Known among celebrity-chef devotees as the place a young Emeril Lagasse started his culinary career as dishwasher, Carreiros Barcelos offers a full inventory of Portuguese baked goods, including sweet breads, miniature custard pies, cod fritters, and savory-sweet pasteis de feijao, aka bean cakes. It is not easy to explain a bean cake; there's nothing like it in the mainstream American diet. It is made from a batter of pureed red kidney beans, egg yolks, sugar, and ground almonds. I think of it as a cross between a cupcake and a chewy cookie that is just sweet enough to be a coffee companion, but also protein-rich and buttery.
The best reason to come to Carreiros Barcelos is its malasada, the Portuguese fried bread that is such a good snack any time of day. The style here is to stretch the sweet dough fairly flat (as opposed to spherical), fry it until golden brown, then liberally dust it with granulated sugar.
While most business is take-out from the bakery shelves, tables are available to enjoy bean cakes, malasadas, et. al. with good, strong espresso.
"Flat, lightweight, and slightly crisp, spangled with sugar, the malasada is a wonderful companion for a few cups of espresso any time of day. But do note that Carreiros Barcelos does NOT make malasadas on Saturday."
"Pastéis de Feijão -- Portuguese bean cake -- teeters on the line between sweet and savory. It is butter-and-egg rich."
"When he was a child growing up in Fall River, celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse came here after school and earned money washing dishes."