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I'm just back from a week in San Francisco (for anyone who's already planning their Bay Area New Year's Eve 08, the restaurant SPQR had an awesome spread that included whole fried chickens with salsa verde; the trick is scoring a table). I spent as much time as possible ensconced in my fab room on the 42nd floor of the Mandarin Oriental where I could watch the crazy weather rolling in and out. The hotel was also conveniently close to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and the Slanted Door—the hosts and hostesses there have more attitude than your average Bungalow 8 bouncer, but bar manager Erik Adkins is obsessed with ginger beer and made us some excellent Dark & Stormy cocktails. I could go on about so many other great meals and drinks, but I'm transfixed by the big rumor I heard: Ron Siegel, whom I loved when he was an F&W Best New Chef in 1999, is leaving the Ritz-Carlton—along with sommelier Stephane Lacroix—to take over the kitchen at Myth from another of our great BNCs, Sean O'Brien (no word yet on where O'Brien is going, but he told SF Gate that New York was on the short list of cities he'd cook in which is good news for me).