Sarge’s Delicatessen and Diner has one of the largest portions of pastrami on rye. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

With summer break just around the corner and travel restrictions being dropped, many people are itching to go on vacation and take a break from their daily lives. If New York City is one of your destinations in the near future, here are some food places you should check out.

Hot Pastrami Sandwich: One of the first places I stopped in New York was Sarge’s Delicatessen and Diner for a piping hot pastrami on rye. For $23, you are definitely getting your money’s worth since the portion is huge. I split the sandwich 3 ways and there were still leftovers after everyone at their fill. Unlike the pastrami you might find at Subway or Jersey Mike’s, Sarge’s makes their pastrami in-house with a blend of garlic, allspice, and mustard seed. Even the sauerkraut was better than what’s available in Hawaiʻi. Visit the store at 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016.

Bagels: If your hotel has horrible complimentary breakfast choices like the one I stayed at, get yourself a bagel instead. Brooklyn Bagel had the greatest sandwiches and cream cheese spreads with many options for customers to choose from. As a fan of all things spicy, I had to try the jalapeño asiago cream cheese on an everything bagel. The texture and crunch of the toasted bagel were just right and I enjoyed the hint of lime that was mixed with the heat of the jalapeños. The first bagel I had from this store was so good that I went back the next day to get one of the smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches. The sandwich was also amazing, but I liked the bagel with jalapeño cream cheese more because it was spicy. Visit the store at 63 E 8th St, New York, NY 10003.

New York Cheesecake: For a classic New York cheesecake, one of my friends suggested Eileen’s Special Cheesecake. The line was out the door when we arrived around 2 p.m., though it was worth the wait. Most of the cheesecake I’ve had in Hawaiʻi (Cheesecake Factory, UBAE, Otto Cake) were either too sweet or had a soggy texture to the crust. The plain cheesecake from Eileen’s was rich and had the perfect mixture of sugar and cheese. Visit the store at 17 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012.

Street Vendor Hot Dog: There are street vendors on every corner in New York and it’s hard not to be tempted by the delicious-smelling food and enticing advertisements. Most vendors have burgers, pizza, and chili available, but I decided to go with a hot dog. The all-beef hot dog was only $2, and it was about as large as the ones from Costco. For toppings, customers can choose from ketchup, yellow mustard, brown mustard, and onion relish. To get the full experience of a New York hot dog, I got the works with diced jalapeños for an extra dollar. While it wasn’t the best hot dog I’ve tried, it was certainly one of the better ones. Grilling the hot dog instead of boiling it brought out more of the beef flavor and made it taste less processed.

New York Slice: A trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a slice of pizza. Normally I order the supreme or something with a lot of spice, but I wanted to try something different than my usual. At Juliana’s Pizza, most of the toppings are minimal and simpler than anything I had ever eaten before. There are also three sizes, personal, medium, and large, so you can have one for yourself or share with friends. I was able to try the Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, and basil) and white pizza (mozzarella and garlic). I preferred the Margherita because it had a sweet and fresh flavor from the tomato and basil. Visit the store at 19 Old Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

At the end of the day, food is a quintessential part of New York City. There are a wide variety of cuisines that you can find in the same area and it’s a great place to try something you might not have tried otherwise. Don’t be afraid to take risks when it comes to food and be sure to take in all the sights while doing so.