Restaurant Review: The Top

All the hipsters are doing it: going to Gainesville's most "cool cat" esque restaurant, The Top. The prices are a bit up there for a college population, but at least you feel like the menu is more creative than The Swamp restaurant in town. The Swamp is right across from campus and the love of the (white) fraternities and sororities. It has a very normal menu with some crazy prices. It's pretty good, but I always like The Top way more. It's not just that The Swamp feels preppier, that's not a problem to me. Preps need a place to go, too, but the food at The Top seems to be a little more creative. That might be because a lot of the food has a vegetarian or vegan option.

Last night I got the southwestern spinach fettucini with tofu. I'm not a vegetarian and love meat but since my fellow Disher is a veg-head 93% of the time, I'm more open to the idea. Good move! It was delicious! Though I need more texture than meat substitutes too often fail to provide. The Top also has AMAZING burgers. Rashan and I will likely be heading here again some time this weekend to get one of those. Good times, good times. Oh! But two fails for me at the Top are the corn nuggets and fried green tomatoes. The nuggets are pretty popular but I'm not a fan of corn kernels in my food. These are basically like mini hushpuppies studded with corn. I did not appreciate the extra hard tomatoes with the cornmeal crust, either. My tomato pickiness should have been a clue to me but I wanted to try them. I think I'll pass on either of those henceforth.


Pink Shrimp & Black Bean Enchiladas


soft taco flour tortillas
1/2 pound fresh or thawed shrimp; a couple whole, most halved
two cans of black beans
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 cup of fresh salsa
3/4 cup of corn
1 lime
colby jack cheese
sea salt and pepper
sour cream

Mince several (I used 5) cloves of garlic and place in bowl. Add peeled, rinsed, and cut shrimp to bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and liberal amounts of cumin. Roll a lime, cut and squeeze out about 1 tablespoon of juice onto the shrimp mixture. Tear cilantro from springs and rough chop to equal 1 tablespoon. Add to bowl. Stir to coat and incorporate. let sit.

In a medium sized pot, pour enough oil to coat bottom of pot plus some. Add several minced garlic cloves then turn burner on to medium-low heat. Let garlic infuse the oil for several minutes. Add two cans of black beans plus 1/4 a can of water. Add sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, and cumin. Stir. Add 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped cilantro and all the juice from 1/2 lime used in shrimp bowl. Stir well. Turn heat up to high and let boil. Begin using spoon to mash the black beans. Mash and stir till water has evaporated and you're left with chunky applesauce consistency. Turn heat off and let water continue to evaporate.

In frying pan, cook shrimp mixture on med-high till they are ALMOST done. Remove from heat, add corn, and salsa to pan and stir.

In baking dish, pour enough enchilada sauce to cover bottom. Place one flour tortilla in dish. Scoop and spread black bean mash on tortilla. Using a slotted spoon, scoop and spread shrimp/corn/salsa mixture on top of black beans. Shred (or add shredded) cheese to the dish. Add next tortilla and repeat black bean, shrimp mixture, cheese steps. Repeat till desired layers are reached. Pour half of remaining enchilada sauce, all over and around the tortillas. Flip top tortilla and pour the rest on dry side. Top with copious amounts of shredded cheese.

Place baking dish in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve in wedges with dollops of lime infused guac and lime infused sour cream. Garnish with lime wedge and cilantro sprig.