Kung Fu Tea: Find a Freebie Vegan Beverage

 

Kung Fu Tea in San Diego

I’m doing an entire blog post based on one freebie beverage (or $0.58 in my case) from Kung Fu Tea because I found the app and menu to be a little more complicated than usual, so why not help others gain clarity? (I’m so generous.)

App: The app is run by Level Up, the same company that does the Veggie Grill rewards app (I would like to thank the sweet people who used my referral link), but I found I had to enter my credit card before the QR Code would show up (which I didn’t need to do for Veggie Grill, however, they are launching a “new VG Rewards app” soon.)  I then did a screenshot of the QR Code and printed it out because I’m not the type of person who likes to whip out my phone. And besides, sometimes you have to change the brightness on your phone to 100% before you can scan it off your phone.  So when you sign up for Kung Fu Tea Rewards you will get a $4.00 credit, which will say: “Free drink (up to $4) on first purchase.”  Their FAQ is not clear on how long you have to use it.

Another way to be referred, apparently

Menu: Currently, their Nutrition page only refers to calories, sugar-level, gluten, and caffeine. I presume they will update this information eventually based on consumer demand. Until then I would just use best judgment and avoid anything that sounds like it has dairy, honey, gelatin, etc.  I tried the mango slush, which was purportedly vegan according to the cashier. Delish. I owed $0.58 after the freebie $4 was applied.

Menu at Kung Fu Tea

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Spaghetti at House of Bites – Miramar (San Diego)

House of Bites in Miramar.

Back in October, Get 1 Free Deals gave out freebie $20 vouchers. I hope vegans were smart enough to grab theirs.  I got one to use at a fast casual restaurant in Miramar, House of Bites. It’s in the Miramar Village Plaza north of the US Marine Corps Air Station (there would be no war if not for them.)

Fine print from the House of Bites voucher.

The good news is that you can order their spaghetti marinara without cheese, the salad without cheese (the Italian dressing and balsamic vinaigrette are purportedly vegan friendly too), and bread without butter.  So, it’s a good deal when you get a free $20. I suppose you could purchase a voucher too and it would still be a good deal if you used a promo code, since two (2) spaghetti entrees pre-tax totals less than $20.  However, the fine print on the voucher doesn’t say anything about alcohol not counting towards the $20, but the owner told me that’s how it is, so make note of that. The voucher does say, however, “Tax and Gratuity are not included.”

Spaghetti marinara and bread.

Funny thing, I saved the red onions from my salad in a container and the owner wondered why I was doing that. I said I was going to use them later and he offered to fill up the container with more. The next day I made a vegan-version of Herbie’s Herbed Potato casserole because the most difficult prep work was done for me already. And I must say I’m super impressed that cool Morrissey doesn’t like onions. (Chrissy Iley, Morrissey, Sunday Times Magazine, Nov. 26, 2017)

Make sure to do the #VeganChalkChallenge everywhere you go because an idiot on #NextDoor hates it.

 

 

 

Traveling on the Road? Here are 10 Fast Food Restaurants With Vegan Meal Options (Most Have Drive-Throughs!)

I usually get a vegan side salad from McDeaths in airports with the gift card I won.
Watch out for Sonic Drive-In restaurants in California that refuse to comply with state gift card law even though they say they do: “Except as required by applicable law, your My SONIC card may not be applied as payment to any account or redeemed for cash. ” Their manager could not understand that language. Class action lawsuit anyone?

Lazy Girl Vegan

On the Road? Here are 10 Fast Food Restaurants With Vegan Options (Most Have Drive-Throughs!)

Fast food is not be the healthiest option on the planet, but hey, sometimes you’re on the road (like during this holiday season!) and the only thing in sight is an exit with a measly gas station and a few good ole’ American drive-thurs. Luckily, vegans can find a few things.

