New Mexico is the only state in the US with an official question: “Red or Green?” The question refers to the red chile or green chile sauce you can top your dish with. Enchiladas, burritos, sopapillas, burgers… etc.
Our first stop in Albuquerque was Mary & Tito’s Cafe, where they serve James Beard award winning Red Chile sauce with their specialty sopapillas, the fried puff pastry that you rip apart and dip into honey. They’re technically not sopapillas, since these are similar pastries filled with carne adovada and other fillings. Basically it was like a giant fried dumpling, topped with red and chile sauce. The green chile was okay, but the red sauce was hearty, spicy, and delicious.
Then we began our Breaking Bad tour. We got the self-guided google maps that show all the locations. Octopus Car Wash, the Motel where Hank gave Walt Jr a lesson about drugs, the laundromat above the meth lab, Los Pollos Hermanos…. We finally made use of the meth lab kit Haejung’s coworkers prepared for us for a little photoshoot at the laundromat. I put on the yellow raincoat, the goggles, face-mask, and blue rubber gloves. When we started shooting, the owner came up to us and asked, “since you’re all dressed up, do you want to come in?” He invited us inside the laundromat, and we got to have a private shooting session inside. Pretty sweet. Los Pollos Hermanos was the most mundane low-end Mexican restaurant called Twisters. Candy Lady, the candy store that supplied “the blue meth” for the show had a photo op spot, prepped with the Los Pollos Hermanos poster, the meth, and the Heisenberg hat. Breaking Bad seems to have brought a good amount tourist attractions to an otherwise sorta empty city.
We had just finished listening to the audiobook “Unbroken,” a tale of a track Olympic athlete Louie Zamperini’s survival through the POW camp in Japan during World War II. So going to the National Nuclear Museum in New Mexico was a treat, being able to flesh out a lot of story points we had just heard through the museum exhibitions.
Albuquerque was an odd city. There wasn’t much of a “downtown”-feel area, and it was mostly suburb-like strip malls. I guess sort of like LA, but much much smaller.