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Zebulon's becomes SoHo; Bellwether offers ricotta; Patterson opens Coi in SF


A sure sign of spring: The Sebastopol farmers market opens for the year Sunday morning, a major reason to be less grumpy about the loss of an hour's sleep. This lovely event features a number of farmers who do not attend other markets in the region. During its eight-month run, it becomes a gathering place for the west county, a perfect way to spend a Sunday, no matter the weather.

The market opens officially at 10 a.m., but as the days lengthen it gets under way much earlier. Things start wrapping up around 1 p.m.

The market is in the town plaza, on McKinley, across from Whole Foods.

Goodbye, Zebulon's; hello, SoHo: On Friday night, Zebulon's Lounge in Petaluma will be no more. But don't worry. The stylish wine bar is not closing; it is merely being reborn, as SoHo.

Jay Eisenberg bought Zebulon's from its founder, Trevor Zebulon Cole, several months ago and has decided it is time to stake his claim with a new name, one that reflects his early years in Manhattan. Eisenberg was raised in Brooklyn, but his first apartment was in a rough area near Greenwich Village dubbed SoHo, for "South of Houston."

Today, Manhattan's SoHo is one of the trendiest areas of New York. Art galleries that began to appear in the 1970s share the street with retail chains, juice bars and Starbucks. Still, SoHo retains a lot of hip bohemian appeal, a description that fits the Petaluma lounge that serves as a music venue and an art gallery as well as a wine bar.

SoHo will continue to offer live music every night, with more than just jazz, the tradition at Zebulon's. There's alternative country, funk, blues, soul, electronica and music that is hard to categorize, along with jazz several times a week. Literary readings continue on Tuesday nights.

SoHo serves boutique wines, Belgian ales, domestic brews, teas and coffee drinks, along with traditional cocktails made with wine-based spirits that are about half the proof of standard cocktails. If you fancy a nibble, there's cheese, bread and desserts.

SoHo (21 Fourth St., Petaluma, 769-7948) opens at 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Although the lounge has been open on Monday evenings of late, that will change soon. Eisenberg reports he has had no success drumming up a Monday night crowd.

Sheep's milk ricotta: Cindy Callahan of Bellwether Farms called a few days ago to tell us that they'll have fresh sheep's milk ricotta at their booth in Plaza Farms (on the square in downtown Healdsburg) as of this weekend. The cheese will be available in 1-pound containers on a first-come, first-served basis, unless you want to order in advance.

You can order any quantity, including the traditional basket form, which is about 3 to 3? pounds and is about as close to true Sicilian-style ricotta as you'll find without getting on a plane.

To place an order, call the dairy at 763-1997.

Later this spring, Bellwether will introduce sheep's milk yogurt, so stay tuned.

Where's Daniel Patterson? Remember Babette's, the exquisite little jewel of a restaurant in Sonoma that closed in the late 1990s? Chef-owner Daniel Patterson left Sonoma for San Francisco to open, and then close, Elizabeth Daniel, then became the initial chef at Frisson, a position he soon left. As his restaurants grew in size, the food grew in concept, with innovation sometimes eclipsing his perfect-pitch palate.

Now he's downsizing, with Coi (pronounced kwa) scheduled to open Tuesday night at 337 Broadway, between Montgomery and Sansome, in San Francisco.

With Coi - an old French term than means tranquil - Patterson is back in charge of a small space, just 30 seats, and a small crew. The restaurant will serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday nights, and Patterson promises less concept, more pleasure, to which we say: Yay! We can't wait.

Tip Please: We learned the details of Patterson's new venture from www.tablehopper.com, a weekly Internet newsletter and Web site written by Marcia (rhymes with Garcia) Gagliardi. A subscription to tablehopper is free, as is a special feature on the site, "Tip Please." Tip Please is an interactive restaurant recommendation service, in which you answer a number of questions about what you're looking for (a place to take your cranky aunt, say, or kick up your heels with a secret love or find the best Ethiopian cuisine in San Francisco), and she sends you back her suggestion. There's no charge, but you have to agree to follow up by telling her about your experience. And really, why wouldn't you want to do this? Isn't there a little restaurant critic inside everyone who ever eats out?

Gagliardi has a light-hearted but intelligent approach, and Ms. Mouthful says check it out the next time you're looking for a restaurant in the city.