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Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers (Gaslamp, San Diego)

My favorite sign at Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers

Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers gave out a lot of gift cards on the radio, especially on KFMB-FM, and because their veggie burger can be made vegan by rejecting the cheese and requesting a lettuce wrap instead of the bun, it was pretty smart of vegans to win them (pretty smart of me anyway.) I won mine from Robin Roth. (Years ago, there was a radio contest where the cue to call was Roth reading Morrissey lyrics. I won, of course, and saw her outside after the show where she hugged me. LOL.)  Anyway, the vegan patty is made of brown rice, black beans, and oats with a “sweet soy glaze.” Pretty good.

I got the Alpine Duet beer, which is purportedly vegan-friendly, although used to not be (Barnivore.com.)  It’s more bitter than a jealous person.  I saved some in a drink container to finish later.

Alpine Duet beer

The Gaslamp location is only seven (7) blocks west of the Central city public library branch in the East Village, which means two (2) hours of freebie parking (validate your parking stub for free.) (You can use Ancestry.com for free at the library too.)  When you walk out you’ll see the homeless camped on the sidewalk. (By the way, my cyber-bully who I wrote about here tried to cyber-bully me again by falsely accusing me of “disparaging the homeless,” but didn’t back it up of course. I’m the one who called out 10 News and the police for showing bias against the homeless in favor of homeowners!)

Vegan version veggie burger with lettuce wrap

Then I headed off to Hillcrest to score $100 worth of free groceries because I won a Whole Foods gift card on Star.  (But I had coupons too so I still have a balance.)  There was a lady with a kid and a dog by the parking lot with a “HUNGRY VEGAN FAMILY” sign.  I gave the lady a card for VeganTownUSA.Wordpress.com and said, “Lots of referral links for vegan freebies.” (Yes they had a smart phone and I presumed they already knew about food stamps, food banks, and Food Not Bombs.) (Since I posted the list of birthday freebies I noticed that Jersey Mike’s also has a birthday freebie sub when you subscribe to the E-mail Club.  I just didn’t realize it before because when I originally signed up it didn’t ask for my birthday.)

I like to win iTunes gift cards because they get me what I need

The receipt suggested 0.00 gratuity amount, but I decided to leave a generous tip anyway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seaside Buffet – Miramar (City of San Diego)

Double East Tofu, veggies, rice, fruit

OMG. I knew if I ever vegan-towned Seaside Buffet it would be super-scary because I’ve seen their ads. Awhile back I even attempted to bust their balls because an ad said they had “shark fin soup” and I was like, “OMG, that’s totes illegal!” So, I made some calls and sent out e-mails. Received no response, but it was taken off the subsequent ad and replaced with “sea snails,” and I was like, “OMG, that’s not much of an improvement. Ewwwww!!!!!!!!”

Then one day I won a gift certificate from Money Mailer that was about to expire, so I was like, “Do or die!”

The restaurant is in a building that used to be an Acapulco restaurant (Miramar is more Asian, less Mexican.) I talked to an Asian employee who seemed knowledgeable. She said the Double East Tofu was vegan, but not the lo mein. I hope she was right about the tofu because I’m a tofu-lover. She also said the banana was fried in vegetable oil rather than butter.

I got a plum wine (hopefully vegan; I saw no brand name) that was sweeter than Kool-Aid. At the salad bar I found lettuce greens, olives, edamame, grape tomatoes, pickles, and fruit. Vinegar and oil and other condiments I found in a crate at its own island.  I kept my eyes peeled for vegan stuff and also found plain linguini, some raw veggies (bamboo shoots and julienned zucchini ), white rice, and fries.

Fruit and Salad

As for the scary stuff, they had lots, including “Imitation Shark Fin Soup” and “Shark Fin Potato Salad.” Ewwww! I saw a pregnant Asian lady walk by with a crispy dead fish on top of her food and I said, “Ewwwww!!!” I saw gross people eating shellfish too and was like, “Ewwwww!!!”

If you have the balls to win a gift certificate you should go here and try to find some vegan stuff!

