99-Cent Pizza at The Block's Pasta Bravo

It was a quarter past one.

After catching a late morning matinee at The Block's AMC, my friends and I found ourselves hungry. If we weren't lazy and famished, we would've made a beeline for the parking lot and bolted out of there to the nearest banh mi shop or burrito stand.

Instead we wandered mindlessly, zombie-like, into O.C.'s version of the Universal City Walk food court. In the sun-drenched, gaudy alley of billboards and tourist-trappy fakeness, we ambled around dumbstruck.

Then, a poster outside Pasta Bravo caught my eye. $0.99 for a slice of pizza it said. If it had to be food court food, I thought, at least it ought to be ridiculously cheap. Still, I had to be sure that there wasn't a catch.

I walked in and confirmed the deal with the counter man -- an intimidating hulk with a menacing scowl that would make Seinfeld's Soup Nazi seem like Mr. Rogers.

"No catch...it's just 99-cents for slice like this," he growled, pointing his gigantic sausage fingers at a lonely, dried out quarter of a pie on display.

With our bellies aching, even that sad, petrified piece would've sufficed, especially for 99-cents. But when we ordered a few slices, the guy immediately went to work. He flattened some dough onto an aluminum pie pan, spreading it thin, ladling sauce, sprinkling cheese and pepperoni, and sliding it into his oven's conveyor belt.

What came out a few minutes later was cut into quarters and served bubbling lava-hot on the pan. Total for the whole pie you see above (four slices): $3.96 before tax.

What I bit into was wide enough to eclipse my face. It was thin, crisp, fresh and with a crust that crackled like lavash. Before each bite, I shook on some flaked pepper and concluded that I loved it -- the best 99-cent slice of pizza I've ever had...

Pasta Bravo at The Block 714) 769-4031 20 City Blvd W # S1 Orange, CA 92868


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