I managed to get the hood open. The best way is to cut back the cable about 6 inches - be careful, because the wire is inside the shielded cable and you have to literally unwravel the shield until you see the bare wire that attaches to the hood latch mechanism.
I had no luck trying to access the latch through the grille. I had a long set of screwdrives and could not get to the latch hardware. Now, if I had a very long set of needle nose, that would've probably worked.
For now, I use a pair of vice grips to pull the cable to get the hood open. I'm going to have to find a hood latch cable in the future.