This gem was seen on the sleeve of an Illy cup of coffee (see picture below). While it may not be unintentional (Illy is an Italian coffee company, so who knows?) it was too good to pass up. It is a conflation of “top of the heap” and “cream of the crop”, both meaning superior to others or the very best. This one is similar to a malaphor posted a few years ago, “He is the top of the notch”. https://malaphors.com/2012/12/11/he-is-the-top-of-the-notch/
A big thanks to Steve Grieme for spotting this one in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, and taking a picture of it!
This one reminds me of “cream of the cake”. The Master actually uttered this gem, which is a mixture of “top notch” and probably “top of the heap” or possibly “top dog”, all meaning the best. It is also the name of a restaurant on top of Mt. Baldy near Los Angeles.