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In a Jif, Rachel wins a trip to NYC

Remember my column about Rachel Granillo?

A few weeks ago, the 10-year-old Clovis girl was a semifinalist in Jif's "Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest." Her sandwich -- a lettuce wrap with chicken, apples, grapes, peanut butter, mayonnaise and honey -- needed online votes to push Rachel to the finals.

Well, friends, family and strangers came through. Next week, Rachel is headed to New York City to compete against four other children for a $25,000 scholarship and a Jif gift basket.

Rachel was stunned by the news -- and grateful to everyone who voted for her. "I got to pick up the phone," she says. "I was the first one to know. I started crying."

We'll find out March 19 if she wins. The five finalists will make their sandwiches for a panel of judges at The Culinary Loft in New York City. They will be evaluated for creativity, nutritional balance, taste, appearance and ease of preparation.

Parents will assist; Rachel will compete with her mother, Diana Granillo.

Of course, the trip isn't all about the competition. Among the activities: a pizza party for the contestants and lunch at the restaurant Serendipity 3, known for its ice cream dishes.

In addition, Rachel wants to visit the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, ground zero and Rockefeller Center.

"I want to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center," Rachel says.

No matter what happens next week, Rachel already is a winner: The four runners-up will receive a $2,500 scholarship.

For the recipes and more information, go to jif.com.

If you missed the Science of Wine series at the shuttered Fresno Metropolitan Museum, watch out for tastings called Wine for Waggy Tails.

Since the museum's closing on Jan. 5, the Science of Wine events have continued as fundraisers for the Animal Compassion Team, a local no-kill animal rescue.

Wine for Waggy Tails takes place the second Thursday of every month. Local wine consultant Chris Turner and Vino 100 team up to organize the events.

Upcoming themes include: "The Rhône Valley: Southern France" (April 8), "The Art of Blending: A Hands-on Experience" (July 8), and "Italy: The Top and Bottom of the Boot" (Nov. 11). Go to animalcompassionteam.com for the complete schedule.

March's tasting will features eight Argentine and Chilean wines, says Chuck Van Fleet, co-owner of Vino 100. Guests will taste wines, eat hors d'oeuvres and listen to a talk about Argentine and Chilean wine regions.

The cost of the tasting is $25. It takes place 6 p.m. Thursday at the Copper River Country Club, 11500 N. Friant Road. If you want tickets, pay for them today. No tickets are sold at the door.

Call Vino 100 at (559) 434-1771 to buy tickets by phone. Or go to animalcompassionteam.com to pay for them online. (Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link under "Wine for Waggy Tails.")

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