Sometimes comfort food doesn't mean grandmother food. It's not macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes and gravy when you can't breathe, your throat scratchy, is head is pounding and your fever is making you grumpy. When the gunk gets you down, it's off to Shang Hai and the hot and sour soup for me. And it's even better when your better half brings it home for you with an order of egg rolls.
The soup is spicy but tangy, too, full of cubed tofu, bits of pork, bean sprouts and red pepper. It's served so hot that you can't even think about eating it for 10 minutes or so, but when you do -- aaaaaah. The sinuses open, the throat is soothed, the fever is frightened away and your tastebuds wake up enough to take on the egg rolls. The outer layer is crisp and thin as onion skin, the filling hearty with cabbage, onion and pork. And since it's the first solid food you've had in days, they're even better. Talk about comfort.
A large soup is $5; egg rolls are $1.45. Feeling better? Priceless.
Shang Hai is at 1400 Poplar. Hours are Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed Sunday. Call 722-8692 for more information.
--Jennifer Biggs: 529-5223