Walter White, the protagonist of AMC’s cult hit “Breaking Bad,” did a lot of “cooking” during the five seasons of the popular show that ends its stellar run this fall.
But that’s not the kind of cooking this article is about. Yet, it is for Breaking Bad fans, those rabid maniacs who make pilgrimages to Albuquerque from all over the globe to have an Indian taco at Los Pollos Hermanos (Twister’s, in its civilian life) or grab a chili dog at The Dog House. This Breaking Bad “cooking tour” has five foodie locations that have either played a starring role in one or more episodes or become a favorite of the cast. Let’s just hope they don’t get blown up before you can get there.
The Dog House. You can’t miss the vintage neon sign of the giant dachshund who has been eagerly wagging its tail at travelers on Route 66 for more than 60 years. Jesse Pinkman, Walter’s sidekick, made a few “transactions” at this tiny hot dog joint that serves a killer foot-long chili cheese dog, Frito pie and green chile cheeseburgers. It’s tiny (five tables and an old-fashioned counter), but why not try Jesse’s favorite table—outside in the waitress-attended parking lot. 1216 Central Avenue NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, 505.243.1019.
Twister’s Grill. This Albuquerque burrito and burger joint wasn’t up for an Emmy for its role as Los Pollos Hermanos, the fast food chicken chain Gustavo Fring uses to launder his meth earnings. Don’t expect fried chicken (think Indian tacos and green breakfast chile) and know, whether you text “Pollos” to your friends or not, you’ll snapping photos (the Los Pollos Hermanos logo is painted the wall) and signing the guestbook (yes, there’s a guest book) with fans the world over. 4257 Isleta Blvd SW
Albuquerque, NM 87105, 505.877.2727.
Java Joe’s. Remember Tuco’s hideout? The one the former chemistry teacher blew up by throwing a piece of fulminated mercury on the floor, the daring ploy that convinced the psychopathic Mexican kingpin he wasn’t dealing with the wuss he thought? Well, that hide-out is Java Joe’s and it’s not in ruins, after all. Instead, it’s a quaint neighborhood café serving up breakfast platters, its own house-roasted coffee and a funky vibe complete with nightly live music. 906 Park Ave SW Albuquerque, NM 87102, 505.765.1514.
The Grove Café & Market. Walter and Skyler, the long-suffering wife for whom he’s amassing a fortune, have tiptoed a thin conversational line a time or two at this bustling cafe in the Huning Highland district that also (spoiler alert) plays a starring role in the next to last episode. Using locally-sourced breads, eggs, produce and meats, the Grove is creatively run by another husband and wife team, Jason and Lauren Greene, who pour their passion into such dishes as raspberry-coconut French toast, grilled cheese with pickled fennel, ricotta, gruyere, braised kale and roasted tomatoes and a goat cheese burrito with housemade green chile. 600 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102, 505.248.9800.
El Pinto. Famous, even before Walt and Jesse came to town, 1200-seat El Pinto is run by identical twin brothers who wouldn’t put anything artificial in their mouth if Krazy-8 Molina tried to slit their throats. They grow all their chiles to specification, fussing over them like a vintner fusses over his grapes. Jim and John Thomas, whose father started the restaurant and coined the term “New Mexican cuisine” have cooked on Air Force One and in the White House when George W. Bush decided to celebrate Cinco De Mayo with recipes the Thomas twins learned from their grandmother, Josephina Chavez-Griggs. Just about every actor with an agent has made it to this 12-acre property that serves 140 types of tequila and nothing that’s not organic and locally-grown. In case you’re wondering, Bryan Cranston likes a quiet spot by one of the fireplaces, Jeremiah Bitsui (Victor) keeps his own bottle of tequila in the private tequila cabinet and the Wrap Party for Season Three that was held there was one of the only times this Albuquerque institution was closed to the public. 10500 4th Street, Albuquerque, NM 87114, 505.898.1771.
The Candy Lady. Owner Debbie Ball didn’t consider selling blue ice candy at her three-decades-old candy store in Old Town until she saw Bryan Cranston offer up a bag to David Letterman. Since she’s the one who sold him that bag (the show hired her to make 100 pounds the first two seasons), she decided to capitalize, adding a whole line of Breaking Bad products, including Heisenberg’s famous porkpie hat. She even has exclusive rights to sell the “Breaking Bad” Pez containers made by local folk artist Steve White (no relation to Walter) who also make Elvis Pez-ley and American Pez-idents. 524 Romero St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104, 505.243.6239.