When first entering Café Zoolu, don't be scared off by the neon pink sign or the cheetah-print chairs lining the bar, for you will soon come to appreciate these quirks. Although this restaurant may look like a cross between a Hawaiian tiki hut and an African jungle safari on acid, the place is packed and the food will keep you coming back.
Tucked away in Laguna Beach, off of Pacific Coast Highway and across from an unsightly Circle K, Café Zoolu is best known for its seafood dishes, and well, charm. What's most overlooked here, though, is the dessert menu. This is where the strawberry shortcake comes in, our pick for Dessert of the Week.
The pile of fresh strawberries, vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce and bits of chocolate hides delicious, homemade shortcake. Although the presentation makes up a large portion of the appeal of this dessert, those strawberries alone are worth the $8. Owner and chef Michael Leech makes the strawberry sauce himself, a simple puree of fresh strawberries mixed with sugar. Those strawberries, the key ingredient, are shipped to Café Zoolu from Driscoll's Strawberry Farm in Northern California.
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Be sure to savor each bite of the dessert, for it will give you more time to analyze the décor of Café Zoolu. With very real, very dead blowfish turned into light fixtures, you may need to be there for a while.