Waiter, I want you to get me a better table

The Baltimore Sun

B laze Starr, your table is ready.

Indeed, the iconic Baltimore stripper could BE the table at the "naked sushi" restaurant proposed for downtown.

Diners would eat their sashimi off reclining women, and the women, like the fish, would be in the raw.

Key body parts would be covered by the likes of lettuce and flowers. (Wasabi's out for obvious reasons, but why not pickled ginger pasties?) Other than that, it's Yellowtail Belly to human belly, Fatty Hamachi to flat abs.

"We're trying to do something very nice, very classy," said Alicia Hines, who pitched the plan to the city's liquor board with partner JaMea Elliott last week.

The restaurant is proposed for 40 South St., in a former coffee shop. That's not far from The Block. But Hines described the concept of nyataimori sushi - a 400-year-old practice in Japan, she said, that's become popular in L.A., New York and Florida - as art. An art form heretofore unknown in the Land of Pleasant Living and Inanimate Dinner Tables.

"We refer to it as art theater," she said. "It's more like you're going for dinner and instead of seeing a play or a movie, you're seeing live dinner theater, which happens to be also where you eat your meal."

Hines and Elliott presented the idea a few months ago to a confused William Cole, the city councilman whose district includes downtown. Naked sushi?

"I thought sushi was already uncooked," he said.

The women explained.

"I don't eat sushi, so it's not going to interest me," Cole told them, but he said he'd get behind the project if they could get the liquor board, Downtown Partnership and Baltimore Development Corp. on board.

The women made the rounds but neglected to mention the Nude! Nude! Nude! gimmick to anyone but Cole.

(Hines said they weren't trying to hide anything. They just didn't want other restaurateurs stealing the idea. "This Downtown Partnership, they know all the restaurants," Hines said.)

Cole had alerted someone at the Downtown Partnership, and that guy raised the minor matter of nakedness at the liquor board hearing. The women who'd been pitching the innocent-sounding Water Front Restaurant were forced to lay it all out there, pulling out a package of photos.

"They showed a model lying out with food all over her and a little wax paper on her private areas," said board Chairman Steve Fogleman.

Unsure if naked sushi requires an adult entertainment license, the board delayed action for 30 days.

The Health Department is looking into whether it's a good idea to mix flesh and fish - particularly uncooked fish that shouldn't be brought up to 98.6 degrees. Olivia Farrow, the city's assistant commissioner for environmental health, plans to explore the question on the department's Ask Inspector O blog. Make that Inspector Oh, My!

Just not that into him

Bad news for Natty Boh, and just before Valentine's Day: The Utz Girl has left him.

The winking beer pitchman and the doll-faced snack symbol have been an item ever since a Smyth Jewelers billboard showed Mr. Boh on bended knee before Miss Utz. They went together like, well, beer and chips.

No more.

Late last month, the 13-foot neon gal who'd urged JFX travelers to "Snack On" went home to mother - Utz company HQ in Hanover, Pa.

"It was there for 10 years, and when the [billboard] contracts came up, we just kind of said, 'What's some of the uses now that we're not locked into the contract anymore?' " said Utz marketing director Alec Sivel.

And just like that, it was over.

The Utz Girl left her lover via flatbed truck, surely one of the fabled "50 Ways." After having a little work done - she's out there after all - she'll go up on the company's pretzel plant.

Mr. Boh could not be reached for comment.

But over at Smyth, advertising director Ruthann Carroll held out hope that the romance lives on.

"My personal opinion is they're on their honeymoon," she said. "And when they get back, I'm sure it'll be time to come in for anniversary gifts."

The mayor's a trouper

Scott Peterson gave up "the coolest job in the world" as a C-SPAN producer to become Sheila Dixon's new spokesman. His timing was something to behold.

"The day I gave my two weeks' notice was the day the indictment came down," he said. "So that weekend, there was this, 'What am I facing?' "

But Peterson was soon convinced that he'd made the right career move, in part because Dixon has proved herself to be such a fighter.

"I can see how hard she fights for the people of the city," he said. "She's working."

"It's not even relevant here in City Hall," he said, referring to the indictment.

Peterson, 32, spent eight years at C-SPAN and grew up outside of Pittsburgh. He asked me to play down his Steelers Country roots. "I might be doing events with Ray Lewis. I don't want him to be mad at me."

Connect the dots

State Department of Education honchos savored a Newsday headline last week: "New York beat out on AP tests." Spokesman William Reinhard e-mailed this: "In typical NY fashion it made it sound like a sports contest. And, frankly, it has been a while since we've been able to beat a New York team." ... After the State of the State speech, Gov. Martin O'Malley usually hosts a lunch reception for legislators. This year, the usual finger sandwiches were missing. To save money, the gov just offered dessert. With only an hour between the speech and afternoon committee meetings, some lawmakers walked in, saw the limited spread and walked right out - trading the chance to hobnob with O'Malley for a trip to a sandwich shop. "You don't want to go to committee on three brownies and two chocolate chip cookies," one told me.

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