8 ways to get your ‘Breaking Bad’ fix in Albuquerque
(CNN) — Beautiful stretches of desert, wispy cumulus clouds, green-chile cheeseburgers and cozy adobe homes. These are the hallmarks of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
But now, thanks to the AMC hit series “Breaking Bad,” the fictional saga about a high school chemistry teacher turned drug dealer, there are some new, more unusual trademarks.
The wildly popular, Emmy-winning television series shot in Albuquerque tells the story of mild-mannered Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer early in the show. He turns to producing and selling methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future before he dies.
His radical transformation into a ruthless drug baron has spawned a cult-like following (fans are even getting Walter White tattoos).
As a result of the show’s success, many businesses in Albuquerque are getting creative and prompting visitors to check out spots that were not on the must-see list before 2008 when the series began.
The final season starts on August 11, so why not pretend to cook up some crystal meth in Albuquerque to mark the occasion?
Take a BaD Tour: ABQ Trolley Co.
This is not your typical jaunt around town. For starters, the open-air trolleys are covered in stucco to represent the adobe-style buildings of the area. It’s called the BaD tour, but, in fact, it’s so good that it sells out months in advance.
The three-and-a-half-hour tour is run by two locals who clearly love showing people around Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s Albuquerque. Riders on this tour cover nearly 40 miles worth of “Breaking Bad” hangouts. Plus, there are flat screens in the trolley playing scenes from the show that coincide with the tour stops.
Altogether, guests see up to 20 locations from all five seasons, including the exteriors of Walt’s house, Jesse’s house, Los Pollos Hermanos, the car wash and Tuco’s hideout.
Boost your cooking cred: Great Face & Body
If you’re looking for something highly unusual to do on your Albuquerque vacation, pretending to cook up crystal meth would be it. During an interactive 60-minute “cooking” class at eco-friendly day-spa Great Face & Body you’ll learn secrets from the Heisenberg Cookbook. In other words, you’ll be whipping up blue sheet candy and blue bath salts, both inspired by White’s pure crystal meth.
By the end of the class you will be a certified BrBd cookologist, and to prove it, they’ll take your mug shot holding your certificate. And better yet, you get to walk away with the evidence, in 8-ounce plastic baggies, of course.
After you’re finished cooking, try the 40-minute Bathing Bad Body Scrub where your lucky limbs are exfoliated with all-natural ingredients and rehydrated with the cerulean Bathing Bad lotion.
Two wheel it: Routes Rentals & Tours
Hop on a signature, yellow-tire three-speed cruiser to explore urban ABQ by bike. Upon arrival Biking Bad tour guests are “booked” (given special markings for the tour) and outfitted with bicycles.
Then, the first person to answer the initial trivia question correctly draws from a set of five character cards. This determines the tour route.
Depending on what tour you are on, you might visit Spooge’s house, see where Combo spent his last minutes, visit the DEA building, ride through the neighborhood where Jesse grew up and discover Tuco’s headquarters.
No worries if you aren’t a cycling pro; the tour is intended for riders of all skill levels with mostly level terrain.
Eat Mexican: Twisters Burgers and Burritos
On the show it’s called Los Pollos Hermanos and serves as home base for meth kingpin Gustavo “Gus” Fring.
In reality it’s Twisters Grill and doesn’t actually serve chicken. Instead, grab a root beer float and a plate of Mexican food. Inside you’ll find a Los Pollos Hermanos mural, which makes for a recognizable photo op.
Choose from burgers and burritos and lots of toppings. The signature item, the Twisters Burrito, comes with chicken, beef, carne adovada or bean and cheese topped with red or green chile, lettuce and tomato.
Post chow down, check out the guest book and sign in next to fellow fans visiting from places like France, Germany and Canada.
Down a dog: The Dog House Drive In
You know you’ve arrived at The Dog House when you see a giant neon dachshund sign perched atop a tiny shack off of Route 66.
“Breaking Bad” fans will recognize it as a place that Jesse Pinkman visits several times on the show. For nearly 60 years, this relic of an eatery has been serving up burgers, tater tots, foot-long chili cheese dogs and Frito pies (Frito Lays chips piled with seasoned ground beef and red chili, cheese, tomatoes and onions.)
Be warned, though: Some of the dishes have a kick.
Satisfy your sweet tooth: The Candy Lady
Fans love this candy shop located in the historic part of town for a few reasons.
First of all, you can purchase a $1 baggie of Breaking Bad Candy. It’s so popular, The Candy Lady, Debbie Ball, has sold 30,000 of them to customers around the world in places as far flung as Australia, Sweden, Norway and Germany.
In fact, she supplied the show with the prop meth during the first two seasons.
While you’re at the shop, try on a Heisenberg pork pie hat or snag an “I’m not Heisenberg” T-shirt. You’ll also find red-and-green chili fudge and X-rated candy (aka chocolate in the shape of unmentionable body parts).
Be a rebel: Rebel Donut
Stuff yourself silly at this hometown doughnut shop. Keep with the “Breaking Bad” theme by devouring a vanilla cake doughnut with light blue, cotton-candy-flavored icing topped with blue rock candy.
Actor Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman) custom ordered these awhile back and ever since Blue Sky doughnuts have been flying off the shelves. Other crowd-pleasers include maple bacon bars, green-chili apple fritters and doughnuts topped with Fruity Pebbles.
If those don’t float your boat, order custom-made doughnuts to your liking. They’ve done “Dexter” doughnuts splattered with red icing, “Star Wars” doughnuts and even gender reveal doughnuts for baby showers.
Get your brew on: Marble Brewery
Cheers! On August 8 Marble Brewery is introducing two new beers just in time for the final season’s premiere.
Heisenberg’s Dark, a 6.5% ABV Indian Black Ale, represents White’s dark side while Walt’s White Lie, an India White Ale, represents his family man side.
Marble plans to brew about 60 kegs of each style of beer, so there should be plenty to go around. The new themed beers will be on tap through Marble Brewery’s distribution network in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
Marble Brewery’s beers have had cameos on the show several times and members of the cast have visited the brewery, too.
By Sarah Sekula