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Now Cookin' on Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill native Leah Daniels has opened a kitchen store that also will offer cooking classes taught by chefs from nearby restaurants.
Capitol Hill native Leah Daniels has opened a kitchen store that also will offer cooking classes taught by chefs from nearby restaurants. (By James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post)
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

True Washington natives are few and far between, so Leah Daniels takes her roots seriously. The 27-year-old grew up on Capitol Hill and returned immediately after college, determined to make Washington more homey for everyone. To that end, last month she opened Hill's Kitchen, a two-story cookware shop and cooking school in her old neighborhood.

Downstairs, the look is modern and airy, with a well-curated selection of high-end pots, pans, gadgets and utensils and a small array of prepared foods, such as a delicious line of jams and chutneys from South Carolina's Low Country Produce. Upstairs is the kitchen, where, starting this fall, Daniels plans to offer casual cooking lessons taught by chefs from restaurants nearby. The space accommodates 12 students for participation classes, 24 for demonstrations and up to 75 for cooking parties and events.

Much of the draw of Hill's Kitchen is Daniels herself: warm, bubbly and, above all, knowledgeable about things kitchen-related. With her help, we found super-soft dish towels made of 80 percent bamboo (16 by 24 inches, $9.50; 12 by 12 inches, $6.25), a dishwasher-safe silicone basting brush ($14.95), a white marble cheese plate made from the same stone that faces the Supreme Court building ($16.95) and cookie cutters in the shape of every U.S. state ($1.75 each). There's even one for the District of Columbia that Daniels had specially designed to spur a little local spirit.

-- Jane Black

Hill's Kitchen, 713 D St. SE, 202-543-1997, http://www.hillskitchen.com. Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company