When someone says “ Breaking Bad pop-up” a few ideas come to mind. Namely, a real-life recreation of Los Pollos Hermanos. Or maybe a methed out RV-turned-food-truck serving blue rock candy. Roof pizza? Ultra-sterile open kitchen/ laboratory? A heh food joint titled, 'Jesus Christ Marie, They're Vitamins & Minerals!'?
West Hollywood's Breaking Bad Experience is none of those things. What it offers instead is a pop-up restaurant that takes a central element of the show — chemistry — and runs with it. Not in some haphazard Cap'n Cook way, either.
While most pop-up dining experiences centered around beloved TV franchises offer little more than set dressing for photo-ops, the Breaking Bad Experience goes a little further — offering all of that plus a bag of Funyuns literally. There are nods to the show throughout the menu. You can order Schraderbräu, Blue Sky cocktails, or a breakfast plate featuring neatly arranged bacon. The servers are all dressed in meth-safe hazmat suits, and each table is adorned with a chemistry beaker and burette.
It's no surprise to find that the Breaking Bad Experience was created by the same team behind the Saved by the Bell and All That pop-ups. But it should be said that the brand is upping their game with each outing. Saved by the Max and Good Burger had their premises already in place. And while Saved By The Max's food was mostly the same greasy stuff you'd expect from a diner catering to high school kids, Good Burger elevated things by brining in burger master Alvin Cailan to oversee the menu.
Breaking Bad, on the other hand, has no real connection to food aside from Pollos Hermanos. So it's easy to assume that the pop-up is merely attempting to cash-in on the popularity of the show while El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is fresh in the cultural zeitgeist. To which the answer is... sorta, sure it's capitalism, after all, but the place mades an effort. A pretty solid one, in fact.
What A $30 Ticket Gets You
A $30 ticket will provide you with 90 minutes of access to the restaurant, which is definitely more time than even the most rabid super-fan might possibly need. In terms of photo-ops, you'll be able to strike a pose in front of a life-sized cutout of W and Jesse's RV, with lawn chairs and an oversized button-down and goggles so that you can cosplay as W, sans the tighty whities. You'll have to bring those on your own, and then, of course, you run the risk of a person in a hazmat suit saying, “Sir, please put your pants back on.”
In addition to the RV, you'll be able to take photos sitting at sleazeball lawyer Saul Goodman's office desk, complete with gaudy American constitution wallpaper, at a small Pollos Hermanos restaurant set, and on a stack of hundreds. Even when the restaurant is at its busiest, you'll have ample time to pose for photos at your leisure — the atmosphere is casual enough that you can do your photo rounds before, during, or after your meal.
In addition to the 90 minutes, you'll also be able to choose one of the seven food items, as well as a single “concoction” to pair with your meal. If you feel overwhelmed, the servers will offer you pairing suggestions.
I'll be honest, the food at The Breaking Bad experience doesn't quite live up to Wer White's tireless pursuit of chemical perfection. That's not to say the menu, put together by chef Johanna Merida, isn't good — it is, but the small portions leave a lot to be desired and none of the food offered will exactly blow you away. The menu consists of Heisenberg Sliders, Funyun Pie, Loaded Saul-sa Nachos, 50/52 a breakfast plate consisting of cheddar cheese, sausage, and bacon, The Full Measure Grilled Cheese, Salad-Manca, and Fring Chili Cheese Fries, with a few gluten-free and vegetarian substitutes for the sliders, nachos, breakfast plate, and salad.
Fair warning: the Breaking Bad Experience does not accept any modifications to any of the dishes on the menu, aside from the vegan and vegetarian substitutes, and that applies to simple asks like “hold the sour cream” or “can I get the sauce on the side.” Like W with his meth recipe, the kitchen really doesn't want you to make any changes.
I tried the Heisenberg Sliders as well as the Saul-sa Nachos, which I was told were the most popular options. The Heisenberg Sliders consist of three mini patties served atop a challah bun with Anaheim chilis, pepper jack cheese, pickled red onions, and lime mayo. As far as sliders go, they're pretty solid. The patties are thick and the Anaheim chili pepper jack cheese combo adds a nice kick that isn't enough to provide a steady burn but will keep you motivated for another bite. This dish desperately calls for a side though; on its own, it just feels a little uneventful.