Vegan Birthday Freebies

One of my fave vegan birthday freebies is the Vegan Red Velvet Cupcake from Sprinkles

Since I recently claimed a bunch of vegan food freebies (and a couple non-food) through apps and rewards accounts of various chain restaurants, I figured it’s time to update the post about vegan birthday food freebies.  This kind of information should probably be updated once a year.

Keep track of what rewards programs you have joined and be sure to check your accounts before your birthday because not all of the companies will send you a reminder e-mail (perhaps some of them want to see if you are paying attention.)  Also, they all give you different amounts of time to claim your freebie (from a few days to an entire month or more.)

A Red Robin in Escondido, CA.

Also, keep in mind that some of these rewards programs also offer sign-up freebies, but they may only be available during certain limited promotional times.  They may also change their birthday freebie offers.

Also, some of these accounts can be managed online so you don’t always have to use a smartphone.  (A couple years ago, I won an LG G4 in a sweepstakes and when it died from the boot-loop issue, I purchased an iPhone 7 for half out-of-pocket using a $350 Apple gift card I had won awhile back.  However, I’ve seen programs offering free smartphones to those on welfare and I’ve seen lots of bargain offers on Heavenly Steals.)

My 54 cent lunch from Native Foods.

If you want to join any of the rewards programs listed below, be sure to use my referral codes or links if available because vegan solidarity is cool. (Oh, and thanks to the awesome people who have used my referral codes already!)

Native Foods Rewards$10 birthday freebie!  That means you can get a vegan lunch for only $.54 out of pocket (that’s what I did anyway.)  Great one!

Veggie Grill: $5 freebie.  An awesome discount on something vegan! I thought I had taken photos of the summertime dinner with grilled corn, but they must have not saved or something.

Pizza Rev: Freebie vegan pizza for using Rev Rewards! After you redeem in the app., you have four (4) hours to use it (even though the app tells you to wait until you’re in the restaurant before clicking redeem, you have time to click early.) You can write down the code and hand it to the cashier or scan the QR Code. The “Craft Your Own Pizza Signature Thin” is an $8.99 value.  Referral code: JILLBALL226

Freebie vegan pizza from PizzaRev.

Sprinkles Perks: Claimed the awesome vegan red velvet birthday cupcake again. Love it! I think I saw Han on 2 Broke Girls eating one.  Use my referral link.

Red Robin: When you join the Red Robin Royalty program, you get a freebie vegan Royalty Birthday Burger. They give you a whole month to redeem it and you only need your phone number. A $9.79 value.  Locate the “Garden Burger” entry on the menu and look for the disclaimer saying you can get a vegan Boca patty instead.  However, they should also add a disclaimer saying you can get genuine mustard because their Dijon sauce is actually non-vegan mayo. So, why not simplify things and just make a straight up vegan burger entry?  Better yet, make the entire menu vegan!  However, the nice thing is that you can get a side of steamed broccoli instead of fries. (Stay #FlatAbs, baby.)

Firestone Subs:  Got a freebie medium (hopefully) vegan-version veggie sub through Firehouse Rewards.  You activate the freebie in the app and then simply enter your phone number on the credit card machine at the register.  To get 300 bonus points use my referral code: aqe9h.  However, I basically trusted other web sites as to how to make your sub vegan and haven’t read the documents on the web page yet.  Will do soon.

Hey, look at the Veggie Grill in La Jolla!

Which Wich: A free Vibe Wich Birthday sub through Vibe Club Rewards.  Expires about eight (8) days after your birthday.  Since I last reviewed Which Wich, they changed the menu on the paper bags a little bit. Now the vegan options are “The Avocado” and “Black Bean Patty” and they made some changes under “Style.”  They did away with “Hotwich/Coldwich,” added a “Spinach Wrap,” and changed “Bowlwich” to “Salad.” I originally signed up for Vibe Club Rewards for a sweepstakes and didn’t even realize I’d be getting the free sign-up drink and birthday Vibe Wich.

Robeks: Got a small vegan smoothie by rejecting the sherbet and they didn’t charge me anything.  The smoothie chef said it was just more difficult to blend without the dairy.  (However, their ads now state: “MAKE ANY SMOOTHIE DAIRY FREE.”  They also have “Superfood Smoothies” labelled “Dairy Free.”) She gave me a little extra smoothie too.  Yum!  You can use your phone number; you don’t have to scan a code.  They give you about fifteen (15) days to claim your free small birthday smoothie (or apply the dollar amount to another menu item.) $4.99 value.

Birthday smoothie from Robeks made dairy-free.

Starbucks: Got an iced almond milk latte for free. Barista said it came with three (3) shots and that I could get more and I was like, “No three (3) is plenty.”

He was like, “Are you sure?” LOL.  The freebie offer expires the day after your birthday.

Vegan birthday freebie from Starbucks

Bruegger’s Bagels eClub: Free bagel.  Choose a vegan one and reject the cream cheese until they have vegan.  I actually never claimed my birthday bagel, but they e-mail you a coupon and you have about eight (8) days to redeem it. (They close at 3pm.)  I’ve tried their vegan bagels when they gave out freebies for National Bagel Day.

NoodlesREWARDS, Noodles & Company World Kitchen: Update from previous post about birthday freebie. I don’t think they’re giving out free Japanese Pan Noodles for your birthday now, but then again I didn’t check the app.  They e-mailed me a coupon for a Signature Rice Crispy, which I presumed to be not vegan.  But wouldn’t it be awesome if they made it vegan?

However, I did get a $3 sign-up reward, which was good for two (2) weeks. You can use it to get a FREE side order of tofu (non-GMO!) or $3 off Japanese Pan Noodles. You can scan the QR code at the register or write down the number you get when you “redeem” and hand it to the cashier.  After you “redeem” you have four (4) hours to use it.  My Invite Code for NoodlesREWARDS: JillBallar1336

Blaze Rewards: I forgot to claim my free agua fresca even though I walked right by the place because it’s by Native Foods! LOL. (As you know, my phone had died and I was not on the ball with all the apps I previously had.)  The offer expires about twelve (12) days after your birthday.  However, I did claim the agua fresca when it was a sign up freebie and it’s great!

Beverages from Blaze Pizza

Sign up for the Blaze Pizza app and use my referral code: 7u9mt.  You’ll get a free agua fresca just for signing up and another for your birthday. Blaze Pizza says to “make sure you keep an eye on the Rewards section.” I’ve actually never ordered food at Blaze Pizza, but apparently vegans are going for it.

Auntie Anne’s: I forgot to claim my freebie pretzel even though I was in the right place at the right time (just like with Blaze Pizza.)  I planned to go to the one in Escondido (San Diego County) without realizing it had closed down, but I was actually at the Fairlane Dr. shopping plaza in Allen Park, MI where I could have picked it up. Oh well! They also give out a freebie on National Pretzel Day. You just pick one of the few vegan flavors and ask them to bake it without butter. Why use butter anyway? That’s not #FlatAbs, baby! #DairyIsScary anyway.

Jamba Insider Rewards: I checked my account the day after my birthday and didn’t see my free small vegan all-fruit™ smoothie, which made me figure that the offer expires on your birthday.  But then the FAQ says: “The Birthday Offer expires in 30 days.”  I contacted Spendgo to ask about it and Jordan added the birthday smoothie to my account, which I still have to claim!

Pomegranate Paradise™ Smoothie from Jamba Juice when they offered a $3 off coupon (still have time to claim my free birthday smoothie!)

My Cicis: I didn’t claim my birthday freebie (Adult Buffet or large 1-Topping Pizza to go) because the San Diego location closed down! LOL.  Check under “Offers” through the webpage or app if you want to find the offer yourself. It expires about seven (7) days after your birthday.  Here’s my referral code: JillBalla15

However, I did try the Adult Buffet a long time ago when it was offered as a sign-up freebie.  They actually had vegan French dressing, pizza dough, red pizza sauce, and you could ask a chef to make a cheese-free pizza.  The manager had a laminated chart that could tell you what was vegan or not.  The red pasta sauce was not vegan though, so I put french dressing on pasta. LOL!  Other webpages like Vegan Food Lover have done research on what options are vegan.

Penn Station East Coast Subs: I don’t know if they offer a birthday freebie, but I thought I’d throw this one in because I claimed my sign up freebie (6” vegan-version veggie sub) in the same time frame that I claimed birthday freebies. However, I got it when I was in Woodhaven, MI. The sub would have been good had I not got mustard and teriyaki sauce together. LOL. Use my referral code: 9ej39

La Columbe Pure Black: This wasn’t actually a birthday freebie, but rather a freebie coupon that was redeemable the same days I claimed birthday freebies, so I just wanted to throw it in to say: Isn’t it cool when you find the one vegan variety freebie (the others had dairy) just by walking straight up to it in the Whole Foods? More vegans should claim food freebies (when convenient.)  I prepared it later with Cashew Dream and home-made coconut whipped cream.

La Colombe in an El Jimador cup

Grab the Gold: $15 off coupon for an online order if you’re on their e-mail list. These are so good. They’ve been known to give out free samples (now you have to pay for shipping, though; go to their web page and wait for a pop-up) and have Instagram contests (I won a cool prize pack!)

iTan: One free sun, spray, or spa session (when you’re on their e-mail list.) Mystic Tan is cruelty free. Don’t know about vegan.

Finish Line: $10 if you’re in the Winner’s Circle Reward Program. I forgot to use my reward this time, but in the past I got shoe insoles. LOL.

Sephora Beauty Insider: Tymber picked up freebie vegan cruelty-free Tarte cosmetics for her birthday from Sephora.  Funny thing, I’ve had a Sephora Beauty Insider account for years and never even thought to check it for a birthday freebie!

Tymber’s birthday gift from Sephora. (Photo from Tymber.)

Pei Wei – My Wei Rewards: I just signed up so I could tell you about it, but I haven’t tested the Rewards program yet (just gift certificates and coupons.)  The Pei Wei menu has a leaf symbol designating entries that can be made “Vegetarian Upon Request” (so make sure you actually “request” because the sauce could be not veg.)  But if you say you want it vegan they say, “We say ‘vegetarian,’ not ‘vegan.’”  Their allergen document says the fortune cookies have an egg allergen. Bummer.

But anyway, after I signed up for My Wei Rewards, I entered my birthday online (the app didn’t ask for it.) Your birthday offer will be a freebie drink or edamame small plate.  Your sign-up offer is a freebie drink (I haven’t claimed mine yet and it purportedly doesn’t show up in your account until you make a transaction. “New member enrollment bonus points will post to your account with your first transaction.”)

Papa Johns – Papa Rewards: Apparently I had an account, but didn’t realize it. (I wasn’t getting e-mail from it, but must have made an account when using free pizza codes in the past.) Thus, if I had checked my account online, I may have seen a Birthday Reward of 10 Bonus Points, which can hypothetically get one free vegan Original Breadsticks with Pizza Sauce for dipping. Maybe I will test it next year. Who knows.  If you have an account, look under “Profile” to see if your birthday is in there.  The good news is that when I recently redeemed free pizza codes (from a sweepstakes), I could get extra pizza sauce at no extra charge. (Don’t forget to check “No Cheese” because #DairyIsRape.)

A Papa Johns in San Diego

You can search for more vegan freebies applicable to your locale by doing research.  Check the webpage of a nearby chain restaurant and see what kind of rewards program they have.  Or search for other posts on “birthday freebies” and try to determine which ones have something vegan.  If you find a good vegan one, comment about it so other vegans can score food freebies! (If your comment doesn’t go through, it probably means that WordPress thinks your computer is a robot. That’s what it thinks of my laptop!)

 

Finding Vegan Food Freebies at a Kroger & Affiliates Store

Do you ever try to find vegan food freebies at your Kroger & Affiliates store (Ralphs for me)?  I figured I would write this article for those who are on the fence, to discuss whether or not you can find anything good and if it’s worth the effort.

Freebie Well Yes! soup

Pros: Reducing your food costs by getting vegan freebies, discovering the one vegan variety in an otherwise non-vegan line, never having to pay for BBQ sauce again.

Cons: Sometimes the item is difficult to find (it may or may not be in its regular section; it may be in a display case behind or in front of the cash registers, or at the end of an aisle), sometimes your particular store doesn’t carry the item, sometimes you will spend your time looking for a vegan flavor and it’s either sold out already or they don’t carry it (like with the Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese freebie, for example), you have to pay attention to detail to make sure you are locating the correct product.

Overall, I think it’s worth it, especially if the freebie was something you were going to buy anyway (like, organic tortilla chips) and you know exactly where to find it in the store.

Sometimes random shoppers will start talking to me about how expensive the food items are and I say, “I use the freebie e-coupons, look for bargains and discounts.” (Caveat: if you see a sale tag look for a “Buy Five” disclaimer to make sure you are clear on the price.  If you see a 50% off “Closeout” price make sure it rings up at half price.)

Finding the Freebie E-Coupons:

Check your Ralph’s account every Friday for a “Free Friday Download” to see if it is something vegan-friendly and load it to your card if so.  (For example, the freebie today is a beverage with dairy, so forget it.)  Sometimes there are also random and promotional freebies on the coupon pages. (I Crave Freebies is good at reminding people about the Friday freebies, as well as the random freebies.)  Play the sweepstakes. (Heavenly Steals is good at letting people know about the sweepstakes.)  Scan your card at the register for the e-coupons to apply.

Some of the Items I Got for Free (that I can remember):

Head of cabbage, bag of frozen veggies, Bush’s Best Hummus Made Easy, Campbell’s Well Yes!TM Italian Vegetables with Farro Soup, Rosarita Vegetarian Refried Beans.

Keebler Vienna Fingers, LaraBar, vegan chocolate bar (forgot the brand), Pure Via® Stevia, Black Forest Organic Sour Heads (the gummy bears are not vegan)

BFree bagels and wraps, Van de Kamp’s English Muffins (“suitable for vegans”), Belvita breakfast biscuits, Alfaro’s Artesano bread, Quaker Overnight Oats, Kelloggs cereal (I forget which one I chose, but I remember debating about which would have the least amount of GMOs.)

Kroger Natural peanut butter, Simple Truth Ketchup, Kraft slow-simmered Hickory Smoke and Original BBQ sauce (“no high fructose corn syrup”), Private SelectionTM Regional BBQ sauce, Tostidos Splash of Lime Salsa, Del Real Salsa

Simple Truth Organic tortilla chips and popcorn, Planters Unsalted Dry Roasted Peanuts (great for sharing with Western Scrub Jays), Ritz Crisp & Thins Chips (salt and vinegar flavor, the sea salt flavor was not vegan), Nabisco Good Thins crackers

Silk Almond coffee creamer, Almond Breeze single serve, Organic Slightly Sweet Nestea Real Brewed Green Tea, Zico coconut water, Aquafina Sparkling water, Cascade Ice Sparkling Water, Lipton Pure Leaf Tea (stopped testing on animals in 2011), Pure Leaf Tea House Collection Wild Blackberry & Sage 14oz organic green tea.

Let me know if you find a good vegan freebie from your Kroger & Affiliates store. (If you can’t comment here it probably means that WordPress thinks your computer is a robot.)

Other grocery stores have freebie e-coupons too, but Kroger & Affiliates seem to have the most.

For my next post I will share an update on finding vegan birthday freebies.