Flat Earth: Eat all about it!

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The Independent Online
Our correspondent in New York was tickled two years ago when a new restaurant opened in Manhattan with a name of unparalleled taste and distinction, "The Independent". The owners had even borrowed the typeface of our sister paper's masthead for its awning on West Broadway. The restaurant, moreover, quickly became one of the hottest in town, attracting the likes of Madonna and Michael Jordan.

Soon, however, his amusement turned to irritation as his telephone began to burn hot with would-be patrons begging for tables. The torment gave much amusement to his colleagues in his midtown office, shared with, among others, the correspondent for France's venerable daily, Le Monde.

These days, however, the reservation requests have slowed to a trickle, and our man is the one who is having a laugh. Recently opened on the Upper West Side of New York is another fancy joint offering French cuisine and wine. And now it is somebody else's phone that won't stop ringing in the shared newspaper bureau. The name of this popular new spot? "Le Monde".

One day last week, that paper's correspondent, Sylvie Kauffmann, found a message from a man hoping for work in the restaurant as a chef. Kauffmann felt duty-bound to call him to inform him of his error. But the chef was non-plussed. Why then, he wanted to know, had her answer machine clearly greeted him with, "Hello, this is Sylvie Kauffmann of the French deli, Le Monde"? Darn that French accent.