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Archive for May, 2009

Pixar includes Bay Area “Burger Cake” in upcoming release “UP”

Friday, May 29th, 2009 – “The new movie “UP” contains some of the most obvious Bay Area references yet. I wrote a story in today’s Chronicle about the cameo by Fentons Creamery, which shows up in animated form and sort of works in to the movie’s plot. “Up” director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera told me in the same interview that protagonist Carl Fredricksen’s helium balloon-powered house was modeled after a Victorian that Docter regularly drives by in Berkeley. (Neither filmmaker would reveal the location.)burger_poster180x2661

But my favorite blink-and-you’ll miss it East Bay in-joke is a tribute to Merritt Bakery, the awesome old school bakery and restaurant on the south end of Lake Merritt in Oakland. Look closely on Russell’s sash with all of his Wilderness Scout awards, and you’ll see a small patch with a hamburger and a candle.

Here’s Jonas Rivera’s explanation:

“Pete and I, when we work on a film, we go almost every week at night (to Merritt Bakery) to sit at the counter and eat cake and talk about the movie. One of the things we saw over there was the burger cake — it’s shaped like a hamburger. We thought ‘That is so ridiculous,’ so we made it a trend to buy that for our crew meetings. And one of Russell’s badges is a burger cake. There’s some Oakland love in the movie.”"  Courtesy of Peter Hartlaub,



A Personal Experience – Mothering America’s Soldiers

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Part of our Mother’s Day Soldier Event in Times Square this past May 5th included participants from the Friends of Island Academy, a wonderful program here in New York City that aims to prevent youth recidivism by acclimating youths into society through eduction & support. We received a wonderful email this morning from one our FOIA volunteers – read on:

“My experience with Bake Me A Wish! was very rewarding. We spent the morning asking pedestrians to write notes of appreciation and encouragement to [soldiers overseas]. With every note that was filled, a cake was sent to a soldier and a free sample was given to the writer.

Initially it was discouraging. We passionately tried to grab the attention of early morning New Yorkers on their way to work with limited success. The light drizzle, the nearby peddles and the early morning rush were all reasons to people to ignore us. The cause was worth the frustration. We continued to try our best and eventually more and more people gave us their time to us.

We began at 6:30am. By 9:00am, we had given out more than a hundred samples and received so many letters (editors note: over 1500 letters were received in total!). It was a great way to start the day. The soldiers sacrifice their lives for our freedom everyday. It was an honor to sacrifice one morning to honor and assist the protectors of our liberties. My name is Shiasia Morrison, I just want to thank Bake Me A Wish for that once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Thanks Shiasia! It was wonderful to have you at our event and we highly appreciate your support and dedication to our troops!

Would you pay $7,700 for cake? (Princess Di Cake for Sale!)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Here’s a great way to make some money in this economy:

A)  Purchase a Bake Me A Wish! LOVE cake

B)  Freeze for 28 years

C)  Become a Princess


Princess Diana cake for sale

Royal Watch News

May 20, 2009, 10:45 GMT

A slice of the late Princess Diana’s wedding cake is to be auctioned.

The 28-year-old piece of fruitcake – from Diana’s 1981 wedding to Prince Charles – is expected to fetch more than £5,000 when it goes under the hammer in Dorset, south west England, on June 2.

The cake – which is still in its original presentation box – was once part of 23 cakes made for the ceremony.

The confection is being sold by a former royal staff member, who also has cake from the weddings of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.

Christmas cards signed by Diana – who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 – and Charles will also be for sale.

John Condie from auction house Cottees said: “We have done well with royal-related memorabilia in the past and on offer again this time will be two more of Princess Diana’s personally signed Christmas cards from 1994 and 1995 along with five signed by Prince Charles.

“We will be hoping for more international interest in these items and there is still time for anyone with similar items to enter them into the auction.”

A slice of Diana’s cake sold for £17,000 when it was auctioned in 1998, but a similar slice sold last year only fetched for £1,000.

Jordan’s Queen Rania believes social networking websites such as Twitter can help promote her campaign for better education.

An Interview With Bake Me A Wish

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Web and You Interview: Bake Me A Wish

bmw_120Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Joseph Dornoff, Vice President of Marketing and Operations at Bake Me A Wish.  Bake Me A Wish provides gift delivery service to anywhere in the United States, their primary product being delicious gourmet cakes that make even the most strong-willed person salivate in anticipation.  It specializes, however in deliveries to soldiers serving overseas in an effort to bring a little comfort food to those young men and women serving their country.

Joseph is a dynamic individual, eager to tell the story of Bake Me A Wish and share it with as many people as possible.  Though he can easily be described as a marketing expert, he exudes a personality that welcomes you as you sit to have a conversation.  It’s easily communicated throughout this conversation, and I welcome you to read on — he provides a great deal of information on his successful approach that can be applied anywhere.

Avelient: What do you do?

Dornoff: I’m the VP of Marketing & Operations for Bake Me A Wish, LLC… basically in charge of making sure the company runs smoothly soup to nuts, whether that be packaging, shipping, advertising.. you name it.

Avelient: How long has your company been around?

Dornoff: BMAW, LLC originally started as a corporate gifting company for Loyalty and Appreciation programs in early 2005. Since then, our reach has expanded to the online consumer ( launched in april 2006), and has made great strides in elevating its brand awareness as an online shopping portal and the National Gift Cake provider.

Avelient: What about your business makes you unique in your space?

Dornoff: There are not a lot of companies out there that will not take on the burden of shipping a perishable item. We saw a strong need for a birthday gift, particularly a cake, that could be shipped anywhere in the United States. Ultimately, we’re in the gifting business not the cake business, with birthday gifts being over 70% of our volume. But no one else does gourmet cakes like we do, packaged the way we do, with the amenities we have… that’s a major value proposition.



Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Today is officially OPERATION: BIRTHDAY CAKE DAY in New York City!  Mayor Bloomberg honored our event today by having Dep. Commissioner Joyner come down and present us an official proclamation.  We had a fantastic event, and close to 2000 letters for soldiers were submitted!!  We’ve posted a couple of initial photos from the AP feed below – thanks to everyone who helped make the event a huge success!

May 5th is Operation: Birthday Cake Day!

May 5th is Operation: Birthday Cake Day!