope next year’s is just as fun!