The Saul-sa Nachos were leagues better. Carnitas, diced red onion, guacamole, sour cream, and tomatillo cilantro salsa sitting atop a bed of blue tortilla chips and Monterey Jack cheese, delivering a burst of savory goodness with every bite. The big gripe here is in the portioning, which goes heavy on the chips and little else.
The real stars of the show are the cocktails, which are so good that someone needs to make a Breaking Bad-themed bar okay, another Breaking Bad-themed bar, like, ASAP. Every single drink has a gimmick attached and they're all served in beakers rather than traditional cocktail glasses. The cocktails are fairly complex — no run of the mill margaritas or cosmos here.
This is where the chemistry aspect of the experience really shines as each cocktail is mixed up with a variety of fresh high-quality ingredients. It's always nice when you can feel like your drink is made with “meth levels” of craftsmanship and have that be a compliment.
My favorite drink was “The One Who Knocks,” a mezcal-based cocktail made with Dos Hombres, Guajillo pepper, lime, blue Curaçao, Almond, Xocolatl Mole bitters, smoked s, and chili powder. It arrives at your table emanating a deep blue glow, achieved by a blue light hidden in an ice cube. Yes, it's a gimmick. But if you have a problem with that, why exactly are you at a pop-up dining experience based on an off-the-air TV show?
Anyway, the blue light certainly makes for a cool photo, which is why you're there anyway. Let's be real.
The cocktail has a nice balance of sweetness and spice. Should you want a stronger kick, a small baggie of mixed smoked s and chili powder dyed blue is affixed to the beaker. Yes, a small baggie full of blue stuff. While it's not crystal, it definitely resembles a gram bag of meth. Unless you've actually seen a gram bag of meth, in which case it probably just looks like a small baggie of mixed smoked s and chili powder. Still, that's a hell of a lot closer than I ever imagined an all-ages restaurant celebrating Breaking Bad would ever get to anything actually resembling drugs.
If you're looking for this sort of meth-driven verisimilitude, a nice stiff drink, and some great photos, and unworried about portion size, The Breaking Bad Experience is your spot. If you want to eat a full meal that's Skinny Pete-approved, get yourself an un-sliced pie from Venezia's Pizzeria instead.
The Breaking Bad Experience is located at 7100 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. from now until the end of the year. Reserve a table here.
Vince Gilligan and crew take us behind-the-scenes to show us exactly how El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was made. The world now finally knows how Jesse Pinkman's story ends. After months of intense secrecy, Netflix let the cat out of the bag and revealed that the Breaking Bad movie was real back in August and then announced that fans would learn about Pinkman's fate in October. Getting to head back into the world of one of the biggest TV shows in history is not something that happens every day and the fans took notice.
Aaron Paul was asked by Vince Gilligan about a possible return to the Breaking Bad universe a few years ago. At the time, Gilligan wasn't sure how he wanted to tell the story, first noting that it could have been a short film. Paul agreed right away and the short idea quickly morphed into a two-hour feature-length. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie's making-of video finds some of the other returning actors sharing their stories of getting the call.
Related: Aaron Paul Talks Surprise Breaking Bad Reunions & Unexpected El Camino Cameos
The late Robert Forster is included in the making-of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie video and says he was in right from the start. Forster was asked to take part in the movie and simply said, "excellent." He appeared as Ed "The Dissappearer" Galbraith once again and passed away a few days after the movie debuted. Jonathan Banks, who plays fan-favorite Mike Ehrmantraut in the Breaking Bad universe jokes that he is "indentured" to Vince Gilligan and says he had no choice to return. Though Mike's part is brief, it looks like he and Aaron Paul had a great time on the set.
The fact that Vince Gilligan and crew were able to keep El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie a secret for as long as they did, is pretty astounding. The Bryan Cranston cameo was taken care of with private planes and bags over his head, which is the same for Aaron Paul. When it came time to read the script, Gilligan reveals that the cast had to come to him to read the one copy that they kept in a vault. These security measures are what helped to make the movie a nice surprise for fans.
While hardcore Breaking Bad fans knew El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was on the way courtesy of Netflix, they didn't know it was going to drop as soon as it did. From the announcement to the premiere was a little over a month of waiting, and now it seems like it's already been years since it was released, when it hasn't even been a month. Vince Gilligan and his team, which is also the same team that works on Better Call Saul runs like a well-oiled machine and one would hope that they tackle something else down the line, even if it has nothing to do with Breaking Bad. The making-of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie video comes to us from the Netflix YouTube channel.
, , ] HomeMovie NewsGo Behind the Breaking Bad Reunion in Road to El Camino Featurette
T he Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, watch as Aaron Paul surprises fans at a special midnight screening of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Plus, a real life Marine reviews the accuracy of military movies like Jarhead, Stripes, and others, and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams sits down for an interview and some vegan hot wings in the latest edition of Hot Ones.
First up, even though El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is available on Netflix, some fans were hungry to see it on the big screen. Those lucky enough to be in attendance at an Alamo Drafthouse screening in Los Angeles were treated to a guest appearance by the film’s star, Aaron Paul. Needless to say, it was pretty damn cool, bitch.
Next up, U.S. Marine infantryman James Laporta sat down with GQ to break down some famous scenes from war movies like Jarhead, Stripes, Hacksaw Ridge, Full Metal Jacket and Heartbreak Ridge. Laporta says Jarhead is one of the most accurate representations of his military experience, though it’s not perfect in its depiction of certain small details.
Finally, Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is all done with the HBO fantasy series. We know she has no problem facing down the icy Night King, but how does she do with a little heat? In this edition of Hot Ones, the actress sits down for some vegan hot wings while talking about her early career, the years spent on Game of Thrones, and much more.
UPDATED with Netflix's own numbers. Netflix's El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie reached nearly 8.2 million viewers in the U.S. in its opening weekend last Friday through Sunday, according to the latest data from Nielsen.
But that's just in the U.S. On a global basis, according to fresh stats tweeted today by the streaming giant, 25,734,392 households a nice, round number watched the film in its first seven days. “Households” is also not the same as the total number of viewers. The traditional notion of a family gathered around the cathode-ray tube does not apply to streaming, where the same member account can be used by one family member streaming on a phone and others watching other ways.
Nielsen's SVOD Content Ratings service found the film drew an average minute audience of 6.5 million, with 2.6 million of that coming on its October 11 opening day. That multiple, in traditional movie box office terms, is a fairly attractive one for such a pre-sold property, which would normally have a disproportionately large first-day audience. Translating theatrical moviegoing dynamics to streaming viewing, of course, is not an exact science — especially when the numbers are only from the U.S., which accounts for less than 40% of Netflix's global subscriber tally.
That said, the Nielsen insights are worth some consideration. The measurement firm said 36% of opening-weekend viewers were aged 18 to 34, the most represented age demo. The audience skewed heavily male, with nearly 40% of the opening-weekend viewership males aged 18-49.
In preparation for the stealthily marketed sequel movie that revisited the AMC drama classic, Nielsen said viewing of the original series on Netflix surged.During the week of the premiere, October 7-13, the average minute audience of U.S. TV viewers for Breaking Bad topped 153,000, a spike of 147% from the 62,000 watching it in mid-September.
Netflix name-checked the movie when it released its third-quarter earnings Wednesday, but did not offer its own viewership data. It did disclose numbers for a select number of other film and TV titles.
At a moment when many media companies are changing their stances on Netflix, pulling back content in order to control their own streaming destinies, AMC has generally embraced the streaming giant's amplifier effect. As with some of its other standout shows in past years like Mad Men, the linear ratings for Breaking Bad experienced stair-step growth each season during its run, spurts the network attributed in large part to Netflix. AMC Networks has made a push into streaming, but in a more niche fashion via outlets like BritBox, Shudder and SundanceNow. AMC Premiere, a commercial-free subscription streaming outlet, features several of the network's shows but not Breaking Bad.
Here is a more detailed Nielsen chart with some more numbers:
And here is Netflix's rather straightforward tweet about the film's viewership:
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was watched by 25,734,392 households in its first seven days pic.twitter.com/FDyPlYc8YO
The restaurant featured on 'Breaking Bad' and 'Better Call Saul' will get a virtual launch on Uber Eats on Thursday. “I loved this idea when I heard it, but I knew the devil was in the details — the food needed to be not just good, but great," dished creator Vince Gilligan.
The renewed frenzy around all things Breaking Bad in the wake of the release of the spinoff feature El Camino has spawned a new business venture — the virtual restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos.
Family Style Inc. — a delivery kitchen network which operates 23 "enlightened kitchens" across California, Nevada and Illinois — has partnered with Sony Pictures Consumer Products and Uber Eats to bring Los Pollos Hermanos to life under a three-year deal launching Thursday exclusively on Uber Eats.
Inspired by the restaurant chain owned by Gustavo "Gus" Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito on both AMC's Breaking Bad and the spinoff series Better Call Saul, Los Pollos Hermanos will offer menu items for delivery such as Pollos Tenders, Fring Fries and the ABQ Hot Chicken Sandwich. The latter is described as "a buttermilk battered fried chicken breast served on a buttered bun with dill pickle chips and a whole grain mustard spread. It comes with a dollop of “Slaw Goodman” on the side for the perfect bite."
Delivery from Los Pollos Hermanos will be initially available in Los Angeles before a planned expansion to other metropolitan destinations like San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago. Under the deal, Uber Eats will offer one week of free delivery every month on all Los Pollos Hermanos orders for a six-month period under the partnership. There will not be a brick-and-mortar location.
“For the longest time, I've harbored the idea of a real-life Los Pollos Hermanos where Breaking Bad fans could savor Gustavo Fring's chicken,” said Vince Gilligan, the show's creator. “Little did I realize this could be accomplished without building an actual brick-and-mortar restaurant. Yay, technology! Smart phones actually are good for something!”
In West Hollywood, there is also a Breaking Bad-themed restaurant called The Breaking Bad Experience, featuring cocktails, kitchen staff in yellow hazmat suits, an RV and even a replica of Saul Goodman's [Bob Odenkirk] desk.
Gilligan and his Better Call Saul team were able to taste-test the full menu ahead of its launch. “I loved this idea when I heard it, but I knew the devil was in the details — the food needed to be not just good, but great. I'm relieved to report that the folks at Family Style got it right: Their chicken sandwich is big and crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and it rests on one of the better brioche buns I've come across. It doesn't skimp on the spices, either," praised Gilligan. "Don't worry, it won't set your mouth on fire ... but it's got a good kick to it. I think Gus would approve.”
It's not the first time Los Pollos Hermanos has come to life offscreen. In 2017, a brick-and-mortar location popped up in both New York City and Sydney.
Vince Gilligan thinks El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is the end of the line for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Not many fans even knew that Gilligan was working on a Breaking Bad movie. Netflix surprise announced the project in August, which blew people's minds. We were all finally getting a chance to see where Jesse's story ended after all of this time. But, was Bryan Cranston going to return with Aaron Paul? That was the main question being asked ahead of the release.
Walter White and Jesse Pinkman do reunite in the form of a flashback in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. While the movie was made in secret, getting Bryan Cranston on the set took some extra thought, which included a private jet and even a bag over his head while in the car on the way to the set. But will we see Jesse and Walter together again on the big or small screen? Vince Gilligan doesn't think so, noting this will, "likely be the last time we would ever see those actors playing those two characters together."
Walter White died rescuing Jesse Pinkman in the series finale, so we really didn't expect to see Bryan Cranston return for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, though many hoped a flashback sequence would happen. The flashback scene in the movie was meant to give a sense of "finality," says Vince Gilligan, who also said the moment was "wonderful" and "happy" to "melancholy." Gilligan also said shooting the scene gave off an "element of bitter sweetness." That's understandable, but there really isn't too much left to explore in the form a feature-length story for the duo.
Related: El Camino Featurette Goes Behind-The-Scenes of Breaking Bad Movie
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie has been praised by fans and critics, some of which really didn't want Vince Gilligan to go back and tamper with the Breaking Bad legacy. Gilligan knew what he was doing and was confident he and Aaron Paul could pull it off together, which is why the project happened in the first place. When the idea first came up, it was going to be a short film, but Gilligan kept getting better and better ideas, which caused a burst of creativity.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is likely the end of the road for Jesse Pinkman and Walter White. But, that doesn't mean other stories won't be told down the line. Vince Gilligan has already declared he'd like to see what happened to Skylar and Walt Jr., so maybe that could happen at some point, though that seems unlikely at this time. Gilligan seemingly pulled off the impossible by making the movie in secret and then having so many fans and critics gravitate towards it. The interview with Vince Gilligan was originally conducted by Rolling Stone.