With Free Spaghetti Comes Joy

On a Friday night a few weeks ago, I was looking to escape the dullness of Irvine and its vast multitude of chain restaurants and gigantic malls. I was yearning for something a little farther away yet still within easy driving distance. Stumped, I decided to look on aa.idine.com and see if I could earn some American AAdvantage miles while dining. I’m a mile junkie, you see, and I like to earn miles every chance I get. They allow me to travel like I’ve never dreamt possible (flying in first class to Hawaii, New York and Chicago), but I digress. This is a review of food, not airline miles.
On the Web site I found Bella Napoli, located in the quaint town of Dana Point, about 25 minutes away from Irvine but a world away in terms of mood and surroundings.
Gone are the shopping center restaurant parking lots of Irvine, so we parked by the side of the road next to the restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway. There is a small, open-air patio that you pass on the way to the front door.
Christine and I were greeted by a nice hostess who promptly seated us at our table. The interior had a very cozy, homey feel with warm colors throughout the restaurant.
Our waiter was in the middle of taking care of another table, so we had to wait a little longer than I would have liked to have our orders taken. But it was no big deal since it was our first time there and we needed some additional time to figure out what we wanted to have.
We settled on a starter of focaccia and then the large Bella Napoli thin-crust pizza ($11.50 for a 12-inch pizza, $15.50 for 16-inch pizza) that was topped with broccoli saut