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Taste Test: New Pan Pizza from Domino's

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Even though competing restaurants are constantly borrowing ideas from one another, I never thought I'd see the day where another major pizza chain would jump on the Pizza Hut Pan Pizza bandwagon. In my personal experience, I don't think Pizza Hut does much of anything right. The signature item at Pizza Hut has been the Pan Pizza for ages. Pan pizza is simply pizza baked in a pan and with this method of cooking, you're left with a lot of trapped in flavors and a whole load of grease. Today marks the day where Domino's throws their efforts in the direction of the pan with their new Handmade Pan Pizza, sleek new black pizza box and all.

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Domino's new Handmade Pan Pizza went through three years of development and features fresh dough hand-stretched into the pan -- unlike many other pan products out there, which are frozen. I've never been fond of the pan pizza style, but I'm pretty sure 100% of my opinion comes from experiences with Pizza Hut. Outside of Pizza Hut, the pan pizza has never entered my realm of grubbing. Domino's has been on a rapid-pace of changes over the last couple of years and the introduction of the Handmade Pan Pizza shows they are even more ready to duke it out with their major competitor. For my first taste of Domino's Handmade Pan Pizza, I went with the $7.99 medium 2-topping promo deal and topped my 'za with pepperoni and roasted red peppers.

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Domino's describes their Handmade Pan Pizza like this:

The golden crispy crust with a buttery taste is only the beginning of Domino's Handmade Pan Pizza - as it also features two layers of cheese and toppings to the edge.

I've already been slightly turned off with Domino's dousing their crust with garlic butter to the point where I have to request they go easy on it. I like the garlic butter flavor just fine, but it turns my simple pizza into a giant grease pit. With Domino's Pan Pizza, the greasy-factor is kicked up to another level.

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There isn't too much to get into here with anything else but the crust so I'll throw this out right away and move on. Tons of slightly too-mild pepperoni and a healthy portion of sweet roasted red peppers to balance it all out. Even when Domino's introduced their "New Recipe" pizza a while back, the toppings still stayed the same so I wasn't expecting a change here. The crust as you can imagine is like a deep-fried buttery crisp base that is completely packed with flavor. This is the kind of crust that is so overloaded with salty flavors that you can feel your heart pick up the pace after a few bites. A pan-style pizza works when you're down to the bones (end-crust), but with a load of cheese, sauce and toppings the battle for flavors gets confusing. Is that pepperoni I'm tasting or butter-soaked crust... or maybe it's the sauce? It's all a bit too much, but still packs on the tasty, so-bad-for-you flavors. As I mentioned before, the "golden crispy crust with a buttery taste" equals oily pizza boxes and a boatload of paper towels so be warned.

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Remember that episode of "The Simpsons" where a Krusty Burger was rubbed against the wall and the wall became transparent? It's kinda like that. I preferred the Domino's Pan Pizza over the Pizza Hut version, but they are incredibly similar when all you're talking about is the crust so my edge in cheese/sauce/toppings goes in favor to Domino's. It's a nice deal at $7.99 for a medium 2-topping, but prepare to budget in a roll of paper towels.

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