I ate extremely well in 2014, but two meals stood out: dinner at Trois Mec with Sophie in Los Angeles in March, and Bar Tartine with Andre and Julie in San Francisco in December.

Trois Mec is inventive and technical without being alienating; a dish of riced potato with brown butter, onion and bonito was an absolute knockout, despite not being leagues away from fancy mashed potato. The space is terrific, too – behind a grimy-looking facade in a non-descript LA strip mall is a small dining room with a long bar, from which you can watch the service unfold. Getting tickets requires a special effort, but it’s a pleasure to turn up to a dinner that’s all paid for and simply be able to relax and enjoy it.

At Bar Tartine, the menu is a mixture of eastern European, Japanese and sundry other influences, with an emphasis on in-season vegetables and grains, and on techniques like fermentation, pickling, sprouting and smoking – sprouted lentil croquettes with kerif and coriander, for example. And the bread! And the everything.

Side note: high fives to both of these restaurants for skipping the “have you dined here before – we eat family-style – the food comes as it’s ready” lecture, which, well, ugh. Maybe 2015 is the year of everybody STFU on that front.