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 V.22 No.40 | October 3 - 9, 2013 

The Mouthful

Lunch with Heisenberg

A culinary goodbye to “Breaking Bad”

Los Pollos Hermanos lurks inside the Isleta Twister’s location.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Los Pollos Hermanos lurks inside the Isleta Twister’s location.

(Note: all details in this article regarding the final episode of “Breaking Bad” have been altered to avoid spoilers for those have not yet seen it. Details about other episodes have been left in, however, because, c’mon man, get with the program.)

On Sunday night, the most important television project ever filmed in New Mexico came to an end. And as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman successfully used magnets to fight off time-traveling and meth-addicted SS soldiers only to be killed by the resurrected and cybernetically enhanced Hank Schrader aka Robo-ASAC, Albuquerque viewers could not help but feel a little bittersweet. After all, no television show has ever made such a point of featuring our city as a major part of its setting, and it’s frankly unlikely that any ever will again.

Hitman and all-around badass Mike Ehrmentraut was a fan of the coffee at Loyola’s on Central.
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com
Hitman and all-around badass Mike Ehrmentraut was a fan of the coffee at Loyola’s on Central.

Fortunately, because “Breaking Bad” loved to show off Albuquerque, both good and bad, we in the Duke City can fuel our nostalgia for the Walter White era with a tour of the many local spots that featured as backdrops for the quirkily tragic drama. Even better, with many key scenes taking place at local restaurants, we can grab a bite while we do it. Here are a few of my favorite eateries to relive the rise and fall of Heisenberg.

Loyola’s

4500 Central SE

Fortunately, because “Breaking Bad” loved to show off Albuquerque, both good and bad, we in the Duke City can fuel our nostalgia for the Walter White era with a tour of the many local spots that featured as backdrops for the quirkily tragic drama. Even better, with many key scenes taking place at local restaurants, we can grab a bite while we do it. Here are a few of my favorite eateries to relive the rise and fall of Heisenberg.

Gustavo Fring’s right-hand man, Mike Ehrmantraut, made for a supremely competent hitman, investigator, spy and overall enforcer. During his off hours, he enjoyed a cup of joe and a plate of eggs at Loyola’s kitschy diner just east of Nob Hill. In reality, the restaurant’s vibe is more southwestern than middle-American, and you’d be a fool not to order those eggs smothered in green chile.

Venezia’s Pizzeria

3908 San Mateo

These New York style pies had several appearances on the show, but none made more of an impression than in season 3, when Walt, in a fit of the impotent rage that characterized him during his ill-fated tenure under Gus Fring, tossed it onto the roof of his suburban home. Order your own from Venezia’s on San Mateo and wrestle over the question of whether the scene was more tragic as a symbol of the cracks appearing in Walt’s once-respectable facade, or simply a heartbreaking waste of good pizza.

Garduños

2100 Louisiana NE

The largest chain restaurant based out of New Mexico, Garduños was a perfect setting for the last awkward, sitcom-esque outing for the White and Schrader families. With all cards on the table, Walt and Hank stared each other down as mortal enemies, while their wives hissed threats across the table, and a cluelessly chipper waiter tried to tempt the group with fresh, table-side guacamole. If only the nemeses had been willing to clear the air over a few coconut margaritas, things might have gone differently.

The Grove Cafe

600 Central SE

Uptight meth-magnate Lydia Rodarte-Quayle placed utmost value on outer appearances, so it made sense that she’d choose to frequent this chic EDo restaurant for her Albuquerque rendezvous. Unlike the show’s version of The Grove, you’ll have to stand in line for a chamomile tea and a croque madame, but once you’ve ordered, feel free to sit back-to-back with your favorite co-conspirator and re-enact Lydia’s frantically whispered conversations with the baby-faced and black-hearted Todd.

Twister’s

4257 Isleta SW

Gustavo Fring effortlessly lived the double life that Walt ineptly grasped for throughout the series, running Los Pollos Hermanos, his fried chicken front restaurant, so well that it even became a favorite stop for the Albuquerque branch of the DEA. Of course, Walt eventually managed to turn Fring’s one weakness into his downfall, and Gus’ near-perfect operation disappeared in a fiery explosion, along with half his face. Gus and Walt are both gone now, but the South Valley Twister’s that served as the set for Los Pollos Hermanos still proudly features the fictional company’s logo and will no doubt remain a pilgrimage spot for “Breaking Bad” fans in the foreseeable future.

 
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