‘Breaking Bad’ withdrawal? Try an Albuquerque vacation for a quick fix

Breaking Bad
“Have an A-1 day!” This carwash is really called Octopus Car Wash, and you can visit it when you come to Albuquerque.
(Credit: Ursula Coyote/AMC)

After several seasons of watching Walter White and Jesse Pinkman cook meth in various locations around Albuquerque, N.M., the city has responded by getting in on the action. No, not by cooking meth, but by catering to fans of the Emmy-winning show who want to see where some of their favorite scenes were filmed.

Sure, a lot of the show takes place in the dusty desert area that you’d probably only want to visit if you were retrieving industrial barrels filled with millions of dollars in cash that were buried there, but there are more than two dozen iconic attractions within the city limits where “Bad” action has taken place.

If you do happen to drive through the New Mexico desert, then you’re probably going to need to clean the dirt off your car. We suggest Octopus Car Wash which you’ll recognize as the front that the White family used for their drug operation. Whether or not the employees encourage you to “have an A-1 day” isn’t certain, but if you show up wearing a Heisenberg hat, they’ll probably oblige.

Speaking of fronts, Los Pollos Hermanos is not the real name of a restaurant, but the location that was used as Gus Fring’s front for his real business is actually a restaurant chain called Twisters. The Albuquerque location even has the Pollos logo on the wall.
If you’re interested in something heartier, you might want to go to The Grove Cafe & Market, which actor Aaron Paul has said was one of his favorite Albuquerque places to dine. And if you’re on this “Breaking Bad” pilgrimage with a fellow fan, you know that you actually can sit across the table from your companion. You don’t have to get two separate tables and discuss matters back-to-back the way that Lydia insists on doing business.

Less iconic sites that are still worth paying a visit to include a couple of museums — the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum from Season 1 and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History from Season 2 — several theaters and a whole lot of restaurants.

On the meth trail…

The city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau doesn’t seem to have a problem tying a tourism initiative to the show’s drug culture. In fact, the website is actually www.itsatrip.org. Other druggy tie-ins around the city include the spa Great Face & Body, which has a product they call Bathing Bad. Yes, it’s bath salts, but it’s actual bath salts, not the kind that get you high. And a candy shop in the Old Town area called The Candy Lady sells Blue Ice Candy at $1 a bag, which looks suspiciously like a batch of Heisenberg’s finest. Although we all know Heisenberg customers are willing to pay way more than a buck.

Speaking of Heisenberg, there’s a brew called Heisenberg’s Dark Ale available at Marble Brewery. The staff at the Irish pub O’Niell’s have created a cocktail they call the Breaking Blue cocktail, made with raspberry vodka, lemonade, bule curacao and finished with a blue sugar rim.